Casey Mittelstadt back practicing for Sabres

The center will not play Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres play host to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, but maybe more importantly, Casey Mittelstadt joined the team for the morning skate. It was the first time he’s been on the ice with his teammates since suffering an injury during an opening night win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Mittelstadt has been out of the lineup for almost six weeks, and head coach Don Granato said he needs to get some practice time in.

“The biggest challenge is our limited practice times. So he was on today in a non-contact way, and we need to get him involved in contact," Granato said following Wednesday's morning skate. "We don’t have a lot of practice time, because we have game days here. We’re going to read it day-by-day to see how he feels, but he does need to go through, at least, a couple of practices with some good contact before we feel comfortable even assessing where he’s at.”

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Originally,.it was thought that Mittelstadt would only miss around three weeks.

“It’s been long, but I haven’t really had any setbacks," Mittelstadt said after his Wednesday skate. "I think more than anything it’s just a tricky injury, and it’s just been slower than expected and something you can’t really mess with too much.”

Mittelstadt is a big part of this team, and they need him in the lineup if they’re going to be successful.

“That’s been the hardest part for me, especially seeing the opportunity in front of me," he said. "It was hard, at first, seeing the guys get off to such a good start, and not being part of it was really tough for me. Now we’ve been struggling a little bit, and it’s only gotten harder.”

Mittelstadt said he doesn’t know exactly how the injury happened. It took place on a rush up ice with Vinnie Hinostroza, and it happened when he turned away from the play.

Arttu Ruotsalainen will be returning to the lineup on Wednesday. He will also be returning to the wing, where he excelled last season both in Buffalo and Rochester. He has just two goals and two assists for four points in 15 games playing at center.

Aaron Dell gets the call in goal for the Sabres against Boston.

Dustin Tokarski has given up nine goals in his last two starts, playing only 60:55 and being pulled in both games. Granato said he senses a loss in confidence with Tokarski, and feels Dell is the hotter goalie.

Dell played 58:30 in relief of Tokarski and gave up just one goal in those two games. He did start a game in-between, a 5-4 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday. Dell is 0-3-0 this season with a 3.72 goals-against average and an .874 save percentage.

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