Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is going to name a captain for his team today -- but he still wasn't letting on Tuesday if it was going to be a permanent choice or an extension of last season's monthly rotation.
"We'll save that for [today's] press conference to keep a little drama in it," Ruff deadpanned Tuesday in HSBC Arena.
Several players have said in recent days they wouldn't mind seeing Ruff simply name a permanent captain. Winger Jason Pominville, who finished last year as the March-April captain, said he has no idea what Ruff will do but that players have met on the issue in the last couple days.
"Everybody dreams about having a 'C' as a kid," said center Derek Roy. "We've got a bunch of good leaders in this room and it could go to anybody. If you're not a captain, you still have to lead in the same way on and off the ice."
Ruff said the team's final roster move should be coming today as well. The Sabres are currently carrying 13 forwards (the injured Paul Gaustad will start the season on injured reserve) and eight defensemen. So it figures the blue line will be the spot for the subtraction.
The most logical move would be to send 20-year-old blue liner Mike Weber back to Portland of the American Hockey League to start the season, rather than have him play modest minutes here, but Weber's physical game is a plus in the eyes of the coaching staff.
Tim Connolly (back) and Drew Stafford (ear) practiced fully Tuesday and Ruff revealed he had them skate in the arena Monday as well while the rest of the team was off. Connolly played in just one preseason game, the Sept. 23 loss to Montreal in Roberval, Quebec, but said over the weekend he expects to play in Friday night's season opener.
"We liked how [Monday] went and today was more of a demanding practice for them and they got through it fine," Ruff said. "I'm pleased where both of them are at. I would have liked to have seen Tim in a few games but you deal with that and move on."
Stafford suffered what's termed "cauliflower ear," a common injury among boxers and wrestlers, from a blow during a fight last week in Minnesota. He's had his left ear drained twice and stuffed with bandages.
"It was more a precautionary thing," Stafford said. "I didn't want to have an ear that's looked like I've gone a few rounds. I wanted to make sure I had a decent-looking ear."
In advance of the opener, an "NHL Face-Off 2008" logo has been painted just inside the blue lines at both ends of the rink. It will appear in all arenas for the first few weeks of the season.