BUFFALO – The Sabres have a plan for Zach Bogosian. Instead of throwing the oft-injured defenseman right into the fray, they’re easing him into training camp.
Bogosian, 28, underwent hip surgery last winter and hasn’t played a game Jan. 9. So the Sabres held him out of practice earlier this week before letting him skate on his own.
Bogosian practiced with his teammates again Thursday inside HarborCenter.
“Coming back from a major surgery, you’re trying to check off all the boxes,” Bogosian said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s road preseason tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs. “Just precautionary stuff, just trying to make sure everything’s going as smooth as possible. It felt good.”
Bogosian did everything, including battle drills.
“He looked really good in the practices and in the bump and grind of it, too,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “He was physical. It’s one of those scenarios where we’re just going to be cautious with it and evaluate it every day.”
Bogosian said: “(It’s) fun to get some bumps in when you haven’t been in a battle in quite some time.”
Bogosian likely won’t play tonight. The Sabres also host the Leafs on Saturday.
Holding back and waiting isn’t easy for the Massena native.
“The way I was raised it was you go 110 percent at all times no matter what you’re doing,” Bogosian said. “At times, that’s hurt me in the past. I think right now I’m doing a good job of being conscious of how I feel, listening to my body and reacting that way.
“Coming back from surgery you’re going to have ups and downs, I’m anticipating that. You’re going to have good days and bad days.”
In other injuries news, Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said he’s hopeful winger Conor Sheary, who suffered an upper-body injury the first day of camp, can practice next week and be ready for the season opener Oct. 4.
Meanwhile, Botterill said defenseman Matt Hunwick (neck) won’t be ready for the opener.
After Vaclav Karabacek cleared unconditional waivers Thursday, the Sabres terminated the contract of the former second-round pick.
The Czech forward, 22, endured an awful season in 2017-18, scoring zero goals and five assists in 28 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones, the Sabres’ ECHL affiliate.
The Sabres drafted Karabacek 49th overall in 2014. He wasn’t invited to camp this year.
Botterill offered no insight into the move, only saying the termination had been made.
Karabacek also played 24 AHL games with the Rochester Americans over the last two seasons, compiling three goals and eight points.
Most of the Sabres’ big names, including center Jack Eichel and rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, likely won’t play tonight.
Based on Thursday’s practice groups, tonight’s lineup will mostly feature AHL players and youngsters. Saturday’s lineup will have bigger names.
The Amerks open their camp Monday.