Somewhere in Rochester today, one of the Amerks forwards will get a telephone call with his turkey. The Sabres are hurting up front, and they're going to need another reinforcement.
Buffalo practiced with only 11 healthy forwards today during a short holiday session in First Niagara Center, and they'll need to boost that number to 12 before they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
Tyler Ennis, who is still recovering from Oct. 22 ankle sprain, practiced on a line but said he is not ready to return. Patrick Kaleta (lower body) was unable to skate again after missing Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to Boston, so he's out. Brad Boyes got hurt against the Bruins, and he's not expected back for sometime.
That leaves Amerks forwards Colin Stuart, Zack Kassian and Derek Whitmore among the likely candidates to join the Sabres, who return home after the trip to Columbus to host Washington on Saturday.
"We’re really going to have to grind through a session here where we’re down a lot of manpower," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said today. "Playing against a healthy team last night, a full lineup against six guys out, that effort was worthy of a win. We didn’t get it. We’re disappointed. But I’m just telling you, we play that way, play that hard, we’ll get the W’s."
The Sabres' lines were: Thomas Vanek-Jochen Hecht-Jason Pominville; Ville Leino-Derek Roy-Drew Stafford; Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Corey Tropp; and Ennis-Luke Adam-Matt Ellis.
The sixth healthy defensemen were joined by injured Mike Weber, who can skate with the team but has an upper-body injury that will keep him out for weeks still.
To hear Ruff's Thanksgiving chat -- which includes comments on Hecht, T.J. Brennan and the Blue Jackets -- click the audio file below.