By Mike Harrington
ST. LOUIS -- Suddenly, without warning, Chris Stewart showed up on the ice today at the Sabres' pregame skate. I had several people on Twitter tell me they forgot he was even on the team!
Stewart played two games for the Sabres after being acquired in the Ryan Miller trade and was knocked out in the second one, March 6 at Tampa Bay, by a serious right ankle injury.
The Sabres said Stewart was done for the year. Not so fast. He's been quite the rehab freak. He looked good and skated on a line today. Now it appears he'll play at some point in these final seven games.
"The training staff has been working wonders so far. But I'm ahead of schedule and it's good," Stewart said. "You get traded, you get hurt and they're on a two-week road trip and you're alone in Buffalo. You're kind of down. This is the stuff you miss. Locker room camaraderie, joking around with the boys. LIttle things you miss."
"He's way ahead," said coach Ted Nolan. "We thought for sure he wouldn't be touching the ice until mid-summer. That shows you kind of the rehab he's been getting by our medical team."
Stewart was KO'd by Tampa goalie Anders Lindback, who cut his ankle as they were chasing a loose puck that would have been a breakaway. Think of it as the reverse Milan Lucic. Nolan wasn't happy bout the play at the time and Stewart wasn't today either.
"It sucks. They try to protect the goalies at all costs. Next time, I'm going to probably keep my head down and go through him," Stewart said. "I came out on the short end of the stick. Next time I'm not going to err on the side of caution."
Stewart has said he's happy to be with the Sabres because his family is from suburban Toronto but he was certainly happy to come to St. Louis to see his old teammates. He had dinner last night at defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk's house and still admitted today he was upset the Blues opted to cast him aside.
"They wanted a big goalie and I got voted off the island," he said. "I was a casualty. It sucks but that's the business."
Click below to hear Stewart's entire interview.