He hasn't played since an impressive 45-save performance against Ottawa last week, but it appears that Buffalo Sabres starting goaltender Ryan Miller is finally back in action.
Miller practiced with the team on Wednesday in his return from a lower body injury. The team exercised caution in bringing Miller back, and rightfully so - after four games and a generally putrid showing on offense, it seems the Sabres netminders will have to win the majority of the team's games for them this season. Jhonas Enroth played well in relief for Miller, and the Sabres will need #30 to pick up right where he left off against an improving Columbus team tonight and a stacked Blackhawks team on Saturday.
The big surprise at practice happened when Ron Rolston indicated that 2013 first round pick Nikita Zadorov may play on Thursday. Zadorov has been out since injuring his hand in the preseason, and practiced with the blue and gold yesterday for the first time since then. "He would be available if we wanted to keep him here. We have to make that decision," Rolston said. The question is who Zadorov would replace, with Jamie McBain being the most likely candidate.
Cody Hodgson received a maintenance day and is expected to play tonight, so don't freak out about Grigorenko playing on the top line. Speaking of the much-maligned young Russian, Rolston said that Grigorenko's compete is improving, though it's still not where it needs to be. "That’s that last hurdle for him and that’s something that he’s got to work on."
Here are the practice lines, courtesy of Sabres.com:
Thomas Vanek – Mikhail Grigorenko – Steve Ott
Marcus Foligno – Tyler Ennis – Drew Stafford
Zemgus Girgensons – Johan Larsson – Brian Flynn
John Scott – Kevin Porter / Cody McCormick – Patrick Kaleta
Mike Weber – Tyler Myers
Christian Ehrhoff – Mark Pysyk
Jamie McBain – Rasmus Ristolainen
Alexander Sulzer – Nikita Zadorov
Jhonas Enroth .
Did Not Practice: Cody Hodgson, Henrik Tallinder, Ville Leino, Joel Armia, Corey Tropp