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Sabres at Columbus wiped out tonight, and so is the extra cash for these folks

The Sabres were supposed to play their fifth preseason game tonight, an exhibition in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Because a bunch of rich guys can't figure out how to split $3.3 billion per year, the game has been canceled.

That unfortunately brings us to our fifth edition of: Who is hurting tonight because of the lockout?

*It's the guys who were supposed to work the huge grill at bd's Mongolian Grill across from Nationwide Arena, but some aren't on the schedule because there's no game-night crowd coming.

*It's the waitress at Schmidt's Sausage Haus who won't get extra tips from Buffalo customers who made the drive to Columbus.

*It's the person who normally gets paid to fire the Civil War-style cannon every time the Blue Jackets score.

*It's the person who was supposed to be working in the bowels of the arena changing kegs so the fans could have a cold one.

Again, it's not the players and owners.

---John Vogl

Sabres' youth at center puts them in 'scary category,' Ruff says

Should the lockout end, the Sabres' top two centers -- Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson -- will have a career average of 115.5 games played. That's less than 1 1/2 seasons.

The youth and inexperience at such an important position has been noted by coach Lindy Ruff.

"We’ve taken a step that has put us in a little bit of a scary category because we’re young there," Ruff said.

It sounds as if the Sabres will go "center by committee" to help their 22-year-old middle men.

"I think there’s where we have a little versatility with Ville [Leino]. We’ve got some versatility with Steve Ott in the middle of the ice," said Ruff, who was OK with giving up Derek Roy's skill in exchange for Ott's grittiness. "You can say the emergence of Tyler playing center ice probably made the move possible, with Cody looking to be right in there in a 1-2 spot and Tyler the way he played trying to get him that same type of ice time, and Ott playing on the third line or in that situation, or even playing in our top two lines as being a grittier-type winger or centerman.

"We know we’re going to need a guy on faceoffs and [Ott is] excellent in faceoffs, he can play the middle so it gives us a little bit different look."

Ruff likes what Ott brings to the club, one season after the Sabres were humiliated by Milan Lucic and the Bruins.

"It’s something that you talk about during the year when you’re going through tough times, what you think is missing. It isn’t something you just all of sudden go to somebody in the offseason," Ruff said. "We should be a lot tougher team, a lot more irritating team to play against. I think that message has been heard."

The full audio of Ruff's interview is below.

---John Vogl

Report: Sabres' Vanek will play in Austria

Thomas Vanek has been torn about whether to play overseas during the NHL lockout. With a wife and three young kids at home, he doesn't want to disrupt his family life by bolting for Europe. On the other hand, he's a hockey player and wants to play.

He's said for several weeks that if he went to Europe it would likely be to his native Austria. Apparently, he's made up his mind. He's going to play in Austria.

According to Sky Sports News, Vanek will join the Graz 99ers as soon as Thursday. Vanek lived in Graz while growing up.

"Under consideration at this point," Vanek's agent, Steve Bartlett, said in an email to The News. "Not 100% but working on insurance issues."

Vanek would become the fourth member of the Sabres to sign overseas, joining Christian Ehrhoff (Germany), Tyler Ennis (Switzerland) and Andrej Sekera (Slovakia).

---John Vogl

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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 | jvogl@buffnews.com

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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