By Mike Harrington
SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Sabres have a long bus ride back to Fort Lauderdale so they had a quick pregame skate and exited BB&T Center without giving too many clues to tonight's lineup.
"We're confusing people right now," said a smirking interim coach Ron Rolston. "We came in, it was Blitzkrieg. We came in, quick pregame, so you have to wait for the lineup there."
Rolston confirmed Thomas Vanek (upper body) is out and Drew Stafford will be back in. He wouldn't confirm Andrej Sekera is back in after missing the last five games, although Sekera told the media it was good to be back on the ice so that's pretty definitive. We'll have to see who the scratch is at forward (John Scott or Nathan Gerbe being the best bets) and on defense, where you would expect it to be Mark Pysyk. Likely to see Ryan Miller in goal with Jhonas Enroth getting one of the games this weekend against Washingtor or Boston.
(Would be nice, by the way, if that Blitzkrieg included some offense for a team sitting on three goals and 32 shots in the last two games)
As for the Panthers, ex-Sabre T.J. Brennan is back in the lineup after sitting one game as a healthy scratch. Brennan was traded her for a fifth-round pick on March 15 and got 23:42 of ice time and scored a goal in his debut the next night. He's played at least 15 minutes in four of his five games, far more than he did in Buffalo. He has one goal, one assist and a minus-1 rating.
"Obviously you try to take it like any other game but it will be a little weird playing against some of the guys I've been around for 6-7 years," Brennan said. "The guys here have made me real comfortable so it's been a good fit here."
Brennan, a former second-round pick, said he was surprised by the trade and said it's "a little surreal" to be in Florida. But did the Sabres give up on him?
"I'm not sure. That's not really my call," he said. "Obviously I try to make the best of the opportunity I had in Buffalo. I guess I wasn't in their plans. When I came here to Florida, I've been with Kevin [coach] Kevin Dineen before and am looking for more opportunity here. It's good to be reconnected to him and I wish all the best to Buffalo. Not fitting in their plans, that's just the way it goes sometimes."
Click below to hear audio from Brennan.
taggedRon Rolston | T.J. Brennan