BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Aaron Dell’s three-game suspension means the Sabres are down yet another goaltender for the near future as the season continues. With Malcolm Subban most likely done for the year, Dustin Tokarski still on the team’s injury report, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Craig Anderson both dealing with injuries of their own, the cupboard is bare for goalies in Buffalo.
One piece of good news, the Sabres could get Anderson back soon. How soon he’ll be back remains to be seen, but the 40-year-old goalie came back to practice last week and has slowly worked his way back to more participation.
“The last seven days so of skating, it’s been kind of similar or better than the day before, so that is positive,” Anderson said.
Now the Sabres prepare to go on a three-game road trip on the west coast. With only one goaltender, Michael Houser, available, it might lead some to wonder if Anderson would be in the lineup soon. Craig answered that Thursday, saying he doesn’t want to rush coming back too soon for fear of making things worse.
“My job here is to get better and get out there and play and I want to play,” Anderson said. “The best thing is the mentality of wanting to get out there and play, but on the other side of it you have to be honest with yourself because if you’re not honest with yourself, A: you’re going to to hurt yourself or B: you’re going to hurt the team and that’s just a selfish play even though you think you’re doing what’s best for the team.”
There’s no timeline on his return either, but he could be back in the game during the team’s upcoming road trip. Head coach Don Granato didn’t give specifics, but said Anderson and Tokarski are dealing with injuries “nobody knows but them.” He said only those two know how they feel.
“[Anderson’s] going to give me that information on how he felt today, and how he feels tomorrow after today, which is a fact as well,” Granato said. “We’ll see where we’re at then. There’s a mystery to all of this.”
So for now, it falls on Michael Houser to fill in until they get Dell and/or Anderson back. Houser’s 2-0 as a starter this season since the team brought him in last week.
“He’s been excellent, I think,” Anderson said. “He’s gone in there and given the team a chance to win. He’s gone in there and made the saves he’s had to and giving the team a chance at the end of the night.”
The Sabres are back on the ice for practice Friday, then head out west for a three-game road trip. It starts Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.