Daniel Paille has been sitting in the press box, waiting for his shot at the ice. The wait is over.
Paille, scratched for the Buffalo Sabres' first four games, will be in the lineup tonight when the New York Islanders visit HSBC Arena. The left winger will replace injured Thomas Vanek and join center Derek Roy and right wing Drew Stafford on one of the Sabres' top scoring lines.
"I’m definitely excited," Paille said after today's morning skate. "I just want to bring a lot of energy to the game and keep the winning streak going. It’s hard to replace Van, but I’ll do my best.
"It’s definitely nice to jump in with two guys like Staff and Roysie. Hopefully, I can help them out and make them a little bit better as well."
Coach Lindy Ruff had the option of using Adam Mair instead of Paille. Ruff decided to go with the winger with more scoring potential rather than their high-effort grinder.
"You watch practice and you watch how hard guys work, it was a tough decision," Ruff said. "Adam Mair has put a lot into practices and has really worked hard. At the same time, Danny’s a guy that’s had a history of scoring. He had 19 goals one year. It’s always interesting to see a player step in and what he’ll do.
"I expect a rock-solid effort out of him. A lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm."
Vanek is still recovering from an upper-body injury suffered in Tuesday's 6-2 victory over Detroit, which moved the Sabres to 3-0-1.
"I’ve got my opportunity tonight," Paille said, "and I’ve got to play hard."
Photo of Daniel Paille by Mark Mulville/Buffalo News