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On surprising road back, Stewart should play this season

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.

Chris Stewart

Halak, Stewart know their time with Sabres could be short

By John Vogl

Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart went from a Stanley Cup favorite to the 30th-place team. It was a shock, but they're willing to make the most of their time in Buffalo.

They also know they might not spend much time in Buffalo.

Halak and Stewart, acquired from St. Louis on Friday in the deal that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the Blues, practiced with the Sabres for the first time today. It's entirely possible it was the only practice they'll ever have in First Niagara Center. Ottawa is highly interested in acquiring Stewart before Wednesday's trade deadline, while the Star-Tribune in Minnesota reports the Wild are hot for Halak.

"I’m happy to be here right now, and we’ll see what’s going to happen a few days from now if I’m still here," Halak said. "Anything can happen from now on. We’ve got three more days before the trade deadline, and we’ll see."

Halak, a pending unrestricted free agent, is 24-9-4 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Minnesota likely isn't the only club that would be interested in the goaltender.

The Senators like the 6-foot-2, 231-pounder Stewart for his physical game and scoring touch. The 26-year-old scored 15 times for the Blues this season and potted 28 goals with Colorado in 2009-10.

"You hear about all the rumors," Stewart said. "As long as I’m here, I’m going to focus 100 percent of my energy on winning hockey games for the Buffalo Sabres."

Both players quickly showed their sense of humor. It was noted to Stewart how much he stands out among the smaller Sabres.

"Standing next to John Scott out there, it’s kind of bit of an ego killer," he said of the 6-8 defenseman. "In this game you’ve got to play to your strengths, and as you can see I’m going to use my big frame to my advantage, finish checks and get to the net. I like to score those ugly goals and bang some bodies around."

Halak was asked what awaits Miller in St. Louis.

"Probably less shots," the goalie said. "He’s a great goalie, and he’s going to fit in. We’ll see how that’s going to work out for them. Like I said, I wish them good luck in the playoffs."

Jaroslav Halak

Chris Stewart

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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 | jvogl@buffnews.com

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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