Sabres' Jokiharju returns to practice


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) – Henri Jokiharju was the first from the injury list to return to practice on Friday. The defenseman did everything during the session, but he’s not going to play Sunday against the New York Rangers. Don Granato said, “Henri looked great, it’s just a matter of strength and making sure we give him the time to get back to strength.

“The only concern going forward would be how fast he may fatigue.” Granato said it usually takes a guy two to four practices at most before they get back going.

Jokiharju has been out since the opener against the Montreal Canadiens. In the first period he took a shot on the ankle, but never left the game. As it turned out, he played the last two periods with a broken bone in his ankle. Jokiharju said, “I just kept the boot on with the skate and that helps you play through the game, but if you take that boot off, it swells and you can’t put the skate back on.”

Jokiharju has missed 15 games and he said, “It’s been tough because I was waiting all summer to get back and then that happened, so it was a big setback for me.”

Jokiharju has been on the ice for over a week. He said it’s been easier being with some of the other guys, “It was a long process with the trainers on the ice and I had Vic, Mitzy and Tucky on the ice as well, so it was bad for our team that it was that many guys but it was nice that I didn’t have to be there by myself.”

With five games next week, Jokiharju hopes to return in that stretch.

Robert Hagg didn’t practice, but Granato described it as a maintenance day and he will be back full go Saturday.

Colin Miller didn’t finish Thursday’s game after being run into the boards by Milan Lucic. Replays showed Miller had lost his balance before Lucic got to him to finish him, Granato said, “He felt fine. They put him in the protocol and pulled him from the bench because of where he got hit. He looked like he stumbled before the hit which left himself more exposed.”

As far as the hit itself Granato said, “I don’t like it when our guys…I want our guys to be able to defend themselves and he did trip up, but obviously when your guy gets hit like that you don’t like it and I’ll leave it at that.”

Granato said he’ll have a harder practice on Saturday, but he wanted the team to sit on that loss to the Calgary Flames, “It’s one of those games you want to forget, but you have to remember. I think they’ll feel much better tomorrow, but I didn’t want to change any mood today at all and think about it and soak it in.”

Starting on Sunday the Sabres will play five games in seven nights, three at home and two on the road.

Friday’s lines:

Skinner – Thompson – Asplund

Girgensons – Eakin – Okposo

Bjork – Ruotsalainen – Hayden

Caggiula – Cozens – Hinostroza

Dahlin – Pysyk

Bryson – Jokiharju

Wolanin – Butcher


Photo courtesy of @buffalosabres

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