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Sekera a front-runner to play; Spezza may not

Greetings from the Northtown Center in Amherst, where the Sabres are conducting their final practice before the puck drops on the 2010-11 season Friday in Ottawa. It's almost exclusively power-play work, so that gives us a glimpse into Friday's lineup. It appears Andrej Sekera will be in it.

Sekera is manning the point on the second power-play unit, almost a sure sign he will play against the Senators. He is joined on the blue line by Jordan Leopold, while Thomas Vanek, Paul Gaustad and Tim Connolly are up front.

The first unit features Derek Roy, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford up front, with Tyler Myers and Jason Pominville at the point.

It appears the forward scratch could be Nathan Gerbe or Jochen Hecht as they were splitting the left wing spot on a line with Rob Niedermayer and Mike Grier. Hecht said during training camp his pinkie, which underwent surgery last spring, wasn't 100 percent. The other lines are Ennis-Roy-Stafford, Vanek-Connolly-Pominville, and Cody McCormick-Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta.

POST-PRACTICE UPDATE: Coach Lindy Ruff said everyone is healthy and ready to play, which likely makes Gerbe the scratch against the Senators.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Senators sniper Jason Spezza missed practice today with a groin injury and could miss Friday's opener.

In case you haven't yet gone to the store to buy our NHL Preview Section, it's now available online. But, trust me, it looks better in print so go spend the 75 cents.

---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.

@BNHarrington |

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.

@amymoritz |