Adam Pardy is finally getting a fair chance in Buffalo. He’s making the most of it.
Pardy has been a key contributor during the Sabres’ last two games, victories over Pittsburgh and Ottawa. He’s totaled three assists, including a pair of helpers against the Senators for his first multipoint game since October 2009.
The defenseman knew he could help the Sabres win. He just had to wait awhile.
The lockout short-circuited the start of his debut season in Buffalo. The team had a surplus of defensemen, and with a shortened training camp he never got a chance to prove he belonged. The Sabres sent him to Rochester, where he’s spent most of the year.
He’ll play his third game in a row and eighth overall for Buffalo tonight when New Jersey visits First Niagara Center.
“There’s no doubt I can play in this league,” Pardy said Saturday. “It’s just a matter of getting the opportunity. These next 10 games are the opportunity. It’s time to take advantage of it.”
Pardy seems to have a permanent place on the blue line for the remainder of the season. The Sabres are carrying six blue-liners, meaning no one will be scratched. Plus, the top prospect for the Amerks, Brayden McNabb, is done for the year because of injury.
“This year being up and down, not knowing where it’s going to go, living out of a hotel and my car, it’s been a rough couple of months,” Pardy said. “But it’s nice to get back here and be part of this push winning a couple games here.
“This is the group we’ve got. It’s nice to be a part of it right now down the stretch.”
Pardy, who came from Dallas as part of the Derek Roy-Steve Ott trade, will be an unrestricted free agent following the season. He’s not only trying to help the Sabres win, he’s trying to ensure future employment.
He’s off to a solid start with the last two games.
“I always feel confident in myself, but after a couple of rough years where you’re getting sent down and you’re in and out of the lineup, you start to question yourself,” Pardy said. “All these thoughts start to creep into your head. It’s tough sometimes, but you’ve got to try and stay positive and just try and work through it. If you go the other way, you’re probably going to be out of the league. I’m not ready to leave yet.”
Ron Rolston can’t wait for players to get moving. Marcus Foligno learned that Friday.
Rolston sat the winger for most of the third period against Ottawa. During practice Saturday, the coach took Foligno off the second power-play unit and replaced him with Brian Flynn.
“He just wasn’t moving his feet as much as he should be,” Rolston said. “Right now we have 12 forwards and six defensemen that are healthy, so we can’t afford guys that aren’t playing the way we have to play.
“He’ll bounce back and he’ll have a good game, but everyone has to be playing their best hockey right now.”
Leading scorer Thomas Vanek is expected to miss his sixth straight game with an upper-body injury.
“He is getting better, yeah, but I don’t think he’ll be ready,” Rolston said. “We’re hoping the best-case scenario would be Tuesday.”
The Sabres visit Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Ville Leino, meanwhile, may be done for the season.
“He’s probably out indefinitely right now with upper body,” said Rolston, who added the injury does not require surgery. “I don’t know where that’s going to end up, but we’ll see how it goes.”