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Ruff facing tough line call

There are at least three million reasons why Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov are going to play whenever they're healthy enough to get back on the ice. Yep, as in the dollars the Sabres are paying them this season to score 12 goals combined after 53 games. Yeeeesh.

Coach Lindy Ruff said today that Connolly is closer to returning than Afinogenov and could play as soon as Sunday night against Florida. I'm not liking that report. I like the Sabres' four lines right now more than at any time this year. The rundown:

1). Derek Roy-Thomas Vanek-Drew Stafford

2). Jochen Hecht-Jason Pominville-Daniel Paille (in recent games, this has easily been the top line)

3). Paul Gaustad-Clarke MacArthur-Ales Kotalik

4). Adam Mair-Michael Ryan-Patrick Kaleta

Who are you taking out of that mix for Connolly and Afinogenov to come back in, contribute little offensively and potentially be defensive liabilities? Connolly would certainly help on the power play but he has three even-strength goals all season. That's a joke.

Kaleta is almost certainly going to be the odd man out back to Rochester. His physical presence will be missed, although he does need to learn to play the puck and his position more and not run hari-kari all over the ice to drill guys too.

So how would you "fix" the lines that I say aren't broken?

---Mike Harrington

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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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