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Injuries force Ruff to play roster roulette

Only a handful of Sabres skated today but coach Lindy Ruff had plenty of news about the roster heading into tonight's game against the New York Rangers.

You can hear the audio from the entire session by clicking here:

Lindy Ruff pregame

The rundown looks like this:

---Out with injuries: Jochen Hecht (upper body), Mike Grier (knee)

---Inserted into lineup to quarterback power play: Marc Gragnani.

---Called up from Portland in time to be here tonight: Matt Ellis.

---Scratched on defense: TBA (but the betting here is on Shaone Morrisonn, he of the minus-3 in 8 1/2 minutes last night).

Gragnani has been one of the AHL's best defensemen this year with 12 goals, 48 assists, 60 points and a career-best plus-22 rating. He led AHL blueliners in assists and points, setting Portland franchise records in both categories.

"Marc is going to go in and play," Ruff said. "I really feel we need somebody on the back end that can quarterback our power play in Leopold's absence. It could have made a difference late in the game for us. We're ust going to play what we think will help us win. I don't want to wait two or three games. I think it's important right now if we have one or two power plays.

"He's a great year down there quarterbacking their power play. I just feel that he could give that unit a boost. He's a great passer. he might be as good a passer that we'll have from the back end."

Ruff said Grier's knee soreness is a short-term situation but couldn't speculate on Hecht's continued troubles. Hecht missed four games, played two, missed five more, played Saturday against New Jersey and lasted just under six minutes last night.

"We're concerned obviously," Ruff said. "He's tried but hasn't been able to [keep playing]."

Ruff then had a humurous exchange with the media when I asked if Hecht had to be shut down.

Ruff: No. You guys trying to figure out what it is?
Reporter: Or how long it might be.
Ruff: So am I (laughter)
Sabres Edge: What it is or how long?
Ruff: Both.

Translation: Sounds like Hecht is going to be an iffy proposition each day over these last six games.

---Mike Harrington


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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 |