NOTEBOOK: NO TIMETABLE FOR BUTLER
Friday, 12.4.2009 / 3:50 PM ET / News
By Erin Pollina - Sabres.com
|Chris Butler (Getty Images)|
The defenseman suffered an ankle sprain in the first period of Buffalo’s 6-2 win against the Canadiens on Thursday, after getting tangled up with a Montreal forward in front of the net.
“It’s the first time I’ve really had anything like this so I’m just going to go day-by-day,” he said. “I think my foot kind of got locked behind one of their forwards’ feet and I basically got my foot trapped under my body. I kind of fell over awkwardly, backwards on it… tweaked it a little bit.”
Butler has played in all 25 games in the 2009-10 season, earning plenty of ice time in his sophomore season. He currently is ranked second on the team with an average of 20:55 minutes per game, behind only rookie Tyler Myers (21:55).
“It could be a lot of things,” Lindy Ruff said regarding the length of the injury, “but he’s definitely not going to be ready for the weekend.”
With Butler out for an indefinite period of time, Andrej Sekera will be looked at to step up in his absence.
The defenseman has been the odd-man out as of late, serving as a healthy scratch for three games in November with a fairly healthy defense corps.
“Their confidence is a roller coaster ride,” Lindy Ruff said of a young defenseman’s development. “They can do some good things and then all of a sudden they get involved and they do some poor things offensively.”
In his last three games, however, Sekera has notched three points, including scoring his first goal of the season on Thursday night.
The Sabres look to continue their four-game winning streak Saturday night against the New York Rangers. Game time is 7 p.m. at HSBC Arena.
Part of the Sabres’ success during the stretch has been their balanced goal scoring. In Thursday’s win against the Habs, six different players scored goals and 11 players had at least one point.
“We went on a little streak there for four or five games where we couldn’t score. We were getting a lot of chances, but the pucks just weren’t going in the net,” Tim Kennedy said. “Now I think all the hard work has paid off and we have three lines that are really balanced and having some really good chemistry right now.”
Since the Sabres started their winning streak, the top three lines have combined for 15 goals and 21 helpers, with each line contributing five goals equally.
“There is a lot of good things looking at the lines," Ruff said. "Somebody referred to Vanek-Kennedy-Grier as the third line. I said I don’t know how you describe them as the third line. I think they’ve played the best.
"I think it’s important in this League that you get some balanced scoring. You need your top guys to push though.”
Patrick Lalime will make his Portland Pirates’ debut tonight, playing in his first of a two-game conditioning assignment in the American Hockey League.
Lalime will play tonight and Saturday, facing the Providence Bruins twice with the Pirates, to get some game action as the Sabres begin a busy stretch in December.
Buffalo plays 15 games in 27 days during the month and Ruff wants the netminder to be prepared when called upon. Lalime will return to the Sabres on Sunday.
In the mean time, goaltender Jhonas Enroth will continue be in uniform as the backup for Ryan Miller.
To listen to the game as Lalime and the Pirates take on the Bruins, click here. Game time is 7 p.m.
Fans attending Saturday night’s home game against the New York Rangers will have the opportunity to meet legendary forward Gilbert Perreault.
The original Sabre will be signing limited edition Aud Bricks from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in front of The Sabres Store in HSBC Arena. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the bricks will go to the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.
Click here for more.