Medical updates are front and center these days around the Sabres and Monday was a good day at First Niagara Center. The biggest news was the brief pre-practice appearance by goaltender Ryan Miller, who took a few shots and then called it a day on the ice at least.
Miller said he expects to take part as an extra goalie at Tuesday's morning skate and hopes to practice fully on Wednesday. And while there's no timetable yet on him seeing game action, rejoining practice is a huge first step. Miller also said he's no longer sure if he suffered a concussion from the Nov. 12 hit by Boston's Milan Lucic, but that disc problems in his neck were a bigger issue. (It should be noted, however, the Sabres pointed out later in the day that Miller was, in fact, diagnosed with a concussion)
"I feel good symptom wise," Miller said. "It was more neck and something where I aggravated a disc in my neck pretty good and we had an MRI and CT-scan showing that which kind of backed that up and was the source of a lot of the tension and a lot of the discomfort. It definitely was limiting my range of motion."
Coach Lindy Ruff said he thinks it's realistic Miller could practice Wednesday but added: "In his situation, it's really how he feels. If he'd like to practice, I'll get a practice plan together so that he can face some shots."
Ruff was encouraged by Miller and several other players. Robyn Regehr, Patrick Kaleta and Drew Stafford might all play Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Tyler Ennis (high ankle sprain) told me he won't play in that game but it's possible he could be ready by this weekend.
Click below for audio from Miller and Ruff, with the coach's wide-ranging interview touching on the injuries, the play of Thomas Vanek, Christian Ehrhoff and Jochen Hecht, and his reaction to the firings of Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice.