The Buffalo Sabres arrived safely in Mannheim, Germany this morning, around 9am local time. The team bussed directly from the airport to SAP Arena, where they had a light workout/practice, with all 21 skaters and 3 goalies participating.
Derek Roy is back with the team in full force, forcing coach Lindy Ruff to juggle the lines a bit. Looking at the lines that Ruff has put together brings only one word to mind: stacked.
(Thanks to John Vogl of the Buffalo News)
Each line gives the team a chance to score every time they’re on the ice, and their opponents really can’t focus on trying to stop one big line. Perhaps a bit unrealistically, or perhaps not, the Sabres have eight (EIGHT!) skaters on those top three lines that have a shot of at least hitting 20 or more goals. If Luke Adam manages to stay with the team the whole year, and manages to stay off the fourth line, he will play with some talented teammates, and he could be a dark horse to hit anywhere from 12-20 goals. Will these combinations remain? Well, we all know Lindy came from the Scotty Bowman school of coaching, so don’t hold your breath. But I like what I see here, especially when you can put a guy like Gaustad on the fourth line.
The Sabres will play Adler Mannheim in an exhibition game here on Tuesday night (1:30PM EST), in preparation for Duck hunting season, which opens on Friday against Anaheim. That game will be played in Helsinki, Finland, and is a 1PM puck drop, our time.
The team will then fly back to Germany, and look to dethrone the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (2PM face-off, our time). That game will be played in Berlin, and will conclude the Sabres European “business trip”, where they will hopefully fly home 2-0.
The Pegula family has a documentary crew following them and the team throughout the trip, and will no doubt be a very interesting insight to the inner workings and behind-the-scenes “goings-on” this week. I’m looking very forward to seeing that.
Good luck, boys, and get home safe!
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