Buffalo forward Corey Tropp returned to practice on Monday, his first since suffering a broken jaw in a preseason fight with Toronto tough guy Jamie Devane.
While frustrated by the injury, Tropp holds no ill will towards the guy that hurt him.
“I don’t believe it was his intention, Tropp told Buffalo Hockey Beat. “He seems like a pretty honest fighter watching some of his fights. That definitely wasn’t his intention by any means.”
Tropp suffered the injury at the end of the fight, when he and Devane fell to the ice and Tropp hit his face on the playing surface:
While the fight set off a wild melee that resulted in over 200 penalty minutes and two suspensions, Tropp insisted it was a “mutual decision” to scrap and that Devane (refuting Buffalo’s claims that Devane started the fight) and didn’t intentionally slam him to the ice.
“No matter who you are or what type of incident it is, there’s no intent to try to do something like that,” Tropp said. “It doesn’t matter if you absolutely hate the person.
“It’s an accident. I think you’ve seen it a lot lately where guys, when they fall, you can’t really control how they’re going to fall or what’s going to happen.”
Tropp wouldn’t speculate on when he’d be available to return to the Sabres’ lineup, though original estimates pegged his return at 5-6 weeks.
The 24-year-old looked as though he was in line to make the Sabres out of training camp this year. He had a good 2011-12 season, making his NHL debut while scoring eight points in 34 games, but then suffered a season-ending knee injury during AHL Rochester’s season-opening game in October.
Tampa Bay defenseman Radko Gudas hammered him into the boards late in the third period, at which point Tropp tried to put weight on his leg, but was unable to skate.
Tropp suffered ACL and MCL damage on the play, and underwent surgery shortly thereafter.