Saturday, March 19, 2016

Buffalo will have a different goalie tandem tonight and a new face on defense

Reprinted with permission from

The Buffalo Sabres have recalled goalie Nathan Lieuwen (2011, 167th-ovrerall) from Rochester this morning to back-up Chad Johnson tonight as starter Robin Lehner is still having ankle issues.

Lehner suffered a high ankle sprain early in the second period in the season opener vs. the Ottawa Senators and after a prolonged recovery period he was back on the ice in January. Since his return Lehner has played in 20 of the last 28 games for Buffalo. High-ankle sprains have a tendency to linger for a long time and it would seem as it Lehner tweaked it to the point where he'll need some time on the bench.

Word of a possible flare-up came last week as he had an unscheduled maintenance day which was not attributed to his ankle at the time. Johnson wound up getting the start for Sunday's matinee game vs. Carolina despite a gap in the schedule that didn't have them playing until Wednesday night. Lehner was in net for the overtime loss vs. Montreal and missed practice yesterday to get his ankle re-evaluated.

Head coach Dan Bylsma told the gathered media post-practice yesterday that Lehner has felt [his ankle] ever since he's come back. "A couple times he’s jammed it into the post and felt it a little more. It kind of happened a week ago and a little bit Wednesday night in the game.

“Having the high-ankle sprain, it’s an injury that probably doesn’t leave you for a good two and a half months," continued Bylsma. "It’s just the nature of the injury and dealing with it."

Recently signed goalie Jason Kasdorf is still with the team but isn't quite ready to hit the ice for practice so goalie coach Andrew Allen strapped on the pads and was in net for practice. Allen will now remain on the bench while Lieuwen puts on the pads for tonight's game.

Of note, Lehner's one of a few players who've had injury setbacks this season, according to WGR550's Paul Hamilton.

Hamilton also lists Tyler Ennis, who is still out with a concussion, Zach Bogosian who was sidelined for the first 17 games of the regular season and Cody Franson as players with setbacks and he believes Director of Player Performance Oliver Finlay was released by the Sabres because of it.

"Finlay oversaw strength and conditioning as well as player rehab," wrote Hamilton in a piece this week. "Questions about his qualifications have been popping up all year and some players had lost trust in him. Finlay didn’t even last a full year with the Sabres."

This will be Lieuwen's second stint with the big club. Two years ago he was called up after an inordinate number of injuries felled the Sabres netminders. He appeared in seven games for Buffalo, went 1-4-0 with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

Also recalled from Rochester this morning was defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.

Ruhwedel, a free agent signee in 2013, signed a two-year contract extension with the Sabres last year and has spent most of his time with the Amerks. This will be the fourth call-up for the 5'11" 200 lb. puck mover. In 32 games with the Sabres he has two assists and an even plus/minus rating.

Today's an optional skate

No comments:

Post a Comment