ANAHEIM, Calif. – Conor Sheary accompanied the Buffalo Sabres on their three-game West Coast road trip and practiced with the team Tuesday in Honda Center.
However, Sheary remains "day to day" with an upper-body injury and his availability for any of the three games has yet to be determined, coach Ralph Krueger told the media following practice. Sheary, a 27-year-old winger, has missed each of the past three games and was replaced by Evan Rodrigues in the Sabres' lineup.
Sheary scored two goals in the Sabres' season-opening win in Pittsburgh and had three points in three games while playing on a line with Casey Mittelstadt and Jimmy Vesey.
"Conor’s feeling better," Krueger said of Sheary. "We’ll assess him this afternoon. He’s still day to day, but looking good and back in the group."
Sheary, who had not practiced with the Sabres since their overtime loss to Columbus on Oct. 7, participated in most drills Tuesday but was not involved in line rushes. Krueger opted to not make any changes to his group of forwards, though Curtis Lazar joined the rotation.
Lazar, a 24-year-old forward, was recalled from Rochester on Sunday and served as a healthy scratch for a 4-0 win over the Dallas Stars inside KeyBank Center on Monday. Lazar, who cleared waivers at the conclusion of training camp, had one assist in three games with the Rochester Americans. It's unclear how the Sabres will handle their roster once Sheary returns.
They currently have 14 forwards, including Sheary, with seven defensemen and two goalies. Defenseman Brandon Montour has yet to play during the regular season because of a hand injury and did not join the Sabres on the road trip.
General Manager Jason Botterill could opt to keep the roster as is until the Sabres are forced to clear space for Montour, who is on injured reserve. Their extra defenseman, John Gilmour, has yet to appear in a regular-season game and is expected to sit Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks.
Krueger has benefited from not having to make many changes to his lines and pairings, though he told the media that he is constantly evaluating his lineup.
"We’ve changed minimally so far in the lineup, but again, it’s looking at every day individually," Krueger said. "Who are the players we think are going to give us the best chance to perform has been the motto since the beginning of the season and working with that group. It’s more the group principles and the execution of those that we care about. It’s about looking for that constant improvement every day that we care about and again, that we’ve been able to keep a core group has been very helpful in the process."
Sabres assistant coach Don Granato, who has been away from the team while recovering from severe pneumonia, is "doing much better," Krueger said Tuesday.
Additionally, Krueger told the media that Granato has provided the coaching staff with feedback after watching Sabres games on television. The progress report from Krueger is notable considering Granato's brother, Tony, told the Wisconsin State Journal last week that Don would be hospitalized "for a while."
Rochester coach Chris Taylor has served on the staff in an interim capacity since Granato took an official leave of absence Oct. 1.
Pilut making progress
Defenseman Lawrence Pilut, who has yet to play this season while recovering from shoulder surgery, was a full participant in the Rochester Americans' practice Tuesday. Pilut had been wearing a red non-contact jersey since joining the Amerks following Sabres training camp and told The Buffalo News last week that he was close to returning.
Additionally, the Amerks practiced without goalie Andrew Hammond, and they recalled Michael Houser from Cincinnati on Monday. Jonas Johansson likely will serve as Rochester's starter if Hammond misses time.
The Anaheim Ducks won't hold a morning skate Wednesday, so their lineup will be a mystery until pregame warmups. Former Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle, who was acquired in the Montour trade last February, has been out with a lower-body injury.
The Ducks are 4-2-0 under new coach Dallas Eakins, who replaced Krueger as the Edmonton Oilers' coach in 2013-14.