Good news finally arrived for the Buffalo Sabres when Rasmus Dahlin stepped on to the LECOM Harborcenter ice for practice Wednesday afternoon.
Dahlin's return lasted only a few minutes. The 19-year-old defenseman left the ice before practice drills began and remains day to day with the upper-body injury that prevented him from playing in the Sabres' 6-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
Though coach Ralph Krueger told the media Dahlin's injury is not thought to be "long term," the former first overall draft pick suffered a setback that makes him "questionable" to be in the lineup Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings in KeyBank Center.
"You can see he remains day to day for sure with this upper-body setback," Krueger said. "We’ll keep monitoring it. He’s questionable for tomorrow against Detroit, but it’s definitely not a long-term injury."
In other injury news, center Johan Larsson (lower body) is on track to play Thursday night, while center Curtis Lazar (illness) missed practice Tuesday.
Krueger declined to reveal how Dahlin suffered the injury, though the latter was on the wrong end of a big hit last Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dahlin had one assist with a plus-1 rating in 17:10 of the 2-1 overtime win, only to miss practice Monday for what Krueger called "maintenance."
Dahlin then skated Tuesday morning, only to be scratched against the Avalanche. He has three goals with 27 assists and a minus-2 rating in 44 games, and his .681 points per game are on pace for the best single-season mark by a Sabres defenseman since Brian Campbell (.683) in 2007-08. Dahlin is also on pace for the first 50-point season by a Sabres defenseman since Garry Galley in 1995-96.
With his assist Jan. 30 against Montreal, Dahlin passed Bobby Orr for the fourth-most points (74) recorded by a teenage NHL defenseman. He trails Phil Housley (132), Ray Bourque (79) and Rick Hampton (76).
Dahlin missed eight games after sustaining a concussion against Tampa Bay on Nov. 25.
Larsson had zero shots on goal in 14:07 on Saturday against Columbus. He has four goals and 12 assists with a plus-5 rating in 46 games this season. With Larsson and Lazar unavailable Tuesday, the Sabres recalled Rasmus Asplund, who had two shots on goal in 9:35 against Colorado.
Linus Ullmark (lower body), Victor Olofsson (lower body) and Kyle Okposo (upper body) were listed as week-to-week on the Sabres' injury report. Wingers Tage Thompson (shoulder) and Vladimir Sobotka (knee) remain out indefinitely.
Remi Elie (upper body), Casey Fitzgerald (upper body) and Kevin Porter (lower body) are day-to-day for Rochester.
Jean-Sebastien Dea was assigned to Rochester in time for the Amerks' game in Cleveland on Wednesday night. In a corresponding move, Scott Wilson was recalled by the Sabres.
Wilson, 27, had nine goals with nine assists in 27 games with the Amerks. He was pointless in two games during his previous stint with the Sabres this season. Dea, meanwhile, played only 10:07 in Buffalo's 6-1 loss to Colorado on Tuesday.
Back to work
The Sabres focused on special teams Wednesday in preparation for their matchup against the Detroit Red Wings in KeyBank Center.
With Dahlin out, Jeff Skinner remained on the top power-play unit, which also featured Rasmus Ristolainen, Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Marcus Johansson. The Sabres' power play went 0-for-2 against Colorado, while they did not have to kill a penalty.
Detroit (12-38-4) has a negative-96 goal differential and has lost nine games in a row. The Sabres are 10-2-2 against the Red Wings since the start of the 2016-17 season. The game will be televised by NBC Sports Network.