Buffalo Sabres Insider App Twitter Facebook

Lexus

Afinogenov, Connolly Improve

Monday, 04.02.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Buffalo Sabres
X
Share with your Friends


Afinogenov, Connolly Improve

March 2, 2007
by Brian Wheeler

He may be taking his recovery one step at a time, but Maxim Afinogenov took a giant leap towards returning to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Monday morning.

For the first time in 43 days, Afinogenov practiced with the team and without the protective splint he had been wearing.

"It feels a little better, and hopefully, it's going to improve every day," said Afinogenov, who missed the last 19 games after suffering a broken wrist against Edmonton on Feb. 17. "I need to just work on my wrist skills. I need to get exercise for my wrist with some dumbbells or something.

"It's my first practice and I don't want to try and do everything right away."

"Range of motion is the first," said head coach Lindy Ruff concerning the obstacles Afinogenov will need to hurdle. "Second is strength, which he is working through right now.

"His range of motion is pretty good. You can see already, in a controlled manor, that he's shooting the puck pretty well. "

Afinogenov skated vigorously while he was injured but the protective splint hindered all stickwork. Unlike Tim Connolly, who is battling to regain his conditioning and timing after suffering post-concussion symptoms all season, Afinogenov's legs and his biggest asset, his speed, wasn't affected by his injury.

The 27-year-old right winger has stated in the past of his desire to get a game or two of regular season experience in before the playoffs. It's something that Ruff agrees with completely.

"If they [Afinogenov or Connolly] are ready, we would like to see them get in," said Ruff of playing before the playoffs. "Tim's been working hard, and hopefully, if both of them are coming along, there will be an opportunity to get both of them in before the season ends."

"It's a big step for me to be practicing with the team already," Afinogenov said. "Right now, I don't know what is going to happen. I want to take it one step at a time and then we'll see."

Unlike Afinogenov, Connolly will not return to his past status once playing. The year away from the ice will leave him in a diminished role.

"He's slowly getting himself towards being in pretty good shape," said Ruff regarding the center from Syracuse, N.Y. "We're not going to get him where we want him, but we may be able to utilize him in a smaller role.

"I don't think we're going to get [Connolly] in good enough shape to play him in a regular line. He may be able to get nine to 10 minutes in the special teams type of time. And that might be effective enough, if that area helps our team, we'd love to use him in that sense."

But before either player can think about returning to game action, they will need to be cleared for contact, which could happen as early as mid-week.

"If things go well today, we're maybe looking at Wednesday as a possibility to accelerate that program a little bit," said Ruff.

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