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SABRES GETTING HEALTHIER

Tuesday, 10.05.2010 / 3:17 PM / News
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SABRES GETTING HEALTHIER
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With the preseason finished, the Buffalo Sabres are preparing for the regular season – and inching closer to having a healthy roster.

The team’s trio of injured players – Thomas Vanek [head/neck], Craig Rivet [throat] and Patrick Lalime [groin] – all participated in Tuesday’s practice at HSBC Arena, and Head Coach Lindy Ruff was encouraged.

While he was noncommittal as to whether they would be ready in time for Thursday’s season opener in Ottawa, Ruff said there is a good chance that they will be in the lineup.

“I’m not going to say one way or the other right now because Vanek had a lighter day and so did Patty,” Ruff said. “[Rivet] had some tough days and he’s cleared to go now by the doctors this morning…. whether he’s ready to play, we’ll make that decision by late in the week.”

Rivet practiced alongside Mike Weber during the skate, but with a total of eight defensemen on the roster, Ruff said the pairings have yet to be determined.

“That is today. It’s really going to depend,” Ruff said. “We’re going to give Craig another couple of real good practices. Tomorrow will be a different type of practice and we’ll get him involved in more battle drills again. If he feels good and he’s ready to play, he’ll play.”

Rivet said he is confident that he can be ready in time for the first game of the regular season and that his shoulder, which he underwent surgery for this summer, is ‘close to 100 percent.’

Vanek was also hopeful that he will be cleared to play against the Senators.

“It’s never fun to miss time, but at the same time you can’t mess around with head injuries nowadays,” he said. “It is frustrating, but at the same time it’s just been a few days so it’s not too bad.”

The Sabres were down to 24 players at Tuesday’s practice. Forward Matt Ellis was placed on waivers Monday and effectively sent to the AHL Portland Pirates.

“We know what Matty brings, obviously he’ll be an excellent depth guy for us,” Ruff said. “I think the way [Tyler] Ennis and [Nathan] Gerbe have played in the preseason have put him in the situation he’s in right now.”

Drew Stafford skated alongside Derek Roy and Ennis, while Tim Connolly centered Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville. The third line consisted of Mike Grier, Gerbe and Rob Niedermayer and the final unit was comprised of Pat Kaleta, Cody McCormick and Paul Gaustad.

The combinations are similar to those used in the final two preseason games and Ruff is hoping they continue to have some chemistry as training camp comes to a close.

“But if Vanek goes in, obviously the lines change,” Ruff said.

For full interviews, go to sabresTV.

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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