Rick Nash returns to Rangers; Sabres shuffle roster
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rick Nash is back in the New York Rangers lineup after the star forward missed 17 games because of a concussion.
Nash passed his final test Tuesday when he skated with his teammates before the game that night against the Boston Bruins. Nash has being skating - mostly on his own - the past two weeks after his symptoms subsided.
He was cleared to return Sunday and told coach Alain Vigneault the next day he was ready to go. Nash hasn't played in a game since he was injured on a hit from San Jose's Brad Stuart on Oct. 8 in New York's third game of the season.
"I'm going to go tonight," Nash said after the morning skate at Madison Square Garden. "Last night, I just thought it would be the best thing, moving forward, talking to everybody. I'm excited, it's kind of controlled emotion. It's been a long six weeks so I'm excited to get in there.
"I think the first everything is going to take awhile, whether it's a hit, a shot or a pass, making different plays. It's a long time off, so it's going to take some time."
Vigneault plans to use Nash as he normally would before the injury - his second concussion in eight months - but he will talk to him throughout the game to see how he's feeling.
"He is going to play a regular shift and he is going to play some power play," Vigneault said. "I would like to be able to keep him in that 15-minute range. He hasn't played for quite some time. It's almost for him like going through training camp again."
Nash skated for several consecutive days and then practiced with the team last week, first in a noncontact capacity. He underwent tests Thursday.
Nash logged just under six minutes of ice time the night he was hurt in the first period. It was the only game of the three he played this season in which he failed to record a point.
He received just more than 15 minutes of ice time in the season opener and just under 18 minutes in the second game - one day before he was injured.
"I think we'll just guide it as we go along," Nash said. "I'm sure (Vigneault) has had a lot of time with players coming back from injuries, so I leave that up to him."
J.T. Miller will be a healthy scratch from Tuesday night's lineup. The Rangers had already sent down forward Brandon Mashinter to Hartford of the AHL on Monday.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Sabres have put their youth movement on hold a week after Pat LaFontaine took over.
LaFontaine, the team's new president of hockey operations, announced a significant roster shuffle on Tuesday, when the Sabres demoted four rookies before their home game against St. Louis.
Veteran defenseman Mike Weber also was activated from injured reserve after missing 10 games with a thumb injury and is expected to play against the Blues.
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov was returned to his Canadian Junior team, the Ontario Hockey League London Knights. The move was made before Zadorov played his 10th NHL game, which is when his three-year contract would come into effect. Drafted 16th overall in June, Zadorov had a goal in seven games in Buffalo.
Fellow 2013 first-round pick, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, and forward Johan Larsson were assigned to the Sabres' AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.
Center Mikhail Grigorenko is also heading to Rochester but on a conditioning assignment. That move gives the Sabres two weeks to determine whether to recall Grigorenko or send him to his junior team in Quebec.
Grigorenko has struggled finding a niche in Buffalo since being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft. After making the Sabres roster to start last season, Grigorenko was returned to Quebec in March.
He made the Sabres once again this season, but has lacked playing time. Grigorenko has missed five of the past seven games and has two goals and an assist in 15 games this season.
The demotions mark a significant shift in philosophy under LaFontaine and interim coach Ted Nolan. The two took over after general manager Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston were fired last week after the Sabres got off to a franchise-worst 4-15-1 start.
Regier made it clear that he was intent on rebuilding the Sabres through younger players, no matter the team's record.
On Tuesday, Nolan said the Sabres intend to fill the open roster spots later this week by recalling players from Rochester. One potential candidate is veteran forward Patrick Kaleta, who was assigned to Rochester after being waived by the Sabres two weeks ago.
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