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HECHT HURT, MACARTHUR MOVED TO CENTER

Tuesday, 10.14.2008 / 3:35 PM / All News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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HECHT HURT, MACARTHUR MOVED TO CENTER
Clarke MacArthur (photo: Getty Images)
Jochen Hecht is the latest Buffalo centerman to fall victim to injury.

Already missing Paul Gaustad (thumb) and Tim Connolly (back) from the lineup, the Sabres are now also without Hecht who was sidelined in Monday’s contest against the New York Islanders, sustaining an upper body injury.

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“We’ve got him back in Buffalo,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ll know more after we hear from our doctors, but he won’t be playing tomorrow.”

Ruff said he expects a "ball-park figure" for Hecht's return later today. [UPDATED 6:30 PM - GM Darcy Regier announced that Hecht underwent surgery on his finger and will be out a couple of weeks]

Replacing the centerman Wednesday night as the Sabres take on the New York Rangers will be winger Clarke MacArthur.

The 23 year old will sit between Jason Pominville and Daniel Paille on the Sabres second scoring unit.

“We need him to step in and play a pretty prominent role for us,” Ruff said. “The strength we’ve been able to build off is the fact that even in some preseason games we had Clarke play center.

“I’ve liked both of his games, I’ve liked his intensity and the fact that he’s been given an opportunity should lead to a pretty good chance for him.”

MacArthur filled in for the Sabres down the middle in both regular season games this year with Connolly out (hairline fracture in the vertebrae of his back), bumping Adam Mair up to anchor the third line and leaving him to center Buffalo’s fourth line.

But this is the first time MacArthur will have to face the likes of top centerman, including the Rangers’ Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.

“It’s an opportunity for me to come in and show something,” MacArthur said. “They are going to be tough. I’m going to have to work hard, play smart… and we’re going to have to be ready to go.”

“We’ll keep it simple,” Pominville said. “I told Clarke we have to keep it simple, be reliable out there and if we do that… we’ll do well. For the time we were together in yesterday’s game I thought we did a good job of moving the puck around [and] worked hard.

“Clarke will have to adjust… It’s kind of like Jochen last year, moving to center when we had injuries. Clarke is a fast player, he’s creative, has a great shot and… brings a lot to the table. It’s a good opportunity for him to step in and help our team.”

The injury to Hecht also shifts Adam Mair to anchor the third line between Ales Kotalik and Maxim Afinogenov.

Newcomer Matt Ellis will play in his first game with the Sabres after being claimed off waivers from Los Angeles as he centers Andrew Peters and Pat Kaleta.

The Sabres take on the Rangers at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden before returning home to face the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night. Tickets are still available. All fans in attendance will receive a free Sabres magnet schedule courtesy of Perry’s Ice Cream. For tickets or more information, call 1-888-Go-Sabres or visit sabres.com.

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