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  1. Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres and Bruins meet for Game 2 of their three game set Game 47 Buffalo Sabres (12-27-7) vs. Boston Bruins (26-12-6) Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder View the full article
  2. Rochester Amerks/Facebook The Sabres announced Jack Quinn underwent hernia surgery will miss the rest of the season The Buffalo Sabres announced today that 2020 first-round pick Jack Quinn will miss the remainder of the season. The Sabres have announced the following update regarding forward Jack Quinn. pic.twitter.com/kF6QaLEzjk — Sabres PR (@SabresPR) April 22, 2021 The Sabres indicate that the recovery time will be six weeks. This injury has been one he has battled through all season, according to Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News. Sabres prospect Jack Quinn is having season-ending surgery on a lower-body injury. He's been playing through it since tryout camp ahead of world juniors. Timing of surgery will allow plenty of time to train this summer. — Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) April 22, 2021 It has been a wild season for the rookie forward. After being drafted the expectation was he would play in the OHL for Ottawa 67’s this season. Unfortunately, the OHL never had a season and he was forced into the AHL playing for the Rochester Amerks. He played well overall in a league he probably wasn’t ready for. Quinn scored 9 points in 15 games for the Amerks this season. Next season will be interesting for him. Quinn will be 20-years-old before next season starts. Thus he’ll be eligible to play in the AHL next season and won’t need to return to juniors if he doesn’t make the Sabres roster. View the full article
  3. Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres, Bruins meet yet again in Thursday evening matchup Game 47 Buffalo Sabres (12-27-7) vs. Boston Bruins (26-12-6) Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder Know Your Opponent Boston Bruins Record: (26-12-6) Division Ranking: 4th in East Division PP: 21.3% (12th) PK: 86.3% (1st) What to Watch 1. Roster Updates Dustin Tokarski will once again get the start in goal for the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday evening - and honestly, he’s earned it. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is expected to make his NHL debut in the second half of the back-to-back as the teams return to the ice on Friday. In other roster news, Will Borgen returns to the lineup and will be on a D pairing with Jacob Bryson, according to The Athletic’s John Vogl. It’ll be Borgen’s first game since February 20; he missed 32 games. Colin Miller is the odd man out, and will sit as a result. 2. You Again? It’s yet another meeting between the Sabres and Bruins, and we aren’t done yet. Tonight’s game is the fifth of eight meetings between the two teams, and they’ll see a lot of each other over the next week. Boston won 2-0 earlier this week; the teams play tonight and again on Friday. The Sabres then have two games against the Rangers before they finish the season series with Boston on a pair of games in Beantown on April 29 and May 1. The Bruins have won all four meetings between the teams so far this season, so it’s Buffalo’s turn for retribution if they can get on a hot swing for the next few games. (I won’t count on it.) 3. Meanwhile, in Rochester Just a quick update from Rochester: Jack Quinn is having season-ending surgery on a nagging lower-body injury. Quinn recorded nine points (2-7) in 15 games with the Amerks, who are fifth in the North Division with an 8-9-2-1 record. Projected Lineups Buffalo Sabres Forwards Jeff Skinner - Sam Reinhart - Victor Olofsson Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson Anders Bjork - Dylan Cozens - Arttu Ruotsalainen Tobias Rieder - Riley Sheahan - Drake Caggiula Defense Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Ristolainen Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju Jacob Bryson - Will Borgen Starting Goaltender: Dustin Tokarski Boston Bruins Forwards Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak Taylor Hall - David Krejci - Craig Smith Nick Ritchie - Charlie Coyle - Jake DeBrusk Sean Kuraly - Curtis Lazar - Chris Wagner Defense Matt Grzelcyk - Charlie McAvoy Mike Reilly - Connor Clifton Jeremy Lauzon - Steven Kampfer Starting Goaltender: Jeremy Swayman View the full article
  4. Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images Buffalo failed to register a goal for the eighth time this season Score: Bruins 2 | Sabres 0 Shots: BOS 40 | BUF 32 Bruins Goals: Brad Marchand (24), Connor Clifton (1) Sabres Goals: None Observation 1 | Out of Sync One of the best parts of Don Granato’s interim takover behind the bench has been the Sabres’ newfound high-event tendencies. In that type of approach, there can be some “sloppy” tendencies that come out. Until tonight, the Buffalo Sabres had largely avoided those consequences. This contest was a different story. From the beginning of the first period, Buffalo wasn’t executing breakouts with the same degree of efficiency, and their defensive communication seemed off. These types of “growing pains” aren’t rare for young teams. What will be most telling is how