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Gerbe, Butler, Weber will sit for Sabres

OTTAWA -- The opening-night roster is set for the Sabres, and it doesn't include forward Nathan Gerbe or defensemen Chris Butler and Mike Weber.

The trio will be the season's first healthy scratches tonight when the Sabres visit the Ottawa Senators. Gerbe had three goals during the preseason, but coach Lindy Ruff has decided to use a fourth line of Paul Gaustad, Cody McCormick and Patrick Kaleta as a physical unit.

"I've talked to Nathan, and Nathan’s had a good camp," Ruff said after the morning skate in Scotiabank Place. "Some nights we’ll use more size. Some nights we’ll use a little bit more skill. He’s done a nice job with us on the power play, and we may go to him. We may go to him as soon as tomorrow night [in the home opener against the Rangers].

"It’s going to depend on how games go. You just evaluate. If you have somebody struggling, we have got a couple extra defensemen and we’ve got an extra forward we really think can play."

The other lines tonight will have Tim Connolly in the middle of Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville; Derek Roy centering for Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford; and Rob Niedermayer flanked by Jochen Hecht and Mike Grier as a shutdown unit.

Andrej Sekera beat out Weber and Butler for the sixth spot on the blue line.

The Senators, meanwhile, will make center Jason Spezza a game-time decision. He has a groin injury.

"He's 50-50 right now," coach Cory Clouston said.

The Senators' biggest training camp battle was in net, with Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott vying for the job. Leclaire will start in goal against the Sabres.

"He is supposed to be our go-to guy," Clouston said. "He put the time in over the summer, and we need to give him the opportunity."

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

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Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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