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Scandella sits out practice again as Sabres take cautious approach

Newly acquired defenseman Marco Scandella sat out practice for the second time during training camp on Wednesday but the message from new coach Phil Housley was clear: There's no concern about the Buffalo Sabres' prime offseason acquisition, who scrimmaged fully on Tuesday.

"Just another maintenance day. He had a really good day yesterday and we're just being cautious like I said before," Housley said in HarborCenter. "I really like the progression he's making. Instead of trying to push the envelope, he has a tough practice, a high-paced practice yesterday. It felt good but let's just take it slow."

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Housley said Scandella, on the road back from offseason hip surgery, will likely be at practice on Thursday but probably won't play in either exhibition game this weekend against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has not played in either of the Sabres' first two games and it's clear the team is simply targeting Scandella to be available for the season opener, Oct. 5 against Montreal.

"Each day is a new evaluation to see where he's at," Housley said. "Hopefully next week he'll get back in. No promises but we don't want to put any pressure on anybody. We just want to make sure he's ready for Oct. 5."

Scandella's daily status could impact the Sabres' decisions on their crowded blueline, perhaps pushing them toward keeping eight defensemen to start the regular season.

"There's going to be a lot of tough decisions," Housley said. "There's a lot of good 'D,' some guys who have really risen up. It's going to be tough but I like to have that difficult decision because we're going to need to have depth on defense. There's a lot of guys who are really looking good and hopefully they can continue to do that."

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