Several of the Sabres' big names will make their preseason debuts tonight in Montreal against the Canadiens. The game group was on the ice this morning in First Niagara Center before making the afternoon flight and then heading right to the Bell Centre (preseason affairs are hops, skips and jumps when it comes to travel and such). The game is at 7:30 and it's radio only with no TV or online streaming.
Ryan Miller will be in goal for the Sabres tonight with Jhonas Enroth and also on the ice will be Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff. They all sat out Monday's 3-1 win over Carolina.
The defense tonight will include Regehr, Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Drew Schiestel and Dennis Persson. Roy will center Vanek and Pominville on the main forward line. The Tyler Ennis-Ville Leino-Drew Stafford line that debuted Monday will play again while Luke Adam will be between Brad Boyes and Nathan Gerbe. Matt Ellis will center Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno.
"It's going to be exciting to be behind the bench and get a good read on them," Ruff said. "It's a blending in process. We want to see how Regehr can play with Myers. ... I'm excited to see how they do."
Adam, who played with Kassian and Foligno on the team's kid line Monday, is getting another look tonight with some veterans.
"I want to see what Luke can do in different situations whille still evaluating the Folignos and Kassians," said Ruff. "Luke is going to play with good offensive players and that's no disregard to Marcus and Zach. Sometimes when you play with established players, you ramp it up a little bit. We'll give him an opportunity and see when he can do with them."
In other news, the Sabres have signed goaltender Jeff Jakaitis to a one-year AHL contract. Jakaitis split time last year between the AHL and Central Hockey League, going 22-17-3, 2.58 for Dayton of the CHL, 4-1, 3.19 for the Portland Pirates and 1-2, 3.60 for the Worcester Sharks.
With Drew MacIntyre and David Leggio already under contract, the Sabres appear to have their goaltenders for Rochester. So Jakaitis would appear to be headed for Buffalo's newest affiliate, the Gwinnett Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League. They announced last night that the Sabres and Phoenix Coyotes will combine to stock their team.