Mike Ryan should be back in the line up tonight following that vicious eye injury 11 days ago as the Buffalo Sabres travel to Tampa Bay. It’s the team’s first game since Dallas, where they showed some guts and managed to walk away with two points (thanks in large part to Jochen Hecht’s stick).
However, Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov will not be back tonight. Connolly could be back soon, but it was revealed yesterday that the injury-prone center (understatement of the year) has a bone spur on his hip. It’ll require surgery in the offseason, but for now, he’s going to have to suck it up and play through it. Depending on how long he’s had it, it could be a reason as to why he’s been reluctant to shoot the puck. It might just hurt too much to put that much pressure on his hip like that. Either way, I’m not sure Connolly has been healthy since 2000 so playing through another injury should be like riding a bike for him. He just needs to make sure he always has his helmet strapped on tight.
Trade Bai—errrr Afinogenov is still dealing with a slight tear in his groin. It wouldn’t shock me if the injury happened while he was pulling that sick move he missed on in the Ice Bowl. And by sick move I mean crappy.
The Sabres have struggled without these two guys in the lineup, but then again, they haven’t been much better with them playing.
Tampa Bay, while in last place in the East, has been playing better hockey lately, mainly because they’ve been getting some much-needed goaltending. Vinny Lecavlier is one of the league’s best and Martin St. Louis, the original Danny Briere, could light the Sabres up, especially on special teams if Buffalo doesn’t lock down in their own zone. Ryan Miller is set to get the start because TBO TBlows.
The Sabres have four more games on the road before coming back home. Five or six points would probably be what we should expect for the rest of the road trip, but I could settle for four. Four might not be good enough, but neither has this team.