Sabres banged up as they prepare to host Rangers

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres center Michael Ryan will miss a few
weeks because of a groin injury, and coach Lindy Ruff is concerned
about several others -- including Thomas Vanek -- who missed practice

Without specifically identifying the players' injuries, Ruff said he's concerned whether Vanek and fellow forwards Derek Roy, Jochen Hecht and Paul Gaustad can play Saturday when Buffalo hosts the New York Rangers.

"When they miss [practice] or are going for X-rays, you're concerned with any of them," Ruff said, referring to the four who missed Friday's half-hour session. "You can assume that the guys that weren't here were either sick or nursing some type of ailments, because it wasn't optional."

Ruff wouldn't say who might be having X-rays and added he'd have an update Saturday morning after the team's pregame skate. The Sabres, coming off a 5-1 win at Toronto on Thursday, are 10-2-2 in their past 14 and have climbed into a three-way tie for sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. The Rangers are part of that group tied for sixth.

Ryan, a second-year forward, was hurt in the first period against Toronto.

Roy, second on the team with 23 goals, missed a practice earlier this week because of the flu. Vanek has been on a roll, with 13 goals, including four game-winners, and three assists in his past 12 games.

Against Toronto, Gaustad had an assist on Ales Kotalik's empty-net goal in the final minute.

Center Tim Connolly, who has bone spurs in his hip, is expected to return against the Rangers after being held out against Toronto. He will require offseason surgery to remove the bone spurs.

Forward Maxim Afinogenov, who's missed 23 games with a groin injury, has resumed skating lightly but has not been cleared for contact.