Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller won’t play in tonight’s game against the Lightning

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The Buffalo Sabres have been forced to play some of the most important games of their 2010-11 season with Jhonas Enroth instead of Ryan Miller. It looks like they will need to do so for at least one more game (tonight’s contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning), according to NHL.com.

Enroth produced impressive enough work in his three appearances last week to manage a 2-0-1 record, which also earned him the third star of the week award from the league. That nice run of games included what could be Buffalo’s biggest win of the season, as the ninth-place Sabres dispatched the 10th-ranked Carolina Hurricanes in overtime with Enroth in net.

The Sabres aren’t out of the woods yet, so it’s too early for Enroth & Co. to breathe a sigh of relief. As well as Enroth played in a small sample of games this season, the team ultimately will go as far as Miller can take them, so it’s good news that he’s at least back to light workouts (according to NHL.com).

Miller spoke about his productive 30-minute workout, which didn’t include an actual practice with the team.

Miller, however, did skate on his own in full equipment for about 30 minutes and remained hopeful about his chances to play later this week.

Miller’s workout Monday consisted of drills to work on his positioning and lateral movements. Sidelined since last Tuesday with an upper-body injury the Sabres have provided no additional detail on whether the reigning Vezina Trophy winner planned on testing himself further during Tuesday’s morning skate.

“It’s just good to get back, feel the ice a little bit and graduate from there and see what they say after pratice tomorrow,” Miller said. “We’re at that time of year where we don’t want to deal in specifics [on injuries], but it’s something that didn’t allow me to give the team the best chance to win and it’s something I had to make sure I was good health-wise. And now we’re in a position where we are day-to-day and today was a good step forward. I really believe that it shouldn’t be something that’s going to linger too long and it’s something I can get back and play shortly.”

We’ll let you know how the all-world goalie progresses going forward, especially if he can return before the end of the regular season.

Animal activists protest Ducks’ Stoner over grizzly bear hunt

Keith Fialcowitz

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center on Monday night to call for the suspension of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada of illegally obtaining a license to shoot a grizzly bear.

While Ducks fans entered the rink for their home opener against Vancouver, about 20 protesters held signs and shouted slogans condemning Stoner. He faces five charges related to the 2013 hunt on British Columbia’s central coast.

“Killing is not a sport! Play a real sport!” the protesters shouted in unison. “Shame on the Ducks!”

Judie Mancuso, the president of Social Compassion in Legislation, compared Stoner to quarterback Michael Vick and Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, whose killing of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe sparked an international outcry.

“The entire globe is against trophy hunting right now,” Mancuso said. “If most of these hockey fans understood that was the issue, I think most of them would be on our side.”

Wildlife groups and First Nations leaders have been outraged by Stoner’s killing of the bear, named Cheeky. Stoner defended his actions at the time when graphic photos of the kill were publicized, but he hasn’t commented recently.

The protesters were serenaded by chants of Stoner’s name by many fans, while others stopped to look at the signs. Mancuso said her group hopes to raise awareness of Stoner’s legal troubles.

“If people didn’t have outrage with the NFL, Michael Vick would have gotten away with it,” Mancuso said. “The only way that anything is going to happen is if we do this. If there’s not public outcry, nothing is going to happen, so we’ve got to try.”

Stoner grew up on Vancouver Island, but hasn’t lived in the province full-time for several years, which authorities say made him ineligible for the hunting license used to take the bear. He played for the Minnesota Wild at the time of the shooting.

Stoner faces two counts of knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license and one count apiece of hunting without a license, hunting out of season and unlawful possession of dead wildlife. His case is set for Nov. 13 in Vancouver.

The 30-year-old Stoner was in the Ducks’ lineup for their home opener, and he fought Brandon Prust in the opening minutes. Stoner is beginning his sixth full NHL season and his second with Anaheim after signing a four-year, $13 million deal as a free agent before last season.

Related: Ducks d-man Stoner charged with unlawful grizzly bear hunt

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings face Lightning in ’15 playoff rematch

Steven Stamkos, Henrik Zetterberg
AP Photo

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game online here.

The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but their journey almost ended in the first round at the hands of the Red Wings. Detroit shutout Tampa Bay twice in that series and the two squads were locked in a scoreless tie until the third period of Game 7.

Despite the fact that the Red Wings were a mere hair away from advancing instead of Tampa Bay, the Lightning are often mentioned as serious Cup contenders while Detroit is typically regarded as a good, but not amazing team. However, that gap isn’t entirely unjustified.

After all, Tampa Bay has a very effective core of forwards that features Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. If the highly regarded Jonathan Drouin, 20, is able to build off of his strong start to the 2015-16 campaign then the Lightning’s offense could be even more dangerous this season.

Detroit certainly has some offensive star power too in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but the duo is 35 and 37 years old respectively. On top of that, injuries have been a recurring issue for Datsyuk, who isn’t expected to make his season debut until November after undergoing ankle surgery.

As good as those two forwards still are, the Red Wings have to hope that their younger players will be able to lead the charge sooner rather than later. The good news is that 19-year-old Dylan Larkin‘s campaign is off to a strong start with three points in two games while 23-year-old Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice on Saturday.

The Red Wings have opened the season with back-to-back wins against Toronto and Carolina, but tonight’s game represents their biggest test to date. Meanwhile, the Lightning are similarly undefeated after three games, but this contest will be particularly trying for them given that it’s their third game in four days.