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More line shuffles and a Neuvirth start as Sabres return from West Coast

The line combinations changed again as the Buffalo Sabres had an intense and high-energy practice at First Niagara Center Monday morning.

Marcus Foligno is off the great center experiment, moving back to wing with Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta.

Cody Hodgson and Drew Stafford are playing the wing alongside Torrey Mitchell.

Chris Stewart on the wing with center Tyler Ennis hopes to open up some more space for Ennis along with winger Matt Moulson.

The line combinations remain a work in progress for coach Ted Nolan. A team with so many new faces and a influx of young talent takes more than just training camp to sort it all out.

"Sometimes it takes more than a month. More than two months. More than three months," Nolan said. "Sometimes it takes a little while to adapt a whole culture change. You don’t do those things overnight. … Every organization when you’re going through a transitional period is not going to be last to first overnight in too many cases.

"Here we’re doing it the old fashioned way, nice and slow, methodical and thought-out and developing and changing the culture goes with that. … I'm not saying it’s going to take a long, long time. I’m saying it’s going to take longer than a a month."

Michal Neuvirth will start in goal for the Sabres when they visit Toronto tomorrow. Neuvirth started twice on the Sabres West Coast road trip and Nolan said it's about going with the best goalie at the moment, not usurping Jhonas Enroth.

"We put in Neuvirth because we felt back-to-back games," Nolan said as the Sabres played Anaheim and L.A. on back-t-back nights. "And all of a sudden he came out and had a great game. So it’s not that we’ve given up on Jhonas it’s just the hot goaltender you’ve got to go with now."

Expect to see Sam Reinhart in the lineup in Toronto. No decision has been made on where to put 19-year-old defenseman Nikta Zadorv. He has played one game -- the Sabres loss to the Kings -- and still has junior eligibility remaining.

"It’s day to day with Nikta what we’re going to do," Nolan said. "We’ll adjust that again. Last game I thought he played well … he’s getting better and better at practice but you’ve still got to remember he’s a young player in this league. If he stays around here, he’ll get in some more games."

 

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