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Sabres' McCormick ready after long layoff

By John Vogl

It's been nearly three weeks since the Sabres' last game, which seems like a long time. Just imagine how long it feels for Cody McCormick.

The Buffalo center has been out since injuring his finger Dec. 14 against Calgary. The veteran wants to "play with some tenacity for the group" tonight against the Hurricanes.

"I'm ready to go," McCormick said today in First Niagara Center. "It's been too long for everybody with the break. We're looking forward to this game. It'll be fun to get back out there."

McCormick will replace center Zenon Konopka. He had finger surgery over the Olympic break, according to TSN, but is expected to return soon.

Drew Stafford nearing a return; other injured players not as close

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Sabres could have forward Drew Stafford back in the lineup before the end of the week.

Stafford went through practice this morning in First Niagara Center wearing a red non-contact jersey. He said afterward "it's been a good last couple days."

"I think it's more a day-to-day kind of thing," Stafford said. "I had a really long day today, a hard-working day, so we'll see how it responds later today and tomorrow morning. That's pretty much where we're at."

Stafford has missed the past three games after suffering an upper-body injury against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 2.

"It's one of those things where he's coming at me pretty fast, I'm coming at him pretty fast. It's kind of like a car crash. You see those kind of hits every game numerous times," Stafford said. "Just kind of bad luck on that one that I got twisted up a little bit."

Stafford has four goals and nine assists in 41 games this season.

Interim coach Ted Nolan said he hadn't talked to Stafford after today's practice concluded.

"I talked to him during practice. He said he was feeling good," Nolan said. "I'm not 100 percent sure about tomorrow, but he's real close."

Nolan said the Sabres' other injured players -- forwards Cody McCormick and Kevin Porter and defenseman Henrik Tallinder -- are not as close to a return.

"All those three guys are about the same," Nolan said.

Thankful for clean slate, Sulzer ready to show Sabres' new bosses he can play

By John Vogl

Alexander Sulzer fell victim to the Sabres' youth movement at the start of the year. He's now part of the veteran renaissance.

Sulzer is up from Rochester and will play Sunday when the Sabres host Detroit. The 29-year-old had two goals and seven points in 10 games for the Amerks. He got the call Friday night after coach Ted Nolan and President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine attended the Amerks' 3-2 loss to Utica.

"One of the reasons we went down was we wanted to see him play," Nolan said today after practice in Bud Bakewell Arena at Riverside Park. "He’s a veteran guy. Like I’ve said, we’ve got a lot of young talent here, and we’ve got to make sure they mature at the right pace. This guy’s a veteran guy that’s been around for a while, and he could have some stability back there for us.

"That’s what we’re looking for. We’re running around in our defensive zone too much. We just need guys to stay back. We’ve got one of the better goaltenders in the world, so we just have to make sure we protect back there and get the puck up to our forwards."

Sulzer is in his third season in the organization and has played 33 games for the Sabres with six goals and six assists. He practiced alongside Christian Ehrhoff.

"I’m just excited to be back and get the chance again, just trying to play my game and prove that the decision early in the year was wrong to send me down," Sulzer said. "It’s a complete new start. Like he’s mentioned many times, it’s a clean slate for everybody. Everybody deserves that. Things didn’t really work the way they were before, so they’re just trying to look at their options and evaluate after that. I really appreciate the chance."

Forward Cody McCormick was absent from practice and will miss at least a week.

"Cody’s banged up a little bit," Nolan said. "In the modern day you’ve got to say upper body or lower body. Pick your choice. He’s got one of them."

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 |