The Sabres have pulled the trigger on what's probably an overdue move by sending struggling rookie Luke Adam down to Rochester and calling up Zack Kassian. Adam, last year's AHL Rookie of the Year at Portland, did not have a point in his last 20 games here while Kassian has 15 goals and 11 assists in 30 games with the Amerks; he had two goals last night in Rochester's 9-4 rout of Texas.
"Right now [Adam's] confidence level is low," coach Lindy Ruff said today. "He needs to go play a lot of minutes, he needs to get back on the scoresheet. And I don't think this is unlike a lot of young players. It's been a tough stretch for him. Zack has been going well down there, he's been scoring. We'll bring him in, put him in the lineup."
Ruff said Adam could have a short stint in Rochester.
"Luke will make that decision himself," Ruff said. "He goes there and plays well, it's temporary. But he needs to go and put points up and play really well."
Kassian will go into the lineup tonight against Tampa Bay because Cody McCormick is nursing an upper-body injury suffered last night against Dallas and will sit. Ruff said McCormick's injury is not serious and he's day to day.
The coach, meanwhile, said he's feeling better and is a "game-night decision" as far as returning behind the bench. The coach suffered three broken ribs in a practice collision Monday and has spent the last two games upstairs in the press box while James Patrick has run the club.
The Sabres are 5-0-1 in their last six games while the Lightning are 6-1-2 in their last nine and two points behind Buffalo in the Eastern Conference standings. Tampa center Steven Stamkos leads the NHL with 36 goals.
Red-hot Ryan Miller (1.11 GAA, .962 save percentage) is expected to stay in net for Buffalo while Mathieu Garon has made seven straight starts for Tampa.