BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder
doesn't understand what the big mystery is regarding rookie teammate Tyler
Myers' NHL future.
If Sabres management insists it will take one more game
to evaluate whether to keep Myers on the roster for the rest of the season,
Tallinder doesn't need another minute of convincing.
"He should play here," Tallinder said after practice
Tuesday. "I'm really amazed with his poise with the puck. It's unbelievable for
his age, 19. You don't see veteran guys have that."
Tallinder then compared the 6-foot-8 Myers to another
tall and established defenseman, 6-foot-9 Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
"Not even close. I still don't think Chara has the same
movements as this kid has," Tallinder said. "It's scary how good he's going to
Tell that to the Sabres braintrust.
Though coach Lindy Ruff is quick to praise Myers for how
well he's played eight games into the season, he won't commit to whether Myers
will be on the team by the end of the week or returned to his Canadian junior
team in Kelowna, British Columbia.
The hiccup is Myers' age. Under NHL rules, the 2008
first-round pick's three-year rookie contract kicks in after appearing in his
10th game, and Myers also would be eligible to test free agency a year earlier
than most players in his draft class.
The deadline comes after Buffalo plays at New Jersey on
Wednesday, when Myers is expected to play his ninth game.
And that's the timetable the Sabres are sticking with.
"It isn't anything more than that," Ruff said. "We have
this time span to evaluate him and work with him. When that time frame is up,
the decision will be there."
Ruff would allow that he's happy with what he's seen so
"I think he's played very well for us," Ruff said. "He's
handled a lot of different situations and he's played some big minutes in some
Myers has scored two goals and has three assists, not
including a highlight-reel, stop-and-start wraparound in scoring the decisive
goal in a 3-2 shootout win at Tampa Bay last weekend.
Myers ranks third on the team in averaging 20:08 in ice
time per game. And he's among the NHL's most responsible defensive players,
having been on the ice for eight-more even-strength goals scored than his team
Myers is pleased with his performance and trying to not
think about the immediate future.
"I haven't been told anything," he said. "Playing the
first eight games here, I feel like I'm a part of the team. I don't really look
at it as a tryout. So I'm just going to take it day by day and whatever they
decide, I'll accept."
And yet, Myers will agree that he hasn't looked out of
place in the NHL.
"I feel I belong," he said. "But it's obviously going to
come down to what the coaches and scouts think."
Tallinder, who stands 6-foot-3, is most impressed with
how fluid Myers is despite his frame.
"You really have to work for it when you're that tall,
and he has it already," Tallinder said. "I don't know. It's pretty scary. You
think you're pretty good, but no."
Myers has been living out of a Buffalo hotel room since
he arrived in town for the start of training camp in early September.
As comfortable as the room has been, Myers realizes
checkout time is approaching. He's hoping to trade it for a place in town.
"If I get the word, yeah, I'll look around and see
what's out there," he said. "But until then, I'll keep quiet."
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