In the second period of Monday’s Buffalo Sabres scrimmage, Zemgus Girgensons eyed up Steven Fogarty as he carried the puck and tried to hit him inside the blue line.
But Fogarty skated around Girgensons, forcing the Latvian to make a last-second adjustment. Girgensons’ legs split awkwardly as he attempted to find Fogarty and he fell to the KeyBank Center ice. Girgensons left the scrimmage and did not return.
Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said Girgensons, who was being examined as he spoke, suffered a “very questionable lower-body injury.”
“No final assessment because he is getting scanned right now,” Krueger said on a Zoom call.
Krueger said the Sabres “must be ready for possibly a bit of a setback.”
“Everybody saw the injury and the awkwardness of the situation,” he said.
The Sabres are already missing three players: captain Jack Eichel (upper body), winger Victor Olofsson (upper body) and goalie Linus Ullmark (quarantining because of an immigration issue). Krueger has said all three are day-to-day and he expects them back Wednesday following a day off.
Girgensons, a hard-nosed winger the Sabres utilize as a penalty killer, spent the first four days of training camp skating beside center Cody Eakin and Kyle Okposo.
“Zemgus’ package is specialized,” Krueger said. “It’s hard for us to replace.”
Girgensons, 26, signed a three-year, $6.6 million contract before the season. He scored 12 goals and 19 points in 69 games last season.
Team Blue defeated Team Gold 5-1 in Monday’s scrimmage. Goalie Carter Hutton scored an empty-net goal by flinging the puck down the ice. Defenseman Henri Jokiharju scored twice.
Krueger said Sabres center prospect Dylan Cozens, who’s competing for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship, will join the Sabres after the tournament.
Canada will likely be playing for the gold medal Tuesday in Edmonton.
Cozens must quarantine for seven days upon his arrival in Buffalo, according to NHL rules. Krueger said a call for coaches and general managers was scheduled for later Monday to learn more about the COVID-19 protocols moving forward.
Krueger said the Sabres haven’t decided if wing prospect Jack Quinn, who’s also playing for Canada, will join the NHL team.
Zemgus Girgenson with an ugly spill #Sabres pic.twitter.com/lEJEfsXqjQ
— Buffalo Hockey moments (@SabresPlays) January 4, 2021