The Sabres are on for an early practice here at the Northtown Center of Amherst with a couple hundred kids taking advantage of an unexpected chance meeting and watching them from the stands. They're happy, as they should be. Part of their happiness is probably the fact they weren't in HSBC Arena last night. Lucky them.
The kids aren't seeing Patrick Kaleta, Tim Connolly or Cody McCormick on the ice so we'll have to get an update from Lindy Ruff on their status after the workout. Drew Stafford is skating in a non-contact jersey. Wonder if the Sabres are just going to try to get through the next two games without Stafford to give his groin a couple more weeks of rest.
I would imagine at least one and possibly two players will join the team from Portland for Sunday's 3 p.m. rematch with the Islanders. Mark Mancari scored his 20th goal for the Pirates in last night's win over Worcester. There's one possibility. I'd like to see Matt Ellis back too.
Be sure to click that link to read good-friend-of-the-blog Dan Hickling's report on the Portland game. It was an emotional return to the lineup for West Seneca native Brian Roloff, who scored the winning goal in his first game back with the team after the death of his older brother, Eric, Sunday from cancer.
In other news, South Buffalo's Patrick Kane has been named an alternate captain on Team Lidstrom and will help with the selection process for next week's NHL All-Star Game.