Jan 6, 2012, 5:16 PM EST
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers will suit up tonight for the first time since breaking his wrist on Nov. 19. The injury cost Myers 19 games — the longest layoff of his young career — so you’d think the plan would be to ease him back into the lineup.
But if you did think that…well, you’re not Lindy Ruff.
The Sabres head coach plans to ride Myers hard tonight (there’s gotta be a better way to say that) and hopes he’ll be the minutes leader among all Buffalo defensemen.
“We’re hoping he can lead our [defense] in ice time tonight,” Ruff told NHL.com. “We’re not going to hold back. The goal is to get him right back in the groove and play him plus-20 minutes.”
To be fair, Myers’ wrist injury allowed him to skate during the layoff, so conditioning shouldn’t be an issue. Myers was also second on the team in minutes per game (21:39) prior to the injury, so the idea of him picking up where he left off isn’t crazy. Ambitious, maybe. But not crazy.
To his credit, Myers is keen to jump into the lineup against Carolina, resume playing big minutes and help turn Buffalo’s season around.
“I’m very excited this game came,” Myers told the Buffalo News. “It’s always frustrating when you’re not doing as well as you want to, but I’m not going to stand here and say they need me to win. I’m very happy to be back and help the team as much as I can, but they were doing just fine, but we know we have to be better.”
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