BUFFALO – As a 29-year-old veteran of 107 NHL games, defenseman Alexander Sulzer gives the struggling Sabres some much-needed stability, interim coach Ted Nolan said.
“We’re running around the defensive zone a little bit too much,” Nolan said this afternoon following practice inside the Riverside Ice Rink.
That’s why Nolan and Pat LaFontaine, the president of hockey operations, watched Sulzer play Friday in Rochester. The Sabres recalled him following the game.
“We got a lot of young talent,” Nolan said. “We got to make sure they mature at the right pace. He’s a veteran guy that has been around for a while. He can add some stability back there.”
Sulzer, who’s played 33 games with the Sabres, including one this season, has two goals and seven points in 10 appearances with the Americans.
“I’m an older guy, even if I don’t want to admit it,” Sulzer said. “He just wants me to be calm on the ice and just play the zone. Don’t freak out when a mistake happens.”
Sulzer skated beside Christian Ehrhoff today, his old partner.
To make room for Sulzer, the Sabres placed forward Cody McCormick, who left Thursday’s 4-1 loss in Philadelphia early, on injured reserved.
“Cody’s banged up a little bit,” Nolan said. “I guess modern day you’ve got to say, ‘upper body or lower body.’ Pick your choice. He’s got one of them. He’s out at least a week.”
Meanwhile, John Scott practiced as a defenseman much of today, meaning the tough guy’s likely out for Sunday’s tilt against the Detroit Red Wings. Brian Flynn, a regular winger, centered the fourth line today.
“He’s a very intelligent player,” Nolan said. “He said he played eight games at center ice last year. With the fourth-line position, we got to make sure we have reliable guys.”
Nolan also put the top line of Matt Moulson, Cody Hodgson and Drew Stafford back together today.