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NOTEBOOK: VETERAN 'D' NEARING RETURN

Monday, 03.31.2008 / 3:05 PM ET / News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: VETERAN \'D\' NEARING RETURN
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Jaroslav Spacek (photo: Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres may see the return of some veteran defensemen before the close of the regular season.

Head coach Lindy Ruff updated the injury status of Teppo Numminen (heart), Jaroslav Spacek (chest) and Dmitri Kalinin (shoulder) on Monday, saying he hasn’t ruled out the blueliners just yet.

“I think there is still a possibility,” Ruff said. “It’s just that they haven’t been able to practice with the team yet. Teppo has practiced with the team so it’s just evaluating where he is at and [Spacek and Kalinin] are basically day-to-day before they get back to practice.”

Although Numminen has participated in skates with the team, Ruff said he will not be ready in time for tomorrow night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Numminen hasn’t played since last season after undergoing heart surgery in late September while Kalinin and Spacek have been out of the lineup since suffering injuries March 10, missing nine games each.


Speculation as to who will wear the “C” for the month of April will have to continue for another day.

Ruff would not comment on the Sabres captaincy except to praise Jason Pominville for the role he played in a crucial month of the season.

Pominville has been one of the league’s most productive players since the All-Star break, ranked fourth in the NHL in scoring following the event with 40 points (16+24), behind only Evgeni Malkin (21+28), Alexander Ovechkin (23+21) and teammate Derek Roy (13+28).

“I thought he handled it very well. It was a new position for him and even this morning I talked to him about some issues that he needed to take to the team. He gets a smile on his face and gives it the ‘well I don’t know I’ve got to check with a couple guys first,’” Ruff laughed. “I said step up, make a decision.”


Ruff was also asked about looking back at overtime losses earlier in the season and whether he had thought about lost points and opportunities throughout the year:

“But you can break down every win that you came from behind and won too and said you shouldn’t have gotten that,” he said. “But it is the time of year where you have to reflect on a few things.”

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