Apr 21, 2011, 8:46 PM EDT
When Derek Roy went down with a significant leg injury on December 23, it seemed like it was time to wave goodbye to the Buffalo Sabres’ slim playoff hopes. The Sabres were a paltry 14-17-4 at the moment in time, so it’s an understatement to say that things seemed bleak without their top center.
Yet the Sabres found a way to do just that, thanks in large part to increased productivity from other forwards, including winger Drew Stafford. (Stafford scored 22 of his 31 goals this season after Roy went down with that injury.) Buffalo managed an impressive 29-12-6 march to the playoffs without Roy in the lineup.
Even if Buffalo managed to scratch and claw their way back to the playoffs, the team would probably like to have one of its most dangerous forwards back. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to make it back for the team’s first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, but the Buffalo News reports that he’s increasing the intensity of his recovery process.
Roy hasn’t taken part in full-contact drills yet, although one interesting tidbit indicates that might change soon.
“”We’re just working on the power, just trying to get power back in the leg, and trying to get my first quick steps in,”” Roy said. “”I think that’s the hardest part, coming out of turns and fighting off opponents and whatnot so I’m going to have to work on that.””
“No hitting yet,” Roy said. “Doc’s orders. Until four months.””
When will it be four months since Roy underwent knee surgery?
While they lack a full-fledged superstar (with all apologies to the likes of sniper Thomas Vanek), the Sabres can be a dangerous team because they sport a varied attack. Roy would just make them that much deeper, if he can play at a reasonably high level.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if Roy and Chris Pronger end up making an impact on the later stages of this highly contested series?
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