Tage Thompson has missed nine games. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson ready to return from injury; Sabres to make roster moves

BUFFALO – Sabres center Tage Thompson said he originally expected the left hand injury he suffered on Nov. 14 would sideline him four to six weeks.

“Things progressed a little quicker,” Thompson said after skating with his teammates this morning in KeyBank Center. “X-rays came back good.”

Thompson’s injury healed so quickly that he will return ahead of schedule for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

“Happily surprised,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “We talked yesterday … and he felt his conditioning is in a really good place. He wanted to feel a little battle this morning and he knows his body well, he knows what it takes to perform and wanted this morning to confirm it.

“And that’s great news. In light of a lot of other challenging situations, that’s a real plus for us to have him back in the lineup tonight.”

The Sabres sorely need Thompson, their leading scorer last season. They’ve lost three straight games and went 3-5-1 during his nine-game absence.

They’re also very thin up front.

In Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to the Nashville Predators, winger Alex Tuch, Thompson’s regular linemate, suffered what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Granato said Tuch and winger Jordan Greenway, who possibly hurt his shoulder in Saturday’s 6-2 road loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, will both be sidelined about seven to 10 days.

“I don’t expect either of them to be longer than that, although one of them is going to have something that will nag him for a quite a bit after that,” he said. “But he should be able to play.”

Granato said some “roster adjustments” are coming.

While Thompson’s ready to play, he won’t skate at center. He took reps this morning at right wing alongside center Casey Mittelstadt and Jeff Skinner. Thompson also manned his usual spot in the circle on the power play.

“Probably if I had to, I could play center,” said Thompson, who has scored six goals and 12 points in 16 games this season. “Probably just trying to ease back into it, see how the hand feels and take it maybe a period at a time, go from there.”

Thompson, who was injured blocking a shot while killing a penalty, won’t take any faceoffs.

“Shooting feels 100 percent normal, no issues there,” he said. “I haven’t even tried faceoffs. I mean, it’s kind of just something where I just really didn’t think there was a need for it. If we got a lot of guys down the middle right now that can take draws, no need to force it.”

In other news, Granato said goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is sick and will miss tonight’s game. Eric Comrie will start and be backed up by Devon Levi, who will be recalled from the Rochester Americans.

With Luukkonen out this morning, former Sabres goalie Craig Anderson, a “hockey liaison” for the team, tended goal. Anderson retired following last season.

Meanwhile, winger Jack Quinn, who’s skating again after tearing his Achilles tendon in late June, participated in the morning skate wearing a non-contact jersey. He also joined the Sabres for a morning skate last month in Washington. He’s aiming to return around Jan. 1.

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin left the skate early but Granato said he expects him to play tonight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *