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Getting His Feet Wet

Tuesday, 12.12.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Getting His Feet Wet

December 12, 2006
By Glenn Odebralski

Rookie defenseman Andrej Sekera got his first taste of NHL action in Buffalo's 3-2 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, as he replaced Teppo Numminen in the lineup. Buffalo's third round selection from 2004 saw six minutes and 10 seconds of action, and it was an experience that he won't soon forget.

"It was pretty amazing, playing with such a big crowd," said Sekera. "I tried to keep my game simple and work as hard as I could."

Sekera was the third rookie defenseman to be called up from Rochester in an attempt to fill the Sabres depleted blueline as Numminen, Henrik Tallinder, Jaroslav Spacek, and Toni Lydman have missed a combined 30 games this season. Fellow rookies Mike Card and Mike Funk were called up earlier in the year to fill the void on the backend.

As a defenseman in the Ontario Hockey League, Sekera won the Max Kanisky Trophey as the OHL's most outstanding defenseman in the 2005-06 season. After attending training camp in October, Sekera started his pro career in Rochester where an injury limited him to just five points in 11 games.

Sekera had little time to adjust to the NHL game as he was thrown in against stiff competition in Montreal, who handed Buffalo their second overtime loss of the season, a 2-1 defeat on November 24.

"I knew that this was the best game in the world," said Sekera. "I expected everything to be harder as people would be stronger and the game would be faster. I prepared for it and hopefully I did good things."

Head Coach Lindy Ruff couldn't have asked anymore from the rookie.

"I thought he held his own," said Ruff. "It's not easy playing your first game. The first game is always a tough one."

The Bojnice, Slovakia native made some nice plays throughout the game. In one instance, he showed a defensive presence of mind in the second period, as he broke up a two-on-one rush. Sekera did make some mistakes, but he knows that everyone can't have a flawless first game.

"I just have to learn from those mistakes and don't make them the next time," said Sekera. "Hopefully it will happen for me and I will just be playing my game as simply and as hard as I can."

Where as Funk and Card saw limited action when they played, Sekera was on the ice throughout the third period. Ruff showed confidence in Sekera in choosing to utilize him instead of rolling just five defensemen as he did in the past.

"I think if you look at it, we're at a point where I think we've maxed out," said Ruff. "There are some guys that have some fatigue playing the number of minutes they've played. You have to give Brian (Campbell) a lot of credit for playing 30 minutes a game. I think some of that has taken a toll on his game. We would like to back off those minutes and freshen his game up a little bit and get it as strong as we need it to be."

If Ruff wants to give Sekera more minutes, the rookie would gladly take as many as he can get.

"Every single guy who plays hockey is dreaming about playing professional hockey," said Sekera. "I get a chance to play, so I have to prove that I belong here and do all the things I can to stay up here."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82