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BYRON RETURNS FROM PORTLAND

Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 3:14 PM / News
By Rob Crean  - Public Relations Director
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BYRON RETURNS FROM PORTLAND
Paul Byron was recalled by Buffalo and practiced with the team on Wednesday.  The 21-year-old center played in two games for the Sabres last week and set several career milestones while helping the Sabres win both outings.
Paul Byron

Byron made his NHL debut on Jan. 23 in Long Island as the Sabres handed the Islanders a 5-3 defeat while Byron picked up his first career point when he assisted on Tyler Myers’ third period goal.  Two nights later, Byron suited up in his home town of Ottawa and scored his first NHL goal in front of his friends and family.

The Sabres broke for All-Star weekend following the game against the Senators, but Byron re-joined Portland of the AHL and played road games on Friday and Saturday for the Pirates.  He then was able to head home to Ottawa for a few days as the AHL hit its All-Star break.

“It was great to go back home and see my friends and family and celebrate a little bit.  It’s an exciting time,” Byron said.

In playing two games in the NHL and two in the AHL all within a week, Byron noted the difference in the speed of the game at the different levels.

“Just how fast the puck moves (in the NHL),” Byron said when asked what was the biggest thing he learned last week.  “Not necessarily how fast guys are; it’s just a faster, quicker game and you need to make plays a lot faster and be sharper out there.”

2/2 - Paul Byron Interview

Head Coach Lindy Ruff liked the way Byron played in his first opportunity with the Sabres.

“He played well for us.  I really like his speed, even for his size (5'9", 170 lbs.) his tenacity is good, he’s been real hard on the puck.  A goal and an assist in two games, I think that speaks for itself,” Ruff said.

Byron skated on a line with Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis at Wednesday’s practice, the same players he centered in the last two games.

“I thought that line, in Ottawa, gave us a real good energy, was probably our best line and I’d like to see if they can give us some offense.  You’ve got a good shooter on one side (Stafford), Stafford’s got real good size and strength and I think the speed up the middle should be able to open up Staff on the wing, and you’ve got a guy on the wing who’s real creative (Ennis), so it’s a good mix.”

Byron was summoned from Portland because Patrick Kaleta is still recovering from his hand injury, although he has practiced with the team all week.  Tim Connolly (hip) is likely to return to the lineup for Friday’s game at Pittsburgh, however.

“Tim looks like he’s on pace.  He skated better today than he did yesterday so he should be ready to go,” Ruff said.

Connolly skated between Ennis and Stafford at Tuesday’s practice, but centered Nathan Gerbe and Cody McCormick on Wednesday.

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