Of course, Sabres coach Phil Housley might’ve kept Elie, his 13th forward much of the season, in the lineup if Sheary could play.
In his first appearance following 10 consecutive healthy scratches, Elie, 23, stood out in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win in Detroit.
“He provided a big spark for us,” Housley said. “He was really tenacious on the forecheck, he almost scored his first shift. It’s good to see him bounce back and get an opportunity.”
Housley also played Elie, a preseason waiver claim, late in regulation of the 2-2 game.
“I’m a pretty good defensive player and I take a big role in that defensive zone,” said Elie, who has played five games this season.
Housley has also utilized his depth on defense, often swapping Nathan Beaulieu and Casey Nelson.
Update: The Sabres recalled defenseman Lawrence Pilut from the Rochester Americans this afternoon. The Swede, 22, was summoned last week but did not play. The Sabres might want extra defense depth again.
Pilut has compiled three goals and 22 points in 16 AHL games.
Update: Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said on WGR Pilut was recalled because Marco Scandella is unavailable tonight. The Sabres wanted an extra defenseman. Pilut will dress for warm-ups.
Elie has made consecutive appearances once this season, way back on Oct. 6 and 8, the second and third games of the year.
“We’ve had a lot of guys step up,” Housley said. “We’ve changed the lineup and we’ve won, we’ve changed the lineup and we’ve lost and just the depth of our forwards, it says a lot. In an 82-game schedule, you’re going to have injuries, you’re going to have opportunities for other guys to step up. I just really like the balance that we have as far as the forward position goes.”
Housley said Sheary is day-to-day. The injury, he said, is related to what Sheary suffered early in training camp.
“We’re just being precautious with it,” Housley said. “We’ve had a lot of games recently.”
With Sheary out, winger Zemgus Girgensons will return after sitting out last game. Meanwhile, defenseman Zach Bogosian, who had a maintenance day Monday, will also play.
Sheary’s absence means Tage Thompson will move up to left wing beside center Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo. Evan Rodrigues will center Vladimir Sobotka and Jason Pominville.
Goalie Carter Hutton will start for the Sabres.
In other news, tonight is “Hockey Fights Cancer Night” at KeyBank Center. Every fan will receive a special scarf and a placard to write the name of someone they fight for.
Housley and his coaching staff posed for a photo with each of them holding placards with “Lori Ward” written on them. Ward, the wife of Sabres assistant coach Tom Ward, is fighting cancer.
“Cancer’s touched everybody in one form or another,” Housley said. “I know my mom passed away in 2000. I’m fighting for her. In my family there are some relatives that have passed away. The NHL’s done a terrific job of addressing this disease.”
Tonight is #HockeyFightsCancer night at @buffalosabres game – the coaching staff is fighting for one of our own, Assistant Coach Tom Ward’s wife, Lori, (from Prior Lake). Lori is halfway thru her chemo treatments & will kick this disease!! We miss you! You got this! pic.twitter.com/aD01RuoWoN
— Karin Housley (@KarinHousley) November 27, 2018