Travis Turnbull's phone rang Tuesday night in Rochester and it was Amerks coach Ron Rolston calling at an odd time. Turnbull immediately figured that was a good thing.
"Ron called me and asked me what I was doing. And I kind of had the feeling [news of a callup] was why he was calling me after dinner," Turnbull said today after joining the Buffalo Sabres for tonight's game against Montreal in First Niagara Center. "It was probably the best thing I've ever heard in my life.
"I'm a guy that really appreciates this. It's so surreal. The feeling is nothing that I've ever really felt before. It's something each and every one of us works for your entire life. To finally be here and get an opportunity to play for the Sabres tonight is unbelieveable."
Turnbull is a 6-foot, 193-pounder the Sabres signed out of the University of MIchigan in 2009. He's played since in Portland and Rochester, and has 12 goals, 15 assists and 94 penalty minutes for the Amerks this year while playing mostly center. He's the son of former NHL player Perry Turnbull, and was born in St. Louis while his dad was playing for the Winnipeg Jets after several years playing for the Blues.
Turnbull will wear No. 65 and replace Patrick Kaleta, who was injured Monday in Tampa and will be out "probably more than day to day" with an upper-body injury (Kaleta was seen in the locker room with a cast on his hand and is believed to have a broken thumb). He could be in the middle between Brad Boyes and Cody McCormick.
"We're replacing the same kind of player, an agitator, scrappy kid who plays on the edge," Ruff said of Turnbull "He's really played hard down there. You bring him in and you're looking for a fourth-line role, there's a couple of choices but Ron thought he'd be the best guy for us. It's a win-win. He's got some good hands, good speed, is a real competitive kid so he'll fit right where he's playing."
Boyes and Derek Roy were excused from skating this morning because they skated yesterday when most of the rest of the team took the day off. Tyler Myers returns from his three-game suspension. The Sabres will go with six defensemen, but Mike Weber and Alex Sulzer both came off the ice at the same time so there's no way to tell who will be a scratch.
The Sabres can pull into a tie with idle Washington for the final playoff spot in the East with the win, although the Caps would still maintain a tiebreaker edge.
Click below for audio from Turnbull and Ruff.