It's still uncertain what the Sabres lineup will look like on Wednesday but one thing is certain...Andrej Sekera will be out of the lineup and Teppo Numminen will be in the lineup. Numminen hasn't played in quite sometime but Sekera barely played on Saturday and is going to be a spectator on Wednesday night.
Sekera is minus-5 in the past six games and has been making numerous mistakes. He was nailed to the end of the bench for most of the third period Saturday during the Sabres' 4-3 shootout win over Montreal.
Sometimes stats are misleading but in this case they tell the whole story. Sekera has struggled in the defensive zone lately and the Sabres can't afford to make mistakes in their own zone. The playoff hopes are fading quickly for the Sabres and Lindy Ruff feels that the best course of action is to play the veteran Numminen.
When Numminen was in the lineup he appeared to be slow and looked like his age was finally catching up with him. It's possible that a couple of weeks of rest may have helped him but that is unlikely. The one key component that Numminen brings to the team is veteran leadership and years of experience. He knows to make the smart play at all times and should be steady enough to play 10-14 minutes a game down the stretch.
"I fell in a deep hole," Sekera said. "I felt that way the last couple games. Anybody can see that."
Hearing those words come out of Sekera's mouth just sealed the deal. I'm not sure when Sekera will get back in the lineup but I hope it is not while the Sabres still have a shot at the playoffs. Those are the words of someone who is lacking confidence and not someone you can rely on in a playoff race.
|2008 - Andrej Sekera||63||3||14||17||-16||20||1||0||1||0||78||3.8|
|2008 - Teppo Numminen||55||2||14||16||-4||22||1||0||1||0||31||6.5|
Despite the negative things I said about Numminen above, he has played decent this season. His stats are almost identical to those of Sekera but with a much better plus/minus. Right now the Sabres need wins and playing the veteran Numminen will give the team a better chance to win than leaving Sekera in the lineup.
Other Sabres Notes
It looks like Patrick Kaleta may be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Sabres take on the Atlanta Thrashers. Kaleta was feared to have suffered a concussion when he was hit from behind by Canadiens Forward Maxim Lapierre on Saturday night. After further tests it doesn't appear to be a concussion and Kaleta could play.