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Gaustad to debut Thursday

Paul Gaustad, out since the preseason because of surgery on his thumb, is skating on a regular line this morning in Amherst Pepsi Center. He is centering the fourth line with Andrew Peters and Patrick Kaleta on his wings. It's a sign Gaustad is ready to return, possibly as soon as Thursday's game against Tampa Bay.

We'll have to wait for Lindy Ruff's post-practice comments. Of course, the Sabres could be getting him ready in case fellow center Adam Mair is disciplined for his post-game transgressions Monday night when he went into the Ottawa dressing room area.

Mike Weber is still with the Sabres, with Henrik Tallinder not skating because of a cut above his ankle suffered Saturday in Colorado. Jochen Hecht and Tim Connolly are skating with Matt Ellis as extras.

POST-PRACTICE UPDATE

Gaustad will indeed play Thursday against the Lightning. Weber will also play his second game, as Tallinder is out until at least the weekend.

Mair, meanwhile, is out $2,500 in fines but has not been suspended.

---John Vogl

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