Published by hockeybuzz.com, 11-27-2017
The Buffalo Sabres blueline has been ravaged by injuries so far this season. But they're getting healthier.
During the first quarter of the season for Buffalo, players came and players went and one of them, Zach Bogosian, still hasn't hit ice for a game. The Sabres have dressed nine defenseman thus far and recalled another one, Casey Nelson, who never dressed. Every d-man save for Jake McCabe and Victor Antipin has spent time on the injured list this season and that includes top-pairing defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen who missed nine games recently. Ristolainen returned on Friday and played in Buffalo's back-to-back against the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens and was his usual self logging 27:32 and 25:49 of ice-time, respectively.
After playing six games in nine nights (1-5-0) the Sabres had Sunday off and were back at practice today. Word from the rink had Bogosian at center ice leading the stretch and participating for the first time since a lower-body injury took him out in the last preseason game. According the media at the rink, coach Phil Housley said after practice that they will see how Bogosian responds to a full practice and that he will be a game-time decision.
Housley also told the gathered media that center Jacob Josefson "tweaked his ankle" in the Montreal game and will be out "four to six weeks." Jacobsen missed 14 games after an injury in Anaheim but returned with two strong performances (1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating) before injuring his ankle in the first period against the Canadiens. He centered what was arguably Buffalo's best line over those two games as he Kyle Okposo and Jordan Nolan combined for four goals, four assists, and were a cumulative plus-7 in a third-line role.
The injury to Josefson provided a golden opportunity for forward Seth Griffith to stick with the club, but Housley said he"thought a lot of the games [Griffith] was looking to pass instead of shoot. When you're not doing well, you're going to make changes."
Griffith was waived yesterday, cleared today and was sent to Rochester. In 18 games he had three points (2+1,) was a minus-4 and registered 14 shots on goal.
The Sabres now have only 12 healthy forwards with the club. Housley sais that they may bring a forward up from Rochester. In lieu of that, these were the lines from today's practice:
Two Rochester forwards who might get consideration for a call-up are CJ Smith who leads the team in scoring with 19 points (6+13) in 19 games and Evan Rodrigues who has six points (2+4) in five games after missing the season with an injury.
With Bogosian back practicing, reports from the rink had these pairings:
Housley also said that they'd be taking a hard look at their 30th-ranked powerplay and according to WGR550's Paul Hamilton, he made some changes with these being the units today.
PP1: Kane Eichel Reinhart Antipin Beaulieu
PP2: Okposo O’Reilly Moulson Ristolainen Pominville
The Sabres haven't scored a powerplay goal in the last six games going 0/15 in the process. During that time they went 1-5-0 losing two games by one goal and two more by two goals.