Corey Tropp is a long way away from playing in a game but the Buffalo Sabres’ forward moved a step closer toward returning to the lineup Monday when he practiced with the team for the first time since suffering a broken jaw last month. Tropp wore a non-contact red jersey during the hour-long workout at First Niagara Center and spoke to reporters afterward for the first time since getting injured during a fight with Toronto’s Jamie Devane during a Sept. 22 preseason contest at Air Canada Centre. The fight ignited a line brawl. The Sabres felt Devane didn’t need to throw that one final punch as he and Tropp fell to the ice with the latter on the bottom. The brawl started when tough guy John Scott went after Leafs star Phil Kessel. That led to Kessel’s teammate Dave Clarkson leaving the bench to come to his aid and receiving a 10-game suspension. Kessel received a three-game preseason ban for swinging his stick at Scott and the incident culminated with a goalie fight between Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier. Tropp who had his jaw wired shut for 10 days said he holds no ill will toward Devane who at 6-foot-5 is five inches taller than he is. “It was a mutual decision” Tropp said. “That’s part of the game. It happens. Obviously he got the better half of me on that one but it is what it is. He’s a good player and that’s all it is.” Tropp hasn’t been cleared for contact and said he still holds his jaw closed with rubber bands when he’s not skating working out or eating. Tropp who likely would have been on the Sabres’ opening night roster after missing most of last season with a serious knee injury said it’s between him and the team’s medical personnel as to when he might play. Coach Ron Rolston said after practice that Tropp is probably a couple of weeks from playing even though he had been skating with the Sabres’ other injured players the past few weeks. Tropp showed he’s a hard-working gritty player in 34 games with the Sabres in 2011-12 when he had three goals eight points and 20 minutes in penalties. It’s those characteristics he believes that could help a 1-8-1 team find its way in games. “One of the assets I think I can help bring to the table when I’m ready to go is hard work and being able to contribute in all areas of the ice” he said. “Just playing that hard never give-up game. At the end of the day when things aren’t going right it gets back to the basics. You’ve got to work hard.” ... Patrick Kaleta was in New York City on Monday and had his appeal meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Kaleta is trying to have his 10-game suspension for hitting Columbus’ Jack Johnson reduced but has already served half of that sentence. The outcome of the meeting has yet to be announced. Should Bettman uphold the suspension who has been suspended/fined five times by the league for crossing the physical line Kaleta has the option of appealing to a neutral arbitrator. Kaleta who isn’t allowed to play while appealing the ban stands to lose $152439 in salary during the suspension.
Sabres’ Tropp takes strides in returning from broken jaw
Buffalo News | Oct 22