OTTAWA – It was 10 games later than he’d hoped, but Adam Pardy finally made his debut for the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
The defenseman, acquired over the summer as part of the Steve Ott-Derek Roy trade, figured he’d start the season with the Sabres. But with a logjam on the blue line and little knowledge of Pardy’s ability, the Sabres stuck with the eight defensemen they knew, waived Pardy and sent him to Rochester.
He flourished with the Amerks despite mentally struggling with the demotion. The Sabres summoned him to face Ottawa when injuries to Robyn Regehr, Andrej Sekera and Christian Ehrhoff depleted the once-burgeoning ranks.
“It was tough off the start, but it’s funny how things kind of happen,” Pardy said in Scotiabank Place. “You get a couple injuries, then the next thing you know you’re right back here. I’m excited for this opportunity.”
Pardy’s presence allowed the Sabres to put together a sizeable pair. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound Pardy joined 6-8 Tyler Myers.
“As the game went on, I started to feel more comfortable,” said Pardy, who recorded three hits, two shots, two blocked shots and a holding penalty in 18:25.
The organization quickly grew comfortable with Pardy after watching him excel with the Amerks. He had one goal, three points and a plus-3 rating in five games while skating more than 20 minutes per night.
It was a welcomed workload. He totaled just 66 games over the last two seasons with Calgary and Dallas after suffering a shoulder injury with the Flames and getting scratched with the Stars.
“I didn’t get to play a lot of games, then with the lockout missing four months, I didn’t play at all,” Pardy said. “It was nice to play those games down there and just play a lot of minutes and play a lot of situations. It’s really helped to get that mental stability back to be able to come back and play a game.”
It didn’t take long for Ehrhoff to figure out he wasn’t ready to play. The defenseman attempted to join the Sabres for the morning skate, but after a few twirls around the ice he quickly departed to the dressing room.
“He didn’t make it through it, so he won’t be playing,” Ruff said.
Ehrhoff has a muscle strain, according to the coach. The Sabres’ most consistent defenseman played 23:21 Sunday against Florida, including the final shift of the 4-3 loss.
“This is just a muscular thing that just popped up,” Ruff said. “That’s all.”
Sekera, who took a slap shot off his foot in Montreal, made the trip but didn’t skate. He vigorously rode a stationary bike in a hallway while his teammates prepared to take the ice.
“He’s awesome riding a bike but can’t put a skate on yet,” Ruff said.
Patrick Kaleta appears to be improving. Ville Leino is not.
Kaleta, who has been out since being hospitalized with a neck injury Jan. 29, skated on his own Tuesday in Buffalo.
“Patrick had a full skate, went really through a full warm-up, so that’s great for him,” Ruff said. “He’s on the road to recovery.”
Leino, however, still isn’t close to playing his first game of the season. His hip ailment didn’t respond to the Sabres’ last course of treatment, so they’ve attempted another undisclosed wellness plan.
Ruff said they have not yet discussed surgery on the hip but concedes he is fearful of losing Leino for the season.
“I guess the answer would be yes because he hasn’t played yet,” Ruff said. “We’re trying a different type of treatment again for what he has. You hope you can gain some traction from it. The answer is I don’t know.”