There were quite a few new faces at Sabres’ practice, but one player really stood out.
The forward, who has been out since suffering a concussion Dec. 30, practiced with his teammates Thursday for the first time since the injury. While he won’t play in Buffalo’s final two games, just being on the ice was an accomplishment.
“Today was a great day,” Ennis said in First Niagara Center. “It was fun to be with the team. It’s so fun to be out there, joke around with the boys. I’m in a good mood.”
His enthusiasm shined through because there have been plenty of dark days since he was hit by Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin.
“It’s a really difficult thing,” Ennis said. “I went through a lot of different emotions, a lot of ups and downs, so yeah, there’s really bad days. There’s days where you feel great and there’s days where it’s tough. To say I wasn’t scared at some point would be probably a lie, but I feel so good right now. I feel great. I feel 100 percent.
“I wish we could play 82 more games.”
There are, however, only two. Buffalo will host Columbus on Friday and visit the New York Islanders on Saturday. The home game against the Blue Jackets will feature the NHL debuts of Cole Schneider and Evan Rodrigues. Goaltender Jason Kasdorf may also play his first game this weekend.
Schneider, a 25-year-old from Williamsville, has 12 points in 15 games with Rochester since being acquired via trade from Ottawa. He practiced on a line with center Ryan O’Reilly and left wing Zemgus Girgensons.
“I was pretty excited when I got traded, and to get the call yesterday felt really good,” Schneider said. “I was just trying to play down there, and luckily it happened for me.”