ROCHESTER -- Greetings from Rochester, where I've left the team sponsored by the Red Cross (the Sabres) to visit its affiliate that plays in Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial (the Amerks).
A few thoughts collected during the Amerks' 4-1 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters, the Colorado Avalanche's affiliate:
*The Sabres' injury problems have the Amerks scrambling. They had four skaters on the roster playing on tryout contracts (Evan Rankin, Igor Gongalsky, Scott Campbell and scratched Rob Bordson) and two up from the ECHL (Riley Boychuk and Corey Fienhage).
*Not surprisingly, the fans like Marcus Foligno. Folks in Rochester no doubt followed the career of his father, Mike, in Buffalo, and they gave him the loudest applause one day after his NHL debut.
*Drew MacIntyre doesn't have the best numbers -- he entered the night 4-9-1 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .910 save percentage -- but he's a talented goalie. His confidence in the crease at this level is evident, especially compared to his short stints with the Sabres.
*Travis Turnbull has some speed. The center left a few Monsters behind while skating on the right side. He drove the net, took a shot and celebrated as Mark Voakes buried the rebound on the first goal of the game.
*The fans also love Thomas Vanek. The one-time Amerk was the most-worn jersey in the crowd.
*Dennis Persson has been around a long time for having never played an NHL game. He got drafted when Mike Grier was still playing for the Sabres -- the first time. The first-round pick in the 2006 draft played his 281st pro game Wednesday, and none have been in the NHL. The defenseman scored his first goal of the season on a power-play slap shot in the first period.
*Jay McKee and Chris Taylor are still two of the classiest guys you'll meet.
*Ron Rolston concludes every chat with me by saying, "Thanks, we appreciate the coverage." Oops, I probably shouldn't say that. A couple of people with the big club will probably tell him to stop.
*The boards in here rattle a lot more than the ones in First Niagara Center.
*Speaking of Mike Foligno, he's here watching Marcus play after seeing him Tuesday night in Ottawa.
*Lake Erie head coach David Quinn got kicked out midway through the third period. You don't see coach-ref spats like that in the NHL.
*Sabres goaltenders have had a five-hole problem lately. A goal allowed by MacIntyre midway through the third should have been stopped but scooted through his pads.
*Evan Rankin, playing on a 25-game professional tryout, continues to push for a contract. He scored for the seventh time in his 12 games with the Amerks. He also has four assists.
*MacIntyre made up for the five-hole goal with big glove and blocker saves late to keep Rochester up by two before Foligno scored an empty-netter. MacIntyre finished with 33 saves.