NOTEBOOK: INJURIES PROMPT LINE CHANGES
Tuesday, 11.23.2010 / 2:42 PM / News
By Rob Crean - Web Content Coordinator
“(Ryan) is real close, but I don’t think he’ll be ready to play tomorrow,” Ruff said. “It’s better today than it was yesterday, which is good, and it’ll probably be better tomorrow. He’s close to going all out, he’s just not quite there yet.”
Ruff also ruled Tim Connolly out for Wednesday’s game and said that Jochen Hecht, who did not practice with the team on Monday due to an upper body injury, is expected to play against the Penguins.
Connolly left practice on Monday with a groin injury, though Ruff said the severity of it will not be known for a few days.
With Connolly out of the lineup, Nathan Gerbe skated on a line with Jason Pominville and Hecht on Tuesday, with Hecht moving to the center position. Gerbe also skated on the first power play unit with Pominville, Derek Roy, Tyler Myers and Thomas Vanek.
With the injuries to Connolly and Rob Niedermayer (knee), the only line that remained intact Tuesday was the Roy-Vanek-Tyler Ennis trio. In addition to Hecht centering Pominville and Gerbe, Paul Gaustad skated with Mike Grier and Colin Stuart while Luke Adam played with Cody McCormick and Patrick Kaleta.
Adam, who is currently tied for the Portland team scoring lead with 19 points (11-8-19) in 17 games, is on his third recall of the season and has already appeared in two games with Buffalo. Stuart ranks third on the Pirates with 16 points (4-12-16) in 18 games.
Stuart has played in 51 career NHL games with Atlanta and is looking forward to getting an opportunity with Buffalo and skating on a line with Gaustad and Grier.
“You look at the experience of guys like Grier and Gaustad, I mean, those are great players, great energy players and very responsible hockey players,” he said. “As a teammate, that almost makes your job a little bit easier. Just play your game when you’ve got guys like that with a wealth of experience.”
Adam, who played each of his first two NHL game on the road for Buffalo, is looking forward to playing at home for the first time.
The special teams portion of Tuesday’s practice was briefly halted when Ruff gave his power play unit a spirited pep talk. He threw his stick down to get his point across, and after practiced joked that it was “coaching.” He added, however, that he was not happy with how that particular drill was being run.
“I think we needed it,” Derek Roy said. “We need to get going and we need to smarten up and play hard. It was good to see that. The guys, obviously we feed off his energy so we’re going to go out there tomorrow (vs. Pittsburgh) and use that.”
After holding Steven Stamkos scoreless on Saturday, the Sabres will try to do the same to the NHL’s other top scorer, Sidney Crosby, on Wednesday. Crosby (15-20-35) and Stamkos (20-15-35) are tied atop the NHL leader board with 35 points each.