In an effort to get one of the prized offseason acquisitions going, Lindy Ruff has moved Ville Leino up to the top line, centering Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek.
Leino, who has complained about low ice time this season, will certainly get a whole bunch more of it, but will he put up the points that goes along with that responsibility?
It certainly can't hurt playing with Vanek and Pominville, who currently sit at #2 and #6 in the entire NHL in points scored. The two wingers have been nigh unstoppable this season while playing with rookie center Luke Adam, and Leino thinks that he fill right in, saying to The Buffalo News, "They’re good players and I know they think the same way about hockey and their games and do the same kind of plays as I, so it should be pretty easy to read those guys." Here's hoping that the switch to the top line along with playing his old team (Philadelphia) on Wednesday will kick-start Leino's season, and here's hoping it doesn't derail his new linemates.
Luke Adam, previously the beneficiary of playing alongside two robotic point scoring machines will move back to the second line, playing left wing alongside Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. The other two lines of Gerbe-Goose-Kaleta and McCormick-Ellis-Boyes are still together.
As for the practice itself, Lindy Ruff is not happy with the way the team has played on their homestand, and let his players know it. Said the coach, “I was trying to get across that what we’ve done at home isn’t good enough. That if we practice a certain way at a certain level and that might have been one of the toughest practices we’ve had in a couple of years. It wasn’t acceptable what we did. Part of that was how we acted, part of it was how we played. It isn’t acceptable and if you’re going to play like that, we’ll practice even harder."
In injury news, Jochen Hecht sat out of practice today with "concussion setbacks". Said coach Lindy Ruff, "He wasn’t doing so well. It’s probably the first time since this process that I’m starting to get concerned." Tyler Ennis, meanwhile, continues to recover from his ankle sprain, and is doing dry land training while waiting for the OK from the team doctors to get back on the ice.