Looking for a boost, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff emphatically said Sunday night that Derek Roy would suit up for Buffalo tonight in Game 7 for the first time since Dec. 23, when he severed his left quadriceps in a freak run-in with a skate.

Ruff suddenly backpedaled yesterday when asked about the status of the Sabres center.

"I don't even know if he's playing yet," Ruff told the Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald after the Sabres' skate yesterday in Buffalo. "I don't know what to expect. I was hopeful. I don't know. We'll see. I hope he can play. We'll see [this morning]."

With Tim Connolly officially out of the lineup tonight, according to Ruff, with an apparent head injury suffered from Mike Richards' scrutinized hit on Sunday afternoon in Game 6, the Sabres could desperately use Roy.

Jochen Hecht, Andrej Sekera, Patrick Kaleta, Jason Pominville and Mike Grier might all be out for the Sabres.

Roy was Buffalo's leading scorer for the first 35 games, collecting 35 points before suffering what was thought to be a season-ending injury. He made it sound yesterday as if he is ready to play after a 4-month rehab stint, which he said felt more like "4 years."