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D'Agostini returns for Sabres; ill Ehrhoff a game-time decision versus Coyotes

By John Vogl

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Sabres are getting a little healthier on offense, but their blue line might take a hit tonight.

Matt D'Agostini will return from a six-game absence when Buffalo visits the Coyotes. The forward had two goals and four points in four games before leaving the Jan. 15 meeting against Toronto.

"That always seems to be the situation for me lately, but I'm hoping to keep up where I left off there," D'Agostini said after the morning skate in Jobing.com Arena.

The only player absent from the workout was Christian Ehrhoff, and the defenseman is feeling "under the weather," according to coach Ted Nolan. Ehrhoff will be a game-time decision.

Ryan Miller will start in goal for the Sabres. Drew Stafford is not healthy enough to return -- he's in the "almost" category, Nolan said -- and he'll watch the game along with injured Cody McCormick and healthy scratches John Scott and Linus Omark.

Ted Nolan

Matt D'Agostini

Sabres will give D'Agostini a chance to rediscover scoring touch

By John Vogl

The Sabres can't score. They're last in the league by a large margin at only 1.62 goals per game, and they've found the net just once in each of the last four outings.

Matt D'Agostini has struggled since scoring 21 times in 2010-11. He'll be given an opportunity to boost the fortunes of himself and the Sabres.

"When you get a goal scorer, you’ve got to put him in position to score some goals," said coach Ted Nolan, who will use D'Agostini alongside captain Steve Ott and center Ville Leino. "Hopefully, that will help."

Since his career year with St. Louis, D'Agostini has 12 goals in 92 games with the Blues, Devils and Penguins. Buffalo claimed him off waivers from the Penguins on Wednesday.

"It’s just another opportunity to come in and try to prove myself and prove that I can be a good NHL player every day," D'Agostini said today after joining his new team for an optional holiday practice. "The last couple years have been struggles, obviously, to find my game and stuff like that. ... I’m hoping to get a fresh start here and rebuild myself as a player."

D'Agostini's career year came when he got a prominent role on a non-playoff team, so he and the Sabres hope it happens again.

"That was a time I got my minutes and got some goals under my belt and got some confidence," D'Agostini said. "I’m hoping to get back to those ways."

To hear more from D'Agostini, click the audio file below.

D'Agostini claimed on waivers from Penguins; Tropp waived to make room on roster

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Matt D'Agostini didn't have a goal in eight games with Pittsburgh. (Getty Images)



By Mike Harrington

Who said the Sabres are going status quo tonight? Not anymore. 

According to TSN The Sabres have now officially announced they've claimed forward Matt D’Agostini off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. There's no word if D'Agostini would play tonight, but coach Ted Nolan was unusually late to his meeting with the media after today's pregame skate so there was certainly chatter something might be afoot.

The 6-foot, 198-pound D'Agostini will wear No. 27. He has one assist in eight games with the Penguins this season and is predominantly a right winger. He played parts of four seasons with tonight's opponent, the Montreal Canadiens, and had his best year for St. Louis in 2010-11 with a career-high 21 goals and 46 points. He was a sixth-round pick of the Habs in 2005.

D'Agostini signed a one-year, $550,000 contract with the Penguins in July but an unspecified injury and spotty play made it tough for him to stay in the lineup, as this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story from earlier this month explains.

In addition, D'Agostini apparently has a history with Nolan as he was an instructor at Nolan's hockey school in  Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in 2008. This story from the Sudbury Star explains.

The Sabres have to make a roster move to accommodate him, and they are putting Corey Tropp on waivers with hopes of getting him back to Rochester. Tropp had one assist in nine games and was minus-8 this year. He was still playing with a full face shield after suffering a broken jaw in the leadup to the epic preseason brawl in Toronto.

It's certainly conceivable D'Agostini is here tonight to be in the lineup but we noticed that John Scott skated fully this morning and came off the ice with the game group. So he's clearly ready to go as well to play on the fourth line with Brian Flynn and Marcus Foligno if that's the team's need.

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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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