Lindy Ruff is getting closer to having a problem every coach would want. Drew Stafford and Maxim Afinogenov have been cleared to play tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens, but that doesn't mean Ruff is going to insert them into the lineup.
Ruff has a history of not making changes after a victory. The Sabres are coming off an 8-4 victory over the Nashville Predators. It's why he was leaning toward not touching a thing.
In practice today, though, the Sabres had some interesting line combinations. Derek Roy was between Thomas Vanek and newcomer Steve Bernier. Jochen Hecht was with Ales Kotalik and Jason Pominville with Afinogenov also wearing the same jersey. Paul Gaustad was with Daniel Paille and Stafford and Clarke MacArthur was between Andrew Peters and Patrick Kaleta.
Tim Connolly and Adam Mair sat out the workout, and Hecht left early while still nursing a pulled groin muscle. If everybody is healthy, does Lindy take out Peters and/or Kaleta on his fourth line, giving him four skilled lines but less grit? Or does he keep toughness in his lineup and go with more skill?
It could depend on the opponent. No matter, the Sabres, assuming everybody can either get healthy or stay healthy, have plenty of options going down the stretch.
--- Bucky Gleason