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NOTEBOOK: TRADE DEADLINE APPROACHES

ENDS AT 3 P.M. WEDNESDAY

Tuesday, 03.03.2009 / 3:39 PM / Features
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: TRADE DEADLINE APPROACHES
Jaroslav Spacek (Photo: Bill Wippert)
The Buffalo Sabres are bracing for the NHL trade deadline the best way they know how:

“We don’t think about it,” Jaroslav Spacek said. “We’ve got the team here. We’ve worked all season long like this and we don’t think about the deadline.

“It’s something that is every year, but you just have to let it go. If [a trade] happens, it happens. I was traded a couple of times… The first time it’s hard, by the second time it’s easy.”

As a veteran of 10 NHL seasons - and part of three trades in his career - Spacek said some younger players have asked him about the possibility of moving to another team.

“I say don’t worry about it. When it happens it happens, I can help you after. I have the list at home, we’ll pull it out from the drawer and just do it,” he laughed. “Everyone is asking, everyone is nervous, but everything will be over at 3 p.m. and we will have a game at 7:30 p.m. that we need to win [against the Montreal Canadiens].”

Sabres Captain Craig Rivet believes Wednesday's game takes precedence over what may or may not happen as the deadline approaches.

“I think the focus is focusing on what we have in the room right now,” Rivet said. “I think that’s the mindset that each and every player has to take. Not sitting and waiting for something to happen, we need to worry about what we have in the dressing room now."

Rivet speaks from experience. The defenseman was traded twice in his career, including being dealt to Buffalo from the San Jose Sharks this summer. 

“You can’t control what’s going to happen in the next day and a half," he said. "I think our focus is preparing for this next hockey game and that’s the only thing that we have to worry about.

"Getting Thomas [Vanek] back is a huge addition to our hockey team and bringing Max [Afinogenov] back… right there it feels like we made two moves to make our team stronger. We are looking forward to getting back on track.”



While there is still no timetable for Ryan Miller’s return, Ruff said the netminder is progressing with the ankle injury.

“He’s been going through rehab,” Ruff said. “With ankle sprains you have good days and bad days… we just hope he keeps progressing and get to a point where eventually you’ll have to test it. We’ve really got no timeframe but I can just tell you that he seems to be doing really well with that.”



Matt Ellis was absent from practice Tuesday afternoon. Ruff said the centerman has been sick with the flu for the last few days and opted to give him the day off.



The lines at Tuesday’s practice had a different look. Most notably was the shift of Thomas Vanek back on a line with Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford.

“I think if you look at January and who was playing together, Connolly, Vanek and Stafford were a pretty good unit for us,” Ruff said, referring to the team’s 9-4 record that month. “Yesterday we took a look at what Tim would look like there and with Van, it looks like he’s going to play, I’d like to get those two guys back together.”

Derek Roy practiced with Ales Kotalik and Maxim Afinogenov while Jason Pominville was on a line with Jochen Hecht and Paul Gaustad. The remaining unit consisted of Dan Paille, Adam Mair and Pat Kaleta, leaving Andrew Peters and Clarke MacArthur as the odd men out.


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