BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Sabres forward Ales Kotalik is expected to miss Buffalo's season opener against the New York Islanders on Friday because of a knee injury.
Coach Lindy Ruff said Monday that Kotalik is experiencing pain in his knee and has not been cleared to skate.
``It doesn't look good for playing in the opener or this opening weekend, but I wouldn't project past that of him missing any more games,'' Ruff said.
After hosting the Islanders on Friday, the two teams play again on Long Island the following day. The Sabres are then off until hosting Atlanta on Oct. 11.
A two-time 20-goal scorer, Kotalik was hurt during practice Thursday and missed the Sabres' final two preseason games. He had a goal and assist in three preseason games last month and is coming off an average season in which he finished 10th on the team with 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 66 games.
The Sabres are generally healthy entering the season, though defenseman Teppo Numminen is out indefinitely after having heart surgery last month.
Buffalo demoted three players Monday - including their 2005 first-round draft pick, forward Marek Zagrapan - to its AHL affiliate in Rochester. Zagrapan had a goal and an assist in six preseason games.
Also demoted were forward Mark Mancari and defenseman Michael Funk.
The moves leave the team with the NHL maximum 23-player roster.

Top NHL Public Bets

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Hosts still pushing for playoff spot   Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews snapped a seven-game goalless drought when he potted his 32nd marker of the season Saturday. Can Ontario’s darling carry that...
Thumbnail Laine, visitors aim to extend Minny's skid   A season that started so promisingly for the Wild is spinning out of control down the stretch. Can Bruce Boudreau’s troops find a way to right themselves...
Thumbnail Defending champs overcoming health issues Washington’s recent slide has provided a glimmer of hope for Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division race. But can the Pens avoid a letdown tonight against...
Thumbnail Western Conference heavyweights hit Canada With mere weeks left in the regular season, Ottawa’s staking a serious claim for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. But will Guy Boucher’s club manage to...
Thumbnail Gaudreau, friends to keep hot streak alive The Flames haven’t lost in regulation for a full month. Still, the ultra-competitive nature of the Western Conference makes Glen Gulutzan’s club anything but...

NHL Team Pages