BUFFALO, N.Y. - After a flurry of roster moves, the Sabres may have given Kyle Criscuolo the opportunity to play his first NHL game this weekend. Criscuolo and Casey Nelson were promoted from the Amerks roster Thursday, while Matt Tennyson and Taylor Fedun were placed on injured reserve. The injury-ravaged Sabres now have four defensemen and six players on IR, but players try to stay optimistic.
"It gives someone else an opportunity to come in and play well. That's what we're going to need," says Jason Pominville. "It's not one one guy that's going to come in and play the hero. It's by committee. Everyone's gotta step in and raise their game."
Nelson has played 18 games for the Sabres over the past two years, while Criscuolo has never played above the AHL. The 25-year-old hopes he can adjust quickly.
"I try to use my speed and get in on the forecheck," says Criscuolo. "Create some havoc and cause turnovers. I try to keep it simple and get to the net as much as I can. I use my speed and play 200 feet -- it's sort of the way I want to play."
"I watch his compete level and what he's brought to Rochester," says head coach Phil Housley. "He brings a lot of energy and he uses his speed well. He's an effective player so that's why he's up here."
After graduating from Harvard, Criscuolo signed with the Red Wings as an undrafted free agent. He helped the Grand Rapids Griffins win the Calder Cup in his first full professional season, but he left the Detroit organization this summer to sign a two-year, two-way deal with the Sabres.
"They understood how I play and how I want to play," he says. "They did a good job of knowing what kind of player and person I am, and what I want to bring to the team. I think what they said to me was pretty convincing. They want to put me in spots where they think I can be effective."
Criscuolo skated with the Sabres fourth line Thursday; coach Housley says he'll be a game-time decision to play Friday.