There's good news on the injury front for the Buffalo Sabres heading into Thursday's opener of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Coach Lindy Ruff said today he's "optimistic" that center Tim Connolly will be ready for Game One against the Boston Bruins after the center skated on his own over the weekend for the first time since he was injured late last month. And Ruff is not ruling out Jochen Hecht or Drew Stafford either.
So where does that leave rookie Tyler Ennis?
Said Ruff: "We'll have to make that decision based on Hecht and Connolly and Stafford being available to play."
Ruff also said he's not made any decision regarding Chris Butler and Andrej Sekera. The struggling young defensemen have been alternating in recent games.
Ruff held his 15-minute briefing in playoff mode -- behind a podium and in front of a flashy black-and-blue Stanley Cup Playoffs banner.
"I'm excited to be back in. It's the best time of the year," the coach said. "The weather outside is nice. Just the atmosphere. I'm looking forward to getting after it here at home with our fans. The visions of the plaza being filled up with people, driving here to the rink and obviously parking lots with people.
"Saturday will be a tremendous day here with an afternoon game. It's going to be great. It's great to be back in. You've got to be excited to be back in again because a couple years of being absent really hurt."
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