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Considered a strong point at start of season, Sabres' defense has been decimated

By John Vogl

The Sabres sent Adam Pardy to the minors at the start of the year after designating him as their ninth-best defenseman. He'll be in the top four Saturday when Buffalo hosts Philadelphia.

Trades and injuries, including today's announcement that Tyler Myers is done for the year after breaking a bone in his leg, have decimated a defense that was once considered a team strong point.

Only two of the six players who started on opening day are still available to play, Christian Ehrhoff and Andrej Sekera. Myers and Alexander Sulzer are out with injuries, and the team traded Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr. Mike Weber, a season-opening scratch, remains, while T.J. Brennan, who also started the season in the press box, was dealt to Florida for a fifth-round pick.

"Obviously, we lose two big guys to trade and then you lose another good young defenseman to a trade again in T.J., but it’s just kind of the hand we’ve been dealt," Weber said today in First Niagara Center. "You can sit and worry about it, but we’ve got to play a game tomorrow. Again, it’s a must-win."

The Sabres had five defensemen at practice today, with rookie Mark Pysyk skating alongside Ehrhoff, Sekera, Weber and Pardy. Interim coach Ron Rolston said the team would discuss this afternoon what it will do regarding a sixth defenseman.

Forward John Scott, a healthy scratch Thursday, has NHL experience on the blue line, but he did no practice work at defense. Candidates to come up from Rochester include Alex Biega, Nick Crawford, Drew Schiestel and Jerome Gauthier-Leduc.

None can fill all the holes left by Myers, even though he's struggled this year. He's out after blocking a shot during a five-on-three penalty kill against Montreal. Rolston said the injury will not require surgery.

"It makes things a lot tougher on us, that’s for sure," Pardy said. "Injuries are never easy, and when a guy like Mysie goes down, he logs a lot of minutes, PP, PK. He does everything out there.

"It’s tough to lose a guy like that, but at the same time it’s going to open the door for somebody else. Somebody’s going to come in here and going to have to play. It’s opportunity. Injuries create opportunity for somebody, so somebody’s going to step up."


Mike Weber | Tyler Myers
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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 |

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 |

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 |