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DREAMS COME TRUE TONIGHT IN OTTAWA

Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 2:18 PM ET
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE
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THE MORNING SKATE
MORNING SKATE LINES
Vanek-Roy-Pominville
Stafford-Adam-Szczechura
Foligno-Gaustad-Kassian
McCormick-Ellis-Whitmore

LINEUP NEWS
- Ryan Miller will start in goal tonight.
- Thomas Vanek got through the morning skate without any issues and is expected to play
- Marcus Foligno and Derek Whitmore will make their NHL debuts
- Patrick Kaleta and Brad Boyes both skated today but will not be in the lineup tonight

WHAT THEY WERE SAYING THIS MORNING:
Lindy Ruff (click to hear full audio)
Did you have to explain to Marcus what you expect from him tonight?
I think he understands his game; it’s based on being physical. He’s got good hands, he can get the puck to the net. We can use a big body around the net. I think getting in on the forecheck and disrupting Ottawa’s defensemen, that’ll be the key to his game.

What do you think this night means to Marcus and his entire family?
The family as a whole has gone through some tough times in recent years. To have Marcus play against Nick, and for Mike to be here… Mike is a former teammate of mine, and he’s a helluva guy. I think both kids are great kids. It’s a great family. For both his boys to be able to play in the NHL, you’ve gotta be one proud father. I think he’s going to be smiling from ear to ear.

Would you be disappointed if Marcus doesn’t do the leap when he scores his first goal?
I didn’t really think of that. If Marcus scores, I’ll do the leap. Put the camera on the bench boys.

Marcus Foligno (click to hear full audio)
Is it a bit surreal to have your dad here for the game AND you are playing your brother’s team?
It’s important to have family here, and it’s good that it’s in Ottawa because it’s close to everyone who can make it tonight. Nick is excited; I think he’s a little more excited than I am. It’s gonna be fun.

Have you thought about your first goal and what your celebration might be?
People want me to do the jump so I’m gonna have to do it. Right now I’m just focused on playing well, and playing how the team wants me to play. If it does happen, then good on me. But I’m just excited to get my first NHL game out of the way.

Derek Whitmore (click to hear full audio)
What does it mean for you to be able to put the Sabres uniform on tonight?
It definitely means a lot. This year has been really good so far. It means a lot to wear the Rochester Americans jersey being from Rochester. But at the same time, Buffalo was my team as a kid growing up. I remember playing a couple of Pee Wee hockey games back at Marine Midland Arena, and just wondering one day if I’ll ever be able to play in the NHL let alone play for the Buffalo Sabres. It’s definitely a dream come true and I’m looking forward to it.
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