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KOTALIK EXPECTED TO MISS SEASON OPENER

Tuesday, 10.02.2007 / 9:21 AM / News
Associated Press
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KOTALIK EXPECTED TO MISS SEASON OPENER

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Sabres forward Ales Kotalik is expected to miss Buffalo's season opener against the New York Islanders on Friday because of a knee injury.

Coach Lindy Ruff said Monday that Kotalik is experiencing pain in his knee and has not been cleared to skate.

"It doesn't look good for playing in the opener or this opening weekend, but I wouldn't project past that of him missing any more games," Ruff said.

After hosting the Islanders on Friday, the two teams play again on Long Island the following day. The Sabres are then off until hosting Atlanta on Oct. 11.

A two-time 20-goal scorer, Kotalik was hurt during practice Thursday and missed the Sabres' final two preseason games. He had a goal and assist in three exhibition games last month and is coming off an average season in which he finished 10th on the team with 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 66 games.

The Sabres are generally healthy entering the season, though defenceman Teppo Numminen is out indefinitely after having heart surgery last month.

Buffalo demoted three players Monday - including their 2005 first-round draft pick, forward Marek Zagrapan - to its AHL affiliate in Rochester. Zagrapan had a goal and an assist in six preseason games.

Also demoted were forward Mark Mancari and defenceman Michael Funk.

The moves leave the team with the NHL maximum 23-player roster.

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