Saying he has to be extra cautious because of Jochen Hecht's concussion history, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff ruled out the recovering forward until at least next week. Hecht, who missed the opening two games in Europe, will be on the sidelines again for Friday's home opener against Carolina and Saturday's visit to Pittsburgh.
"Jochen won’t be ready for this weekend,'' Ruff said after practice in First Niagara Center. "We gave him a little extra today, but we need to be sure this time around. We need to pound him physically and take him to the limit, which we haven’t taken him to the limit yet. We’re getting close, but it’s not a case where we’re going to put him in and guess or put him in because we’re close.
"In Jochen’s case, there’s a history, which changes a lot of things. The couple of instances at the end of last year, that history makes his situation different than anybody else’s. You monitor how he feels. If his head doesn’t feel right -- which he hasn’t given it the, "Jeez, I feel great. I feel good." -- he still doesn’t seem like he’s there yet, and that’s why you keep him out of contact. The real heavy stuff we’ll ramp up in the next few days. We don’t know if we get to the battle stuff if he’ll make it through it."
Hecht feels he is continuing to progress. Injured on the second day of training camp, he hasn't suffered any symptoms since before departing for Europe on Oct. 1.
"It’s been small steps, and I’m taking my time, making sure," Hecht said. "It’s been good, but I’ve still got to get my legs underneath me. I’ve been off for three weeks, so I’ve got to get my conditioning back. I’m still trying stuff out there, did a little extra with [Matt Ellis] at center ice there, banging heads. I’m going in the right direction."
To hear Ruff's news conference, click the file below.