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Keep an eye on Sabres' defense pairs

Pretty quiet morning skate, as you would expect since the Sabres just played last night. Only a few players on the ice. One who wasn't, Matt Ellis, has been sent back to Portland.

Lindy Ruff wouldn't comment when I asked him about his defense pairings tonight. Tyler Myers, Andrej Sekera, Steve Montador and Jordan Leopold all played huge minutes last night (Myers was at 27:36!), while Craig Rivet (10:52) and Shaone Morrisonn (10:49) hardly saw the ice.

"I think our league for the most part has gone to a pair of defense that plays a lot and I think with the timeouts that's not an issue," Ruff said. "The way Andrej is playing and how Tyler's game has picked up, for us to be even more effective, those guys need to play even more."

It took a long time for Ruff to emerge from his office to meet the media this morning. Just as he walked out, Rivet and Tyler Ennis were seen leaving the building in front of him. It's possible they were in a meeting with the coach about last night's play, which was wasn't good for either. Rivet was particularly stern-looking and burst through the hall at a good clip.

Tonight would be his 900th NHL game. No. 899 last night was poor in most respects. You wonder if Ruff is going down the road of scratching his captain again. That would make for probably the end of Rivet's time with the C on his chest.

Defense, of course, has to be a big issue tonight with the Tampa Bay Lightning in town and the pair of Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis sitting as the NHL's top scoring duo by 10 points! Stamkos has 19 goals and 34 points (he had an assist taken away after Thursday's game in Philadelphia).

"Our awareness of key players has been better and that's made a differnce," Ruff said. "He may get his opportunities but we have to limit the type he gets. We'd like him to come 200 feet to get them. We don't want him to play a half-ice game."

The Sabres won all four games against the Lightning last year. Vincent Lecavalier (hand) and Simon Gagne (neck) are both out for Tampa Bay. The Sabres also announced that the first goal of last night's game has been changed back to giving credit to Patrick Kaleta on a deflection of a Sekera shot. So it's Kaleta from Sekera and Gerbe. 

---Mike Harrington


Sabres game day
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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 |