BUFFALO – The Sabres plan to ease Brandon Montour into the lineup, so the defenseman likely won’t play back-to-back games this weekend.
Montour, 25, injured his left hand in a preseason game Sept. 17, costing him most of training camp and the first 13 games this season.
Asking him to play Friday against the Washington Capitals and Saturday versus the New York Islanders would be a bit much.
“He’s definitely doubtful for two games this weekend,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said following today’s practice inside KeyBank Center.
Still, Montour, who practiced beside Rasmus Dahlin today, is ready to play.
“I’m good to go,” he said.
Krueger said Montour, who returned to practice Sunday, “started to feel comfortable with all the traffic out there” today. Montour couldn’t grip a stick during much of his recovery.
“He’s been doing a lot of solo figure skating, which is skating, skating, skating with nobody else on the ice,” Krueger said. “You add all those other bodies, suddenly it becomes a different world. We thought he’s evolved quickly.”
Montour said: “The first little bit is going to be an adjustment. Skating by yourself is a little different than playing in a hockey game.”
With Montour on a regular defense pair today, John Gilmour was the odd man out. Gilmour’s partner the last two games, Colin Miller, practiced beside Henri Jokiharju.
Following a day off Tuesday, the Sabres practiced about 70 minutes today.