Sabres Give Finley Big Opportunity

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Joe Finley is hard to miss. The Sabres defensive prospect stands 6-foot-8 and weighs in at 260 pounds.

The big defensemanearned a tryout with the Sabres this summer and played well enough to earn an AHL contract with Rochester.

On Monday, the Sabres signed Finley to a multi-year NHL contract.

Just three days later we was called-up to Buffalo to fill in for the injured Jordan Leopold.

"Obviously excited, been waiting for the moment for a long time," Finley told reporters after his firstskate with the Sabres on Thursday.

"You know it's deserved, he's played very well. You can imagine, you got another man that's 6-foot-8, that can skate almost as well as Tyler Myers," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "If he can continue to progress and stay hungry, you don't find those type of players."

The 24-year-oldFinley was a first round draft pick by theWashington Capitals back in 2005, but a serious hand injury suffered in junior hockeylimited his experience.

"I really just took it upon myself to focus on the things I can control and that's trying to play a real simple, solid brand of hockey," said Finley. "Things are moving in the right direction but there is a long way to go to be here full time."

In 18 games this season with Rochester Finley has one goal, one assist and leads the team with 57 penalty minutes.

Ruff expects to pair Finley with Brayden McNabb, the Sabres other defensive prospect. McNabb has played in the Sabres last two games since getting called up from Rochester.

Defenseman T.J. Brennan who played in three games with the Sabres was hurt down in Rochester this week, opening the door for Finley to get called up to Buffalo.

Sabres forward Tyler Ennis is expected to be back in the lineup for Friday's nights game against Detroit. Ennis has been out since October 22nd with a high ankle sprain, but says he's ready to play. "Feel right where I need to feel so I can hit my edges pretty good, use my speed, I feel like I'm fast right now and I'm happy with it."

Lindy Ruff said goalie Ryan Miller was going to undergo more tests for his concussion on Thursday. Miller has practiced for the past two days and could play one of the two games this weekend. The Sabres have sent goalie Drew MacIntyre back to Rochester.


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