Sabres place centre Connolly on long-term injured reserve list

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The move, announced by the team Wednesday a day after it was made, frees a portion of Connolly's US$2.9-million salary for a Buffalo team that began the season about $100,000 short of the NHL's $44 million cap.

The Sabres need the cap room since they have no reserves left on their roster and are down to 20 skaters (12 forwards and six defencemen). The latest injury was to defenceman Henrik Tallinder, who had surgery last weekend to repair a broken left arm. He's expected to miss up to two months.

Buffalo (10-0-1), which plays at Boston on Thursday, has been off since a 5-4 shootout loss to Atlanta on Saturday. The defeat ended the Sabres' bid to set the NHL record for best start to a season set by Toronto, which went 10-0 in 1993.

Connolly's concussion came during Game 2 of Buffalo's second-round playoff series against Ottawa in May. Connolly has not yet been cleared to skate, raising fears he could miss at least the first half of the season.

This is the second major concussion he has experienced. The first cost him the entire 2003-04 season.

Connolly had a strong 2005-06 season, finishing fifth on the Sabres with 16 goals and 39 assists. He added five goals and six assists in eight playoff games.