After a shootout loss in Toronto followed by a late-night bus ride home, the Sabres had a 30-minute skate Thursday afternoon in First Niagara Center just to stay loose. They'll go full-scale at practice Friday in preparation for Saturday's visit by the New York Rangers, now the NHL's top team in the overall standing.
Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson and Brian Gionta all sat out Thursday's practice, with coach Ted Nolan saying it was simply a case of giving them a break from heavy workloads and not related to any injuries.
Nolan had no official update on goaltender Chad Johnson, although the Sabres do not expect to see him this season. The coach said he has not given up hope of seeing Zemgus Girgensons return to the lineup, and said the most likely injured player who could return is Patrick Kaleta. The Angola native has been skating on his own for a few days.
One guy who continues to ride a heavy workload is new defenseman Zach Bogosian, who played 30:53 in Wednesday's loss. That's the second time he's eclipsed 30 minutes since arriving from Winnipeg.
"I guess I figured it was going to be a bigger role but the more minutes you get as a player you love that," Bogosian. "I like where it's going. I like those minutes, playing the big minutes. You train hard for those."
"He's a big man who's like a big workhorse," Nolan said. "One thing about workhorses is you don't take it easy with those guys, you just work him. That's what he is. He's a working-class defenseman that can log a lot of minutes and thankfully we got him."
Be sure to read more about Bogosian's first dozen games as a Sabre in Friday's editions of The News.