they adjust and respond against this same Bruins team on Thursday evening. Observation 2 | Defensive Blunders For a player that just received NHL First Star of the Week honors, Dustin Tokarski did everything he could to keep the Sabres in this one. Stopping 38 of 40 shots sounds impressive in and of itself, but when you consider how badly the Sabres lost the xG battle in this one, it’s even more impressive. Not a single Buffalo defenseman registered a positive xG rating in this one as every pairing was essentially shellacked by a very aggressive and well-orchestrated Boston Bruins attack. Though Dylan Cozens was robbed blind by an amazing Tuukka Rask save toward the end of the first period, this game could have been a lot more lopsided on the score sheet if not for Tokarski. Final Thoughts A game like this seemed like an inevitability. Fans are re-engaged with the team (to an extent) now that Granato has them playing entertaining hockey. The fact remains however that this is a very young group that is missing its best player. Yes, they’ve been exceeding expectations, and yes that has been a lot of fun, but a poor showing like this shouldn’t really take away from that. As previously stated, the response to a showing like this is even more important to tonight’s result. Hopefully they clean some things up heading into Thursday’s tilt. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00PM. View the full article
  5. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images Sabres and Bruins open up a three-game series in Buffalo Game 46 Buffalo Sabres (12-26-7) vs. Boston Bruins (25-12-6) Puck Drop: 6:30 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder View the full article
  6. Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo looks for two more points at home after Sunday’s big victory Game 46 Buffalo Sabres (12-26-7) vs. Boston Bruins (25-12-6) Puck Drop: 6:30 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder Know Your Opponent Boston Bruins Record: (25-12-6) Division Ranking: 4th in East Division PP: 22% (10th) PK: 85.7% (1st) What to Watch 1. Mitts and Sam, Comin’ in Hot It is no secret that the Sabres are maybe actually...good? If not good, they are at least drastically better (and more fun to watch) since Don Granato took over as interim head coach. One of the many players that have improved is Sam Reinhart, whose experience on the team may finally be an advantage rather than a soul-crushing disadvantage. Sunday marked his fourth multi-goal game this season and he is likely to surpass 20 goals total for the fourth season in a row. Granato’s plan is to keep him at center - a decision that should have been made a long time ago (thanks for nothing, Ralph). Casey Mittelstadt is another hot player to watch these days with an impressive turnaround this season. He has 10 points in his last 11 games and has been a difference-maker on faceoffs, winning 15 out of 21 on Sunday. Granato has said, of Mittelstadt, that he plans to gradually put him in more “challenging” situations on the ice, noting that he has put in the time and effort to handle this. 2. Tokarski, The Star? After an impressive showing against the Penguins this past weekend, goaltender Dustin Tokarski has been named “First Star of the Week” by the NHL. He has a 2-1-1 record over the past week with 128 saves on 137 shots and a 2.27 average GA. Tokarski shares the NHL honor with frontline worker and former Roswell patient Michaela Pastorius. Assuming he gets the nod to play tonight, Tokarski should be another fun one to watch. Granato did say Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will back up Tokarski tonight and may start in one of the Boston matchups this week. Stay tuned! 3. Drake In, Cody Out Buffalo’s first transaction during trade deadline season was acquiring Drake Caggiula from the Arizona Coyotes. While he has struggled out west this season, Granato integrated him into the morning practice and plans to make him part of the lineup tonight. With Caggiula on the Rieder/Sheahan line, Cody Eakin will be scratched. Projected Lineups Buffalo Sabres Forwards Jeff Skinner - Sam Reinhart - Victor Olofsson Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson Anders Bjork - Dylan Cozens - Arttu Ruotsalainen Tobias Rieder - Riley Sheahan - Drake Caggiula Defense Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Ristolainen Jacob Bryson - Colin Miller Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju Starting Goaltender: Dustin Tokarski Boston Bruins Forwards Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak Taylor Hall - David Krejci - Craig Smith Nick Ritchie - Charlie Coyle - Jake DeBrusk Sean Kuraly - Curtis Lazar - Chris Wagner Defense* Matt Grzelcyk** - Charlie McAvoy Mike Reilly - Connor Clifton Jeremy Lauzon - Steven Kampfer *Jarred Tinordi left the ice after a bloody hit against the Capitals on Sunday afternoon and is a question mark for tonight. **Matt Grzelcyk was practicing today and may return to the blue line for Boston after missing several games with an upper-body injury. Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask View the full article
