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Kaleta takes a turn at center while Gorges is close to returning

Patrick Kaleta. Centerman.

Hey, it's worth a shot.

The Sabres forward practiced at the center position Tuesday morning at First Niagara Center, between Marcus Foligno and Chris Stewart. And after practice, it sounded like Ted Nolan was going to use Kaleta at center for some shifts when the Winnipeg Jets come to town Wednesday night.

"One thing he’s eager to play," Nolan said of Kaleta. "He likes to track people. He wants to get in and contribute so we’ll play him there, work him in. Not for defensive zone faceoffs and so forth but for an energy guy that’s exactly what we need."

Cody McCormick remains out of the lineup as he continues to go through the established concussion protocol.

That means the Sabres are down a center, but Nolan said after discussions with general manager Tim Murray, the team likely would not be recalling a player from Rochester.

Instead, they will go with Kaleta while possibly double-shifting Cody Hodgson and Zemgus Girgensons.

"I think we identified the other day we have one so-called No. 1 line and then three line," Nolan said. "It doesn't matter who plays where."

That top line is Girgensons centering Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis.

The other line combinations in practice were saw Hodgson with Drew Staffford and Nicolas Deslauriers while Torrey Mitchell centered Brian Gionta and Brian Flynn