By John Vogl
Alexander Sulzer will miss the rest of the season for the Buffalo Sabres after undergoing successful surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The normal recovery time is a year.
The defenseman was injured Feb. 23 against the Islanders after a collision in the corner.
"He had successful knee surgery and he will be out for the rest of the year," interim coach Ron Rolston said today. "What happens in those injuries – I’m not really a doctor, but I play one on TV – what happens is there’s so much swelling early on that it’s hard to diagnose early how damaged it is until that goes away and until they can actually go in there.
"So it takes awhile for that swelling to go down, and then when they go in to determine how bad it is in terms of the repair, that’s why it took a little longer, but it was successful and he’s on the recovery path right now."
Sulzer played 17 games for the Sabres, recording three goals, four points and a plus-3 rating while skating 16:31 per game.
The 28-year-old, who was acquired from Vancouver at the 2012 trade deadline, re-signed with Buffalo during the offseason on a one-year, $725,000 contract.
While Sulzer is gone, three Sabres are set to return Saturday when Ottawa visits Buffalo. Goaltender Ryan Miller is better after sitting out one game with a sinus infection. Center Tyler Ennis should be back after missing one game with a head injury. Forward Ville Leino is set to make his season debut after sitting out the opening 27 games with a hip injury.
Leino skated alongside center Mikhail Grigorenko and left wing Steve Ott today during practice in First Niagara Center. Leino also worked with the second power-play unit, skating up front with Ott and Drew Stafford while Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold worked the point.
The first unit consisted of Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek and Ennis, with Jason Pominville and Christian Ehrhoff on the blue line.
To hear Rolston's thoughts on Leino, Ennis and the Sabres' struggling power play, click the audio file below.
taggedAlexander Sulzer | Ryan Miller | Tyler Ennis | Ville Leino