Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The injury news just keeps getting worse and worse for the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
General manager Kevyn Adams says that forward Jack Quinn got hurt in the first period of Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars, but kept playing through it. He is having a MRI on Friday afternoon, and Adams says he will miss some time.
Of course, Adams is disappointed in this injury news, and so is head coach Don Granato.
“It’s a bummer," Granato said following Friday's practice. "He had an unbelievable goal. He played through it for two periods, which probably is a good sign, which gives hope that maybe it’s not as bad as it could be.”
It would, of course, be better to have Quinn on the ice, but Granato says this doesn’t stop his development.
“He’ll come back out of this even better," Granato believes. "When [young guys] get time out, they don’t stop improving. I know it sounds funny and it sounds odd, but it’s much like when he had mono: Everybody’s worried about how he’d came back, and he came back even better.”
The better news on Friday came with veteran goalie Craig Anderson. He participated in a full practice for the first time since getting injured back on Nov. 2 in San Jose. Granato loved having him back with the team.
“It is incredible when you see him out on the ice, because he has a presence in the net," Granato said. "It’s how he stands, how he holds posture. You can see he’s been a No. 1 goalie in the NHL, so that is really nice to see.”
Granato was not going to put a timetable on Anderson’s return, because he knows he doesn’t have to.
"It’s all on him," he said. "He works with the medical team and he’s gauging how he feels day-to-day. Craig knows, and he knows what’s going to be expected of him as a No. 1 goalie to come back into this league. There’s nothing I can tell him other than support him.”
Anderson certainly does know how his body reacts, as he battles to get back on the ice.
“In the summer it takes about a week of training camp before you start to feel comfortable, so I’m guesstimating five-to-seven good practices, so a lot of it now is seeing pucks and getting the rhythm back.”
Anderson isn’t totally there yet, as far as the injury. He says he's trying to get back in game shape as best as he can.
“I’m trying to knock three birds with one stone," Anderson said. "It’s continue to work through the injury, while also being able to work through some conditioning and see the puck. So there’s going to be good days and bad days, and there might be days where I know I can’t go on the ice, because it’s just going to flare up. We’re taking it as a day-by-day thing, and right now we’ve found a routine that works.”
Anderson did say once he gets warmed up and moving, it lessens the pain.
One thing is for certain, when he says he’s ready, Anderson will again be the team’s No. 1 netminder.
“When he’s ready to go, he’s earned that net and he’ll be back in that net,” Granato said of the 40-year-old veteran.
Back on that Nov. 2 night, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl scored a goal and then ran into Anderson.
“I had some pain going before that, but Hertl running into me was the icing on the cake," Anderson explained. "I battled through the game and it kind of calmed down the next day. I was feeling pretty good at the morning skate, and then during the game on the bench against Seattle, I knew there was something definitely wrong.”
At that point, Anderson knew he had to rest the injury.
“Just getting out there with the guys and realize that hockey is fun, and put a smile on your face when you’re out there having fun with them."
Will Butcher got cross checked in the ribs in the first period on Thursday night and left the game. He is having a CT scan to assess any possible damage.
Adams said Kyle Okposo will probably be out until the beginning of the west coast road trip, which starts Jan. 29 in Arizona against the Coyotes.
Casey Mittelstadt is chomping at the bit to get back in the lineup, but Adams said it’s realistic that he’ll return with Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday. Granato knows Mittelstadt will want to play Saturday, but they have to do it right.
“Casey is such a competitor and he’s fearless," Granato said. "We have to watch out for him and make sure we don’t rush it. He needs some practice time. I’m not comfortable putting him in tomorrow, he hasn’t had enough practice just watching him today, but he will probably be barking at me to be in the lineup tomorrow.”
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is progressing, but Adams said he’s still not sure when he’ll be back.
Vinnie Hinostroza will be lost for 4-6 weeks, while Drake Caggiula has hit a plateau and will go back to see the doctor on Monday.
Join Brian Koziol and myself for pregame coverage on WGR, as we’ll welcome in Adams starting at 12:10 p.m. EST. Pregame on Saturday officially begins at 12 p.m. EST.