The Buffalo Sabres 3-1 loss in Washington was more costly than the average midseason loss to a conference foe. After the game, Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff cryptically said that talented defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will “miss some time… probably weeks.” Ruff did not give any details on the type of injury Ehrhoff sustained, nor did he elaborate on the play that caused the injury. All we know is that it’s an “upper body” injury and he’ll be out awhile.
Even though the Sabres haven’t confirmed, there’s been speculation that the injury occurred in the middle of a scrap with Troy Brouwer at the end of the first period. He seemed to have no problem skating to the bench after the short-lived fisticuffs and headed to the locker room for the intermission. Unfortunately for the Sabres, the 7:23 of first period ice time would be all action Ehrhoff would see against the Caps when he was unable to return to the ice for the rest of the game.
Ehrhoff and the Sabres made plenty of news this offseason when the organization signed him to a heavily front-loaded contract worth $40 million over the next 10 years (including $10 million this season). Through 37 games, he’s scored three goals while posting an ugly minus 11 plus/minus rating.
The German blueliner is only the latest in a long line of Sabres to be bitten by the injury bug lately. Fellow defenseman Tyler Myers has been out for over a month with a wrist injury and still has no timetable for a return. Up front, the Sabres have watched the likes of Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis, and Ville Leino all drop like flies as the team freefalls down the Eastern Conference standings. They’ve only won six of their last 20 games and haven’t won consecutive games since November 11.
This probably isn’t what Terry Pegula had in mind when he opened the vault this offseason.