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Another concussion sidelines Hecht

The Sabres' never-ending quest to get healthy remains just that. Buffalo suffered another unexpected absence Tuesday, losing center Jochen Hecht to a concussion. He took part in the morning skate prior to the 2-1 shootout win over New Jersey, but he quickly began to feel terrible.

Hecht visited with doctors, who diagnosed him with his second concussion of the season and third in less than a year.

"He's not good," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said after the game. "He's got concussion symptoms. Wasn't feeling bad [Monday]. He took a hit from [T.J.] Oshie in St. Louis, kind of an elbow -- and came off [Tuesday] and he was a mess. He couldn't focus. Emotionally, he was really unstable. He's in a tough place right now. We're worried. To come off and be the way he was tells you that there's something wrong."

Hecht missed the opening 20 games after getting concussed during the first practice of training camp. He missed most of the final two months last season after suffering a concussion and a setback when he tried to return too early.

The 34-year-old, in the final year of his contract, has four goals and eight points in 22 games.

Hecht's absence left the Sabres with 11 forwards. Ruff dressed seven defensemen and used blue-liner Marc-Andre Gragnani as the left winger on a line with center Luke Adam and right wing Cody McCormick.

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Robyn Regehr played for a few bad teams in Calgary. He's on one right now in Buffalo.

What he learned during the previous down seasons was teams can't take shortcuts if they want to turn around their fortunes.

"You have to go out there and play the way that we're supposed to, stick to that system, to the game plan, the system that the coaches always talk about," Regehr said in Prudential Center. "You've just got to do it and do it well and do it hard. Over time, things will go your way. It's hard because when things aren't going well, you have to work extra hard to get it done and turn it in your favor."

Regehr returned to the Sabres' lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury. He wasn't scheduled to come back until next week, allowing him to recuperate during the All-Star break, but he said the injury really improved the last couple of days.

"What I like is being around the guys and trying to be part of the solution," he said. "The big thing with the team is you have to have the right mentality, and that's go out there and believe in what you're doing and going out there and executing. We need to do a better job of that here. Hopefully, we can get on track with that."

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Ruff said defenseman Brayden McNabb, who has been sidelined since suffering a concussion Jan. 13, has begun skating. McNabb was selected to play in Monday's American Hockey League All-Star Game, but the league announced Tuesday that Rochester forward Zack Kassian will take McNabb's place.

Kassian, who has three goals and six points in 18 games with Buffalo, has 10 goals and 21 points in 25 games with the Amerks.

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Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who played eight seasons with the Sabres, missed his third straight game of what could be a two-month absence. He has been diagnosed with acute thrombophlebitis in the lower left leg, which essentially means he has a blood clot.

"I don't think anyone expected it would be as serious as it turned out to be," New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer said.

Tallinder will be out six to eight weeks. He has no goals, six assists and a minus-11 rating in 39 games during his second season with the Devils.

email: jvogl@buffnews.com