  7. Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres 2019 draft pick has reportedly signed with Buffalo According to his agent, Lukáš Rousek has signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres. Proud to announce that Lukáš Rousek (2019 NHL draft 6th rd 160th) signed 2 year NHL entry level contract! #WeAreGoldStar! pic.twitter.com/pcr2CMu8xm — Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) April 20, 2021 Rousek was drafted the Sabres with the 160th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. The 22-year-old winger appeared in 49 regular season games with HC Sparta Praha this season, accruing 14 goals and 24 assists. He also put up seven points (2-5) in 11 playoff games. According to The Athletic’s John Vogl, Rousek is not likely to join the AHL’s Rochester Americans, but at this point, signing his entry-level contract means he’s probably come to Buffalo for offseason training in the summer and go from there. Lukas Rousek's agent, Dan Milstein, says by the time Rousek's visa came through, the AHL season would likely be over. "The goal for Lukáš is to come and stay to train in Buffalo early this summer." — John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) April 20, 2021 View the full article
  8. Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images Let’s talk about what’s going on in the world.. of the Sabres and the NHL Here’s an open thread for discussing all matters Buffalo Sabres and NHL related for this week. Of course, you can talk about anything else you like too. The Sabres are now 5-3-2 in their last ten games and they’ve continued to win or pick up points against better opposition as we hit the one month mark since Ralph Krueger was sent packing. Don Granato meanwhile continues to win over the players and the fans with his coaching style, as the voices grow louder for him to be kept on on a permanent basis. Don Granato is immersed in the coaching bubble, so he's not fully aware of his growing fan base. That said: pic.twitter.com/AKErj2tmLw — John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) April 16, 2021 Good piece from John Vogl in the Athletic too looking at if Granato is the right man for the future of the Sabres. Here’s a video marking 50 years of Rick Jeanneret’s time with the Sabres. Buffalo take on the Bruins thrice this week - Tuesday, Thursday and then Friday, with a trip to the New York Rangers on Sunday. Feel free to add any links to developing news items as the week goes on in the comments below. View the full article
  9. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen after being drafted 54th overall by Buffalo | Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was reassigned to the taxi squad yesterday, April 17. The Sabres have an overall record of 12-26-7 and are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. The Sabres have allowed 151 total goals which tie them for third in the NHL and second-most in their division. (Columbus has 151, Philadelphia has 161, and Ottawa has 163 goals against) Linus Ullmark looked to be the saving grace for winning games, but he has been out with a lower-body injury. Ullmark had a .919 save percentage through 12 games played, which ranked 20th in all NHL goalies at the time. If you excluded goalies with five or fewer games played, Ullmark ranked 13. Linus Ullmark: 20 GP 9-6-3 record, 2.63 GAA, .917 SV% Carter Hutton: 13 GP 1-10-1 record, 3.43 GAA, .884 SV% Dustin Tokarski: 9 GP 2-5-2 record, 3.15 GAA, .914 SV% Since Ullmark and Hutton are likely to not return this season, give Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen a few starts. On April 17 he was activated to the taxi squad. Luukkonen is 21-years-old, has 14 games played, a 7-5-2 record, with a 3.60 GAA and a .888 SV% with the Americans. Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen making moves on a 1⃣ V 1⃣ breakaway save. #UnitedWeROC | @kbs_cleans pic.twitter.com/kDhehpCJNm — Rochester Americans (@AmerksHockey) April 11, 2021 There are a few ways to look at this move. The first and most optimistic is that it works out perfectly and he leads the team in the right direction. Back in 2019, St. Louis called up Jordan Binnington and he led them to the cup. I’m not saying Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is going to single-handedly get the Sabres into the Stanley Cup or let alone the playoffs, but the other young players that have been brought up this year have added to the success of the team. Arttu Ruotsalainen: 23 years old, 1 goal in 5 games Casey Mittelstadt : 22 years old, 14 pts in 29 games Dylan Cozens: 20 years old, 10 pts in 29 games Tage Thompson: 23 years old, 9 pts in 27 games Rasmus Asplund: 23 years old, 8 pts in 17 games The young players are where the focus should be. There is a tremendous amount of talent within just these five payers. Making the playoffs isn’t a possibility anymore and having a season where these players can get the feel of the game without any pressure is a bonus. The Sabres are playing to improve the team instead of hunting for points which is beneficial to player development. This could be the perfect time for Luukkonen. The coaching staff and management need to let Luukkonen know this is purely for him to feel the speed of the NHL, and gauge if he could be ready. No word yet on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s availability this weekend. The Sabres will have a better idea on Luukkonen’s status this afternoon. Depends on how Luukkonen responds to another on-ice workout. Sabres want him on the roster of taxi squad. — Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) April 16, 2021 Also, if he gets a start it should not only be one game. Give him at least three games, if he gets shelled on his first start don't send him to Rochester with a bitter taste in his mouth. Keep him in Buffalo and let him get 180 minutes of NHL action. Maybe he already has what it takes and just needs the opportunity to show he has it. Well, what if Luukkonen does sub-par, not terrible, but clearly he will not be leading the team anytime soon? Then he goes back to being the starter in Rochester and enjoys the fact that he played a few games in the NHL. It could be a driving force, having a taste of the big leagues and wanting more. Luukkonen was drafted by Buffalo in the second round (54 overall) in 2017. He led the OHL in both wins, (38) and shutouts, (6) and was named OHL’s MVP and top goaltender in 2018- 2019. Luukkonen set a franchise record for the Sudbury Wolves with 38 wins. Internationally, he won gold at the 2019 World Junior Championship. - Linus Ullmark is week-to-week, acknowledged that there's not many weeks left in the season. - Carter Hutton has started skating again, but there's no real information on his timetable.#LetsGoBuffalo — Brayton J. Wilson (@BJWilsonWGR) April 16, 2021 View the full article
  10. Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images Buffalo scored right out of the gate, 26 seconds into the first period, and never took their foot off of the gas Score: Sabres 4 | Pittsburgh 2 Shots: BUF 29 | PIT 36 Sabres Goals: Arttu Ruotsalainen (2), Sam Reinhart 2 (16, 17), Rasmus Asplund (6) Penguins Goals: Jason Zucker (7), Teddy Blueger (5) 1 | A new looking team in the last 10 games In the last 10 games, we have seen a much different team. They are fighting for pucks in the corner and coming out with possession. The younger players are attempting highly skilled plays and going out of their comfort zone. The team chemistry seems to be developing and it shows. Although a playoff appearance is not possible anymore it’s great to see players that are in their early 20’s settling into their roles. It seems like Don Granato is giving the players a little more leash and everyone seems to be playing calm and excited. 2 | Stringing points together Including today’s win, Sam Reinhart has 5 points in his last 5 games. With Rasmus Dahlin’s two assists today he now has 8 points in his last 9 games. Dylan Cozen assisted Arttu Ruotsalainen today. He now has 5 assists in his last 5 games. Dustin Tokarksi earned his second win of the season and improved his record to 2-5-0. He lowered his goals-against average to 3.15 and his save percentage increased to .914. 3 | Sam Reinhart- offensive threat Sam Reinhart has been a key player in the Sabres success. Even without Jack Eichel, Reinhart has not been slowing down offensively. He has 17G, 13A, for 30pts in 40 games. Reinhart is in good company throughout the NHL in goals scored. With 17 goals, he is tied with Steven Stamkos, David Pastrnak, Nathan McKinnon, and Sidney Crosby. Don Granato mentioned in his post-game conference that Reinhart has been taking a more vocal role. Granato mentioned he has always led by example but recently he has been louder on the bench or when he feels necessary. Pickin' pockets & scorin' goals #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/FPjqMpjzO6 — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 18, 2021 Sam's second of the day #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/FYE6865MfW — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 18, 2021 We're live with Interim Head Coach Don Granato after today's 4-2 win over Pittsburgh. https://t.co/fibdjhVFpu — Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 18, 2021 View the full article
  11. Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres host the Penguins again Game 45 Buffalo Sabres (11-26-7) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (28-13-3) Puck Drop: 3:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Penguins Blog: PensBurgh View the full article
  12. Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres and Penguins will run it back this afternoon Game 45 Buffalo Sabres (11-26-7) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (28-13-3) Puck Drop: 3:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Penguins Blog: PensBurgh Know Your Opponent Pittsburgh Penguins Record: (28-13-3) | 59 PTS Division Ranking: 2nd in East Division PP: 10th (22.4%) PK: 22nd (77.3%) What to Watch 1. Run it back Same time. Same place. The Sabres and Penguins will run it back after their close matchup yesterday afternoon. It was an entertaining game after the Penguins dominated the first period. We’ll see if the Sabres can take away the two points this afternoon. 2. Luukkonnen Debut? Don Granato said earlier in the week is if he was healthy enough that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was going to play in the near future. He was added to the taxi squad yesterday, so we’ll see if he does make his NHL debut. If not it’ll likely be Michael Houser between the pipes also making his NHL debut. 3. Stay Hot Casey Casey Mittelstadt has been excellent for the Sabres under Don Granato. He has seven goals and nine points in his last 10 games. His line with Tage Thompson and Rasmus Asplund has performed well. Thompson is on a bit of a scoring heater too with four goals in his last six games. Projected Lineups Buffalo Sabres Forwards Jeff Skinner - Sam Reinhart - Victor Olofsson Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson Anders Bjork - Dylan Cozens - Arttu Ruotsalainen Tobias Rieder - Cody Eakin - Steven Fogarty Defense Jacob Bryson - Rasmus Ristolainen Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju Matt Irwin - Colin Miller Starter: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen or Michael Houser Pittsburgh Penguins Forwards Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust Jason Zucker - Jeff Carter - Jared McCann Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Evan Rodrigues Radim Zohorna - Mark Jankowski - Colton Sceviour Defense Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang Marcus Pettersson - John Marino Michael Matheson - Cody Ceci Starter: Casey DeSmith View the full article
  13. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports What type of procedure will Eichel have? In the midst of yet another dreadful Sabres hockey season, it was announced Wednesday that star center Jack Eichel would be out for the remainder of the season. He was officially diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck that will require surgery. This news comes after a hit against the boards on March 7th that appeared to jar his neck, forcing him off the ice since then. Expecting an update today on Jack Eichel. Word is BUF captain needs surgery and will get it done soon, so he can begin training in preparation for next season. He’ll miss the remainder of this year. — Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 14, 2021 The Sabres have gone on to state that they expect Eichel to return fully healthy by the beginning of next season. However, details are scarce regarding the specifics of the surgery and chances for re-injury in the future. Below is the anatomy of the injury, possible surgical procedures, and outcomes for 2021 and beyond. Neck anatomy Physio Pedia The neck is made up of 7 cervical vertebrae that allow the spinal cord to pass through the middle, acting as a cage of sorts. In between these vertebrae are intervertebral discs which help provide space for the nerves that branch off the spinal cord to go out to innervate their respective areas of the body. The discs also allow for the movement of the vertebrae over each other. This provides stability around the spinal cord and nerves but also allows for mobility for all neck movements. Spine Universe Eichel in discomfort around the neck #LetsGoBuffalo #Isles #HDIA pic.twitter.com/IJtbL7TGpk — Buffalo Hockey moments (@SabresPlays) March 7, 2021 When a disc herniation occurs, this is the result of either a traumatic event such as an unexpected blow to the head/neck area or degeneration to the area over time. In the case of Eichel, it appears as the hit to the boards was enough to herniate his disc, though it’s possible he was dealing with this before as he was dealing with an upper-body injury at the beginning of the season. The hit may have made things worse that it was enough to prevent him from playing through the ailment. "He will be fine. We are just being cautious in the process. We expect Jack in the next couple days here." - Ralph Krueger on Jack Eichel missing opening day with an upper-body injury. — John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) January 1, 2021 When a disc herniation occurs, the tough outer annulus fibrosus tears, allowing the nucleus pulposus to push out through the tear, which in turn, pushes on either the spinal cord or more likely, the spinal nerve that branches off the spinal cord. That pressure on the nerve can send pain down that nerve pathway, usually into the arm, and cause what is known as radiculopathy. This can be felt as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness, leading to difficulty with everyday activities. This disc protruding may also limit neck motion or cause significant pain as noted in the video above on Eichel on the bench. Through physical testing, doctors can narrow down what level is affected based on the symptom presentation and use imaging to confirm the diagnosis. Atlantic Spine Specialists Having any of these symptoms for normal day-to-day life is tough enough; add in the fact that hockey players require incredible vision and constant use of their upper bodies that playing would be very difficult. He likely attempted to treat this conservatively over the past month with physical therapy, chiropractic care, or even injections to address the complaints. However, the medical team likely looked at the lack of progress and eyeing towards next season, elected to have surgery to address the problem long term. There are a number of different procedures he could have, but it’s possible that he required an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. The anterior cervical discectomy with fusion is a procedure in which a surgeon enters the neck anteriorly, near the throat, to remove the herniated disc and fuse the vertebrae that were above and below where the disc was removed. The surgeon fuses this together using a piece of extracted hip bone to create a bony spacer where the disc was prior. The surgeon then places a plate over the front that connects the two vertebrae together to create the fusion. Melbswallow.com.au This reduces the pressure on the cervical nerves, leading to long-term stability. These outcomes are overall very positive with 80 percent of players that have this procedure return to play with no discernible change in the quality of play. Most return to play within 9 months, though this was between a variety of professional sports. Hockey players can return sooner with research indicating that a player in the study returned in 6.7 months, though there is not widespread research regarding the normative values to return in hockey specifically. General rehab protocols allow return to sport at 6+ months, but that timeline could vary based on the doctor and recovery process. Failure rates for ACDF vary anywhere from 2.1 percent to 9.13 percent for a single level in the general population which is rather low. For athletes specifically, it is reported at 5.8 percent. There is concern that if he does indeed have the fusion to the area, the vertebral segments above and below the surgical sites could be compromised and eventually become injured, though far from a guarantee. In terms of function, Eichel will have no change in rotation of his head with a possible small loss of motion for flexion/extension and sidebending, though the other segments can make up for this loss. In addition, return to contact sports for a single-level fusion is acceptable with no long-term concerns. There are other possibilities including a discectomy or artificial disc replacement, but discectomies have a chance to re-herniate later on. As for the artificial disc, there are instances where professional athletes have had the procedure, but I am not certain that this is a widespread intervention for athletes at that level. I have also not found research to support that this is superior to the more common anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. Looking back at everything, Eichel requires surgery to correct the disc herniation and it is likely that he requires the fusion surgery that has excellent outcomes for return to sport. I have little concern health-wise heading into next season or that this will become a recurring issue. I do hope that the Sabres finally find a coach that can utilize all the talent on this roster to restore a once winning tradition and finally get Eichel and the city of Buffalo back to the Stanley Cup playoffs. View the full article
  14. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports Tokarski did what he could, but Buffalo falls 3-2 Score: Penguins 3 | Sabres 2 Shots: PIT 41 | BUF 30 Sabres Goals: Tage Thompson (6), Casey Mittelstadt (8) Penguins Goals: Jared McCann (12), Evan Rodrigues (6), Bryan Rust (17) Minus - 1 | A Rough Start The Sabres were lagging from the get-go on Saturday afternoon; they certainly didn’t show up ready to play, as evidenced by the fact that Buffalo put only six shots on goal in the opening period. Pittsburgh really dominated early on, and they finally capitalized with McCann’s goal opening the scoring midway through the frame. Plus - 1 | Dustin Tokarski It’s a small sample size, and in the end, a loss is still a loss, but Dustin Tokarski has been a pleasant surprise to watch in net for the Sabres. Coming off his first NHL win in a long time, Tokarski was the best Sabres player early on in Saturday’s game. He made save after save to keep the team in it, and he’s a big reason why the game never got completely out of hand for Buffalo. Overall, Tokarski faced 41 shots. Plus - 1 | Some Fight As the game went on and the Sabres continued to find themselves down, it was nice to see a little fight in the team once again. They didn’t sit back and let the Penguins take hold of the game; they found their legs and fought for it. Even after Pittsburgh regained their two-goal lead, you could still see some of that energy in Buffalo. Casey Mittelstadt’s power-play goal late in the third extended the spark, and the Sabres especially played the last few minutes of the game strongly.... they just couldn’t quite finish it. Final Thoughts As a result of Saturday’s loss, the Sabres have now been officially eliminated from playoff contention. They’re the first NHL team to be eliminated this year, which comes as no surprise. With Linus Ullmark, Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo all done for the season, playoffs out of reach and three weeks remaining, it will be interesting to see how the team utilizes some of its young players like Arttu Ruotsalainen, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Jack Quinn. View the full article
  15. Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres host the Penguins in their joint Pride Game Game 44 Buffalo Sabres (11-25-7) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (27-13-3) Puck Drop: 3:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: NBC Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Penguins Blog: PensBurgh View the full article
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