Because of a minor injury to Adam Mair, Jochen Hecht may avoid the press box Thursday. But he couldn't avoid the fourth line today.
The Buffalo Sabres center, whose play has plummeted so much coach Lindy Ruff has threatened to scratch him, was dropped to the bottom line at practice in HSBC Arena. He skated in the middle with three wingers rotating around him, Andrew Peters, Maxim Afinogenov and Daniel Paille.
"I'm not a player who wants to be on the fourth line," Hecht said. "I think I'm better than that. It's just been too many games where I didn't play to my potential, and I've just got to prove again that I can be on the first two lines. Right now, I'm not good enough."
Hecht has just one goal in the past 11 games. The 31-year-old is in the first year of a four-year, $14.1 million contract.
Fourth-liner Matt Ellis, recently promoted from Portland, took Hecht's spot in the middle of wingers Jason Pominville and Clarke MacArthur.
Mair, who scored in Tuesday's embarrassing 4-2 loss to Washington, is doubtful for Thursday's game against Toronto in Air Canada Centre. Ruff said Mair's knee, which underwent offseason surgery, is bothering the center.