As the Sabres wrapped up practice Thursday, they gathered in a circle at center ice. Coach Phil Housley noticed someone was missing.
He quickly shouted to emergency goaltender Ryan Vinz, who not only joined the group but was pushed to the center of the circle.
"Our backup to the backup to the backup," Housley said with a smile in KeyBank Center. "It was all in fun. He came out and helped us. It was to feel part of it.
"It was just fun to have him out there. Guys enjoyed it."
Vinzanity returns pic.twitter.com/Phcp2j3Eyu
— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) October 19, 2017
Vinz, who became part of Sabres lore in 2014, filled in for ill goaltender Robin Lehner. Rather than summon a goalie from Rochester for the workout, Buffalo used the director of hockey technology/programming for the Rinks at HarborCenter.
Vinz's first appearance for the Sabres came Feb. 28, 2014, when the team signed him as an emergency backup. Buffalo had just traded Ryan Miller, and no one was available to play behind Jhonas Enroth.
There will be no replay Friday when the Sabres host Vancouver. If Lehner is still ill, Buffalo will recall a netminder from the Amerks.
Here were the Sabres' lines and defense pairs Thursday:
Evander Kane-Jack Eichel-Jason Pominville
Justin Bailey-Ryan O'Reilly-Kyle Okposo
Benoit Pouliot-Sam Reinhart-Seth Griffith
Matt Moulson-Johan Larsson-Jordan Nolan
Marco Scandella-Rasmus Ristolainen
Nathan Beaulieu-Matt Tennyson
Housley did a few drills with McCabe so the Sabres could keep their top pair intact on one side of the ice. Antipin alternated with Beaulieu and Tennyson on the opposite side.
Story topics: Ryan Vinz