Mittelstadt, Jokiharju to miss time due to injury

Both injuries should keep them out, at least, two weeks

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – With a game on Saturday afternoon against the Arizona Coyotes, the Buffalo Sabres held a short practice on Friday.

Missing from Friday's session were Casey Mittelstadt - who left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury - and Henri Jokiharju - who played through a lower-body injury he took in the first period.

The medical report isn’t good for both players, as head coach Don Granato said they will miss some time.

“'Mittsy' [Mittelstadt] is an upper-body injury, and [he and Jokiharju will] both be out for a couple of weeks. It’s not short-term for them," Granato said following Friday's practice. "The doctors are still evaluating them. There’s thought it could be around that range, and there’s thought that it could be a little more than that. It’s too early to tell on both those injuries.”

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Mittelstadt really seems to be coming into his own as a player, and this injury is a big blow to him, according to Granato.

“His play has been incredible," Granato said of the young center. "They’re big losses. I’m bummed for those two guys, because they came into the season prepared, in shape, they had a good training camp and right away this happens. But we’re an evolving team, and we need to see everybody. Everybody needs to play, and you can only give guys so much ice-time.”

Dylan Cozens moved in and centered the line with Jeff Skinner and Vinnie Hinostroza. Arttu Ruotsalainen, who was a healthy scratch on Thursday, was in-between Anders Bjork and Drake Caggiula.

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Will Butcher was also a healthy scratch on Thursday, and he slid in to play on the right side of the defense with Rasmus Dahlin.

Dahlin played 25 seconds on the penalty kill against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. With Jokiharju out, Granato said he’s not afraid to have Dahlin do a little more on the P.K.

“We’re definitely not hesitant to put 'Dahls' on the penalty kill," he said. "His intelligence, his ability to read plays and anticipate and break plays up is there. It’s just more of a matter of ice-time. It’s not he can or can’t play penalty kill. We don’t want to give him 30 minutes a game if we can give him 25 and give him the adequate rest.”

Everything else remained the same on Friday, in terms of lines:

Skinner - Cozens - Hinostroza
Bjork - Ruotsalainen - Caggiula
Girgensons – Eakin – Okposo
Asplund – Thompson – Olofsson

Dahlin - Butcher
Hagg – Pysyk
Bryson - Miller

Mattias Samuelsson has been skating on his own for the past three days. Granato says the young defenseman is making progress coming back from a lower-body injury suffered during the Sabres Prospects Challenge.

“The first two days he couldn’t put a lot of pressure there, but he had a much better day today and it’s looking positive," Granato said.

“I don’t know when he’ll be joining practice, but I would guess he’s getting close to joining practice within a week I would say. Then it could be real fast from that point.”

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The Sabres host the Coyotes on Saturday with faceoff set for 1 p.m. ET. Join me and Brian Koziol for pregame coverage on WGR starting at noon, when we’ll be joined by Granato, Hagg and Tage Thompson.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman - Getty Images