BUFFALO – Just like that, the Sabres’ defense is a little thin. Sure, it’s 12 days before the season opener. The injuries, of course, could be minor.
But with Zach Bogosian (mild groin strain) and Dmitry Kulikov (“bruised butt bone,” according to coach Dan Bylsma) sidelined from practice today, the Sabres are down two of their top four defensemen. Don’t forget, top defender Rasmus Ristolainen is practicing without a contract.
Bogosian hurt his groin in Thursday’s 1-0 shootout win against Toronto. He left the game as a precaution and is being examined by a doctor, Bylsma said.
The Massena native missed about two months last season after suffering a lower-body injury early in training camp.
Kulikov, meanwhile, was hit into the bench door in Friday’s 8-1 loss to Toronto.
Winger Nick Baptiste, who left Friday’s game with a lower-back injury, is also being examined, Bylsma said.
Bylsma also said defenseman Tyson Strachan, who’s on an AHL contract, sprained his ankle.
The Sabres, who have 33 players left in camp after assigning 17 to the Rochester Americans this morning, were joined by defenseman Taylor Fedun today. Fedun, 28, missed the first week of camp recovering from a fractured foot he suffered in April.
Fedun, who’s listed at 6-feet and 200 pounds, signed a two-way contract July 1.
“I certainly was hoping to be a little more prepared,” Fedun said of missing time. “I didn’t know the whole foot issue would drag out as long as it. But I was just going to come in and try to battle for a spot in the depth here. I know there’s a good corps of guys here. It’s a long season. I know there’s injuries, things happen. I want to prove I can play at this level.”
Fedun has played 12 NHL games, compiling two goals and seven points.
What kind of player is he?
“I’m slightly smaller than some of the big guys we got back here,” Fedun said. “I think one of my strengths is using my hockey sense and smarts out there to play a strong position game and distribute the puck fast.”