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ROY SHIFTS TO LEFT WING

Tuesday, 02.10.2009 / 9:24 AM / News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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ROY SHIFTS TO LEFT WING
Derek Roy (Photo: Bill Wippert)
Derek Roy knew it as soon as he entered the locker room Monday morning; for the first time in two years the centerman would be pushed to left wing.

“I saw me and Timmy [Connolly] had the same jersey color, so I figured it out,” Roy said, each colored practice jersey denoting a different line.

Playing alongside Drew Stafford, the trio makes up a highly skilled line for the Buffalo Sabres, who are trying to fill the void left by an injured Thomas Vanek.

Vanek, the team’s leading scorer with 32 goals and 52 points, will be sidelined for three to four weeks after fracturing his jaw Saturday night in Ottawa.

“It’s an opportunity for three very creative guys to be together,” said Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “It’s maybe something we look at in a game, it may be a line that isn’t even in tomorrow’s practice.”

The threesome has combined for six goals and 11 points in the last five games for the Sabres and together recorded 103 points on the year.

“At the same time, if you put all of your creative guys together there’s not enough smack on the line,” Ruff said. “A lot of times two skilled guys with a real good worker works even better. I liked it. I’d have to like it in a game.”

It isn’t the first time Roy has made the shift. He played wing in the 2006 playoffs alongside Chris Drury and Mike Grier, and more recently in the World Championships next to Carolina’s Eric Staal and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis

“It’s different playing on the wing but I like it,” Roy said. “I have two great linemates that pass me the puck and work hard together. It’s going to be one of those things that you have to adjust to quick.

“After you get the hang of it a few times it’s like riding a bike.”

The move put Clarke MacArthur back alongside Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville while Matt Ellis centered Pat Kaleta and Ales Kotalik. The remaining line consisted of Dan Paille, Adam Mair and Andrew Peters on Monday afternoon at HSBC Arena.

“Staff will get a bigger piece now [with Vanek out of the lineup],” Ruff said. “The power play will change the makeup a little bit… Clarke MacArthur gets a bigger look and some other guys that haven’t had that big a look will get some ice time that they haven’t had. We’ve had good success in the past with players being able to grab that ice time and do something with it.”

“We’re definitely going to miss the goals but everybody on this team, we’re together,” Stafford said of Vanek. “When anyone goes down you want to rally for the guy and make sure that you pick up where he left off… so we can move on and not dwell on things. Especially now it’s coming down to the wire where every point matters and every game matters.

“We need to bring it.”



Defenseman Andrej Sekera is nearing a return for the Sabres after missing the last 11 contests with an ankle injury.

Sekera skated with the team Monday and said he feels “pretty close to playing,” according to Ruff.

If he does rejoin the team, there is a possibility that Mike Weber could be reassigned to Portland.

“We’re just going to see how Andrej got through today and we’re still deciding.. whether we should play him or stay with our defenseman up front,” Ruff said. “Right now [Weber] is just staying with us.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82