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Players back, but a coach down

The flu bug that recently struck the Sabres' lineup has been temporarily exterminated, but an injury hit the coaching staff today.

Associate coach Brian McCutcheon was hit in the head with a shot during practice in HSBC Arena. He needed stitches to close the wound.

"He suffered a pretty big cut on the head," coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think he'll be OK.

"He's one tough coach. It hit him hard."

The Sabres did extensive power-play work in an effort to boost a unit that ranks tied for 21st in the NHL at 16.7 percent. They finally had nearly everyone available to work with the man-advantage and short-handed sides.

Patrick Kaleta, who had been absent since becoming ill during Friday's game against Toronto, returned today. Jason Pominville was on the ice after taking one day off to attend the birth of his son, Jayden John. Paul Gaustad (who missed two games because of the flu) came back Monday.

Only Toni Lydman, who is slowed by a groin strain, failed to participate in all the drills. He is doubtful for Wednesday's visit by the New York Islanders.

"We've got a couple players back," Ruff said. "You don't know strength-wise where they're at. They haven't practiced for three, four days. Some of the players' families are dealing with it at the same time.

"Today we knew that we didn't have anybody new that was sick, and the guys that were are on the mend."

While Ruff didn't say the ill players had H1N1 -- the swine flu -- he said it was probable to assume that.

"I think everybody presumes now that anytime you've got the flu it is [swine flu], so I think you just presume that,'' he said.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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