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Sulzer back for Sabres; Ruhwedel to head back to Rochester

Special to The News

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Alexander Sulzer is ready to play for the Sabres tonight against Carolina, which means they will say goodbye to Chad Ruhwedel.

Buffalo called up Ruhwedel from Rochester last week on an emergency basis after Sulzer went down with injury. By rule, the rookie defenseman must go back to the Amerks with Sulzer healthy. The Sabres have only four regular recalls to use for the remaining 17 games of the season, and they've elected not to use one to keep Ruhwedel.

The Sabres held an optional skate this morning in PNC Arena after coach Ted Nolan put them through a skating-intense workout Wednesday because he didn't like their practice habits.

"They’re not bad," Nolan said. "They’re not tanking. That was not designed to do that. That was just designed to remind them that we have to work every day. It’s not whether we’re in first place or last place. It doesn’t matter. It’s how you prepare yourself. I would do the same thing if we were in first versus last. It’s just a reminder that we have to work.

"We have to be a lot better prepared and a lot more mentally tougher."

Here are notes heading into tonight's matchup:

*The Sabres are looking for their first win in Carolina since Nov. 18, 2011. They will try to avoid their first four-game losing streak at Carolina/Hartford since they lost six in a row in Hartford from April 8, 1995, to April 7, 1997.

*The Hurricanes are 8-3-1 in their last 12 home games against Buffalo and have won three straight.

*Carolina is 8-2-2 in its last 12 games overall against Buffalo, including 5-1-1 in the last seven.

*During the two meetings this season, Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera has one goal and four points against his old team.

*The Sabres will start goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who is 4-1-1 with a 2.57 goals-against average against the Hurricanes.

*Drew Stafford, who scored the Sabres’ lone goal on Tuesday, has eight goals and 14 points in his last 15 games.

*Tyler Ennis has seven assists and 11 points in his last 12 games and eight goals and 19 points in his last 22 games. Ennis has a point in each of his last three games against Carolina.

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Live from First Niagara Center: Hurricanes at Sabres

Ref got too physical with Gerbe

By Mike Harrington

One of the bizarre moments of the NHL's first week came last night when Sabres winger Nathan Gerbe -- in his first game back after summer spinal surgery -- took a cheap hit from Carolina's Drayson Bowman and then tried to get in a few words with Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose.

But referee Dan O'Hallaron got in the way -- and got physical with Gerbe as well. Something tells me the stripes wouldn't have done that to too many other players. Especially ones who aren't 5-foot-5. That's got to be a reprimand and/or a fine for O'Hallaron but you won't hear about that one publicly.

Continue reading "Ref got too physical with Gerbe" »

Pregame audio: Leino dealing with hip issue

By Mike Harrington

It was an optional morning skate for the Sabres today in preparation for tonight's game against Carolina. Ryan Miller will be in goal, likely against Hurricanes backup Dan Ellis. The Sabres aren't expected to make any lineup changes, and coach Lindy Ruff said he's not looking to shift any lines yet, even though only Thomas Vanek-Cody Hodgson-Jason Pominville is producing any offense.

"The great thing is we got one of the hottest lines in the league," Ruff said of the trio, which has eight of the team's 10 goals. "The bad thing is it's the only line that's scoring right now. But I would take three goals out of a hot line over maybe two goals from two different lines."

One of the few guys on the ice was winger Ville Leino, who skated hard for 20-25 minutes before coming off the ice. Leino has yet to play this season with what has been revealed to be an injury to his right hip.

Continue reading "Pregame audio: Leino dealing with hip issue" »

Morning outlook: No lineup changes expected

By Mike Harrington

Don't look for any changes in the Sabres' lineup tonight for the 7 p.m. rematch against Carolina. The only players skating this morning in First Niagara Center are regular scratches Mike Weber, T.J. Brennan and Matt Ellis, and injured forwards Cody McCormick and Ville Leino.

The players and coach Lindy Ruff will be available to the media in the next half-hour or so. Carolina broadcaster John Forslund has tweeted that backup goaltender Dan Ellis is expected to start for the Canes.

John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |