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McKee expecting a painful adjustment

Jay McKee returned to the lineup Monday against the New York Rangers and today has the pleasure of having his disjointed nose straightened into position. The Buffalo Sabres defenseman was bracing for an excruciating experience.

"My nose is pretty straight, but it was broken in a zig-zag," said McKee, who wore a visor against the Rangers. "The whole thing should be pushed over. I'll be having them shove a couple tools up both nostrils and cracking the whole thing back into place."

McKee broke his nose Friday night in HSBC Arena when he was struck in the face with a puck in front of the Buffalo net. He suffered such severe swelling under his right eye that it affected his vision, which kept him out of the lineup Saturday in Boston.

His eye was various shades of purple and tinted with yellow Monday. His teammates already had warned him that getting his nose back in line might be more painful than the initial blow. McKee wasn't looking forward to finding out.

"The worst part is going to be [today]," he said. "Guys on the team have been through it. I've never been through it. I don't know if they're messing with me. I don't think they're messing with me. It's a couple long, metal tools that go up your nostrils quite high and move it back into place."

The other option was looking like former Sabres winger Mike Foligno, who might have the most famous nose in team history. Foligno's nose looks more like a dangerous passageway than it does a breathing tool.

"I have no problem," McKee said. "We have great doctors. I have no problem sitting in for a few minutes while they do whatever they need to do. Guys go through it. It's part of the game. I would certainly like a straight nose."

***

Tim Connolly probably would have played Monday night had it been a playoff game, but the Sabres saw no sense in rushing him back and putting him at risk for the postseason.

Connolly missed 12 games with a sprained knee, came back for four and has missed seven straight. He has participated in full workouts and has been getting frustrated with not playing. The Sabres fear a tweak now could lead to bigger problems later.

Jochen Hecht did not make the trip.

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Ruff threatened to bench certain players based on performance and commitment to defense and apparently lost his patience with Dmitri Kalinin. The defenseman was benched Monday after struggling in a 5-4 loss to Boston.

The Rangers were without defenseman Darius Kasparaitis and left winger Martin Rucinsky. Kasparaitis, whose hit on Connolly started the knee problems, has been suffering from groin problems. Rucinsky is out four to six weeks with a broken finger.

e-mail: bgleason@buffnews.com

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