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10-03-2010, 11:18 AM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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Sabres' regular-season preview:

Up front it looks like Ruff will go with the old reliable line of Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Stafford, which has proved very fruitful at times in the past, but all three have also shown stretches of enigmatic play, which forces Ruff to shuffle the lines.

The second line will probably feature Tim Connolly at center with Jason Pominville on the right wing and Tyler Ennis on the left side. All three have playmaking ability while Connolly and Pominville possess rocket shots. Ennis plays a lot bigger than he actually is down low and while this line may lack grit and size, it should make up for it in offensive ability. Pominville has been one of the most consistent players in the league throughout his career and when Connolly is on his game, he makes everybody around him better.

The third line should be a formidable defensive line to check the opponent's top line. Newcomer Rob Niedermayer will play center with Jochen Hecht on the left wing and Mike Grier on the right side. It would surprise me if this line totaled anything more than 20 goals for the entire season, but it should neutralize the top scorers in the Northeast Division and allow the Sabres' skilled players to shine offensively.

I believe Paul Gaustad and Patrick Kaleta will be fixtures on the fourth line with the left side switching between Cody McCormick and Nathan Gerbe. While Gerbe is small in stature he should fit in nicely with his aggressive play across the ice from Kaleta.

On the back end Tyler Myers and Shaone Morrisonn will make a nice top defensive pair. Myers likes to jump up in the play on occasion while Morrisonn seems to be very comfortable staying back on the blue line.

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