The actual schedule for the shortened NHL season is yet to be released, but the Buffalo Sabres will tentatively have their first home game on January 20th. Training camps across the League are expected to open this weekend short of any surprises when the collective bargaining agreement is being ratified.
A couple of Sabres are not going to be ready for the beginning of the season. President Ted Black announced that Nathan Gerbe has had a surgical procedure for a back injury and will miss some time. While not a core player on the Sabres, Gerbe has shown some value to the team with his tenacious style and his fearlessness with chasing the puck in dirty areas.
Also missing at the start of the year will be Cody McCormick who injured his finger at the end of the last season. The finger hasn't healed correctly and he possibly could be out while this is corrected. This could mean both players begin the season on IR, and this could open up the door for a player or two to shine.
2012 NHL Entry Draft first round pick for the Sabres Mikhail Grigorenko is allowed to play up to nine games in Buffalo before they have to make a decision to keep him up or send him back to the Quebec Remparts. Depending on how he does in training camp, the two injuries are the perfect opportunity for him to show if he can play at the highest level.
Captain Jason Pominville has been talking up ex-Sabre Jochen Hecht, who he has been playing alongside in Mannheim, Germany. Regarding Hecht, Sabres GM Darcy Regier commented that he remains a possibility, and that Regier will be talking to his agent.
Meanwhile, Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno have been pulled out of the Rochester American's squad and are in Buffalo, but the management team are yet to make a decision on what to do with TJ Brennan, who will need to clear waivers to be sent back to the Amerks.