Six days off is a long time. While we discussed the rumors and reports of a new Sabres owner, the Sabres have been practicing their game and working on things that have been issues with the team. Friday night, they get a chance to showcase their hard work. The Columbus Blue Jackets come into town after losing their last three games against Central Division opponents.
The Sabres have been tinkering with lines in practice and the latest creation comes from practice on Thursday:
Nathan Gerbe-Derek Roy-Thomas Vanek
Drew Stafford-Luke Adam-Jason Pominville
Tyler Ennis-Jochen Hecht-Patrick Kaleta
Cody McCormick-Paul Gaustad-Mike Grier
The first thing noticed is that Drew Stafford will be back in the lineup as he has missed the last three weeks with an upper body injury. Stafford is replacing Colin Stuart who was sent back to Portland on Wednesday. Stafford has four goals and eight points in 14 games this season, one of the lowest points/game in his career.
Nathan Gerbe will have a chance to showcase his talents playing on a line with Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek. Gerbe has no goals and three points in 15 games this season. Gerbe has spent most of his playing time this season with Paul Gaustad and Patrick Kaleta, 46.7% of his total playing time, a line not known for making production. If Gerbe can't start producing with the leading goal scorers and and leading point producers, it will be very telling.
For the Columbus Blue Jackets, its the return of Scott Arniel, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach. Arniel played four seasons for the Sabres starting in 1986-1991 and was also an assistant coach for the Sabres from 2002-2006. He had this to say about Buffalo to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:
My family loved it there, my sone was born there. There are certainly a lot of great memories there. When I had a chance to go back there as a coach with (Sabres coach) Lindy (Ruff), it was an easy decision."
Game time is 7:30 pm at HSBC Arena.