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After getting healthy, Sabres' Antipin has work to do

The Sabres' bye week, which runs Friday through Tuesday, is coming at a good time for Victor Antipin.

The defenseman is finally healthy after an illness that kept him away from the team for 10 days. The break will allow him to eat and recover after he lost a noticeable amount of weight.

"Certainly, him being out that amount of time has taken its toll on his body," Sabres coach Phil Housley said.

The illness cost Antipin six games, including Thursday's visit by the Columbus Blue Jackets. But the rookie from Kazakhstan was a healthy scratch in eight of 12 games before that. It hasn't been the North American debut many expected for Antipin, who has four assists and a minus-3 rating in 24 games.

He has work to do when the Sabres return from their bye. Antipin should get more playing time with fellow defenseman Zach Bogosian sidelined for at least a month with a lower-body injury.

"I want to see him get back to where he was when he was really playing well," Housley said. "That's taking charge back there, getting back to pucks first, using his speed and evasiveness to break down forechecks, making that good first pass, defending hard, being tough to play against, and that would include good stick detail, just being engaged.

"I think he can join the rush. He's a very smart player when he comes up from the back end on getting his shots through."

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