BUFFALO – Sabres newcomer Cory Conacher said he spoke to a couple of people about choosing a number. The winger wouldn’t wear No. 89 again out of respect for Alexander Mogilny, who scored 76 goals in 1992-93.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to get 76 goals in a year, that’s going to be pretty tough,” Conacher said this morning inside the First Niagara Center prior to his Sabres debut.
Conacher then settled on No. 88, digits popularized by South Buffalo’s Patrick Kane, a Chicago Blackhawks superstar.
“I like high numbers and I like 89,” Conacher said, “so I decided to go one lower with 88.”
But before Conacher officially grabbed the number, he texted Kane, someone he skates with during the summer.
“He just texted me, he’s like, ‘I’m going to wear your number in Buffalo, is that all right?’” said Kane, whose Blackhawks make a rare visit tonight. “I was like, ‘Yeah, you don’t need to be asking me about that stuff. It’s fine.’”
Conacher, a waiver acquisition from Ottawa on Wednesday, will play beside center Tyler Ennis tonight, interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. Visa issues delayed Conacher’s debut.
In other news, forwards Zemgus Girgensons, Torrey Mitchell and Chris Stewart (all lower body) are still out. Nolan said Girgensons and Mitchell should return first. Stewart will be longer.
“Right now, it’s been a trying time,” Nolan said. “We’ve got a lot of guys in and out of the lineup. Mitchell came in, I like what I saw of him in the first period, all of sudden the second period he’s gone for a length of time.”
Jhonas Enroth will start in goal tonight.
Before the Sabres skated this morning, winger Patrick Kaleta, out since tearing up his knee in November with Rochester, skated alone. Kaleta has a stall in the dressing room again.
“I just know for a fact he’s not playing this year,” Nolan said. “We’ll worry about him this summer and we’ll get him ready for next training camp.”