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Drury moving on from hit that sidelined him

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Chris Drury doesn't have time to be angry
over Ottawa forward Chris Neil's blindside hit that sent the Sabres
co-captain flying and sparked a brawl last week. He's too busy
trying to get back to his battered team.

"I've seen it probably more than I want to," Drury said
Thursday of the widely broadcast hit. "I'm not a guy that's going
to be commenting too much on it. It's over with."

"I'd rather be playing than not playing. That's frustrating. ... But being mad or angry or
upset isn't going to get me back sooner. I don't want to be
carrying that baggage around."
-- Sabres co-captain Chris Drury

Sporting a gash and severe bruise around a right eye that is
deeply reddened after 20 stitches to repair the deep cut, Drury
didn't want to get into a war of words with Neil, who believes the
hit -- which Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff called dirty -- was legal. The
center has chosen to look forward instead of back.

"I'd rather be playing than not playing. That's frustrating,"
he said during his first availability with Buffalo-area reporters
since the controversial collision. "But being mad or angry or
upset isn't going to get me back sooner. I don't want to be
carrying that baggage around."

Drury said he was knocked out by the hit and doesn't remember
it, but he never experienced a headache of any kind afterward.

"My eye hurt, but other than that there weren't any other
symptoms," he said. "Overall I guess I got pretty lucky."

He has been ruled out of this weekend's games against Montreal
and Toronto, but is optimistically targeting a return Wednesday
when Buffalo hosts Colorado.

"Every day is another step," he said.

Drury skated before the team's practice on Thursday, joining
assistant coach James Patrick and injured defenseman Jaroslav
Spacek. Following the workout he said he felt much better compared
to last week, and had no problems with his vision or his head while
on the ice.

"Hockey-wise I felt a bit rusty, but overall it was a pretty
good day," he said.

Ruff, meanwhile, wasn't surprised that Drury chose to take the
high road regarding a hit the coach labeled as "predator-type."

"He's very professional and moving on already," said Ruff, who
was fined $10,000 for his role in the donnybrook last week.
"There's no use regurgitating it. His focus is on getting ready to
play."

Some of Drury's teammates have begun to kid him about his
scary-looking face, but all have respect for the way he has handled
himself throughout the last seven days.

"For him to come out now and say something, it's not going to
help anything," forward Thomas Vanek said. "He's the type of
person that can look beyond what happened."

Drury's return can't come too soon for a Sabres team that is
missing seven regulars because of various injuries. Buffalo
acquired forward Dainius Zubrus on Tuesday in a trade with
Washington to help offset some of the losses, but the return of its
leading goal-scorer is vital as the postseason approaches.

"We're going with where the doctors take us and how Chris is
feeling," Ruff said. "You're not going to hold him back. If they
say he's ready and he wants to play, he'll kick the door down."