With his team facing elimination, Lindy Ruff has decided to scratch Raffi Torres and insert Nathan Gerbe in the lineup for Game Five tonight against Boston. Ruff admitted it was a tough decision to bench a player the team had acquired at the trade deadline. He said there are players he's even more unhappy with at this point. But Torres hasn't scored a goal since coming to Buffalo and these are desperate times.
Even Torres, who skated with Thomas Vanek and Matt Ellis at the morning skate, admitted as much.
"There's really not much to be said," Torres said. "I'm not scoring. I'm not doing what I've got to do to stay in the lineup. I wouldn't play me, either. What can you do?"
Of course, it's not as if Torres is the only Sabres struggling to put the puck in the net. No player has more than one goal in the four games against Boston. Torres is tied for the team scoring lead with two points. But the Sabres brought him to Buffalo because he could score tough goals and had a track record in the postseason. Torres said he wasn't going to get into the production of other players. He did have good things to say about Gerbe.
"Gerbe has played well. I would have given him a shot a lot sooner," Torres said. "What are you going to do? I'm just really disappointed in myself. But hopefully they get a win and keep going and I find a way to get back in there."
Torres isn't likely to get back on the ice if the Sabres extend the series. Ruff plays the guys who have earned his trust, and he seemed to give up on Torres quickly when he came to the team. He questioned Torres' conditioning and didn't give him much chance on his top lines.
"I'm not going to get into that," Torres said. "I'm not going to get in a war in the media. At the end of the day, I didn't come here and do what I was brought here to do. So I'm not going to sit here and complain about who I played with. That's irrelevant. It's not a big deal to me. I've scored on fourth lines. I"ve scored on second lines. At the end of the day, the numbers weren't there. Like I said, I wouldn't play me, either. I'm not doing my job out there. You've got to give a kid a chance, you know?"
--- Jerry Sullivan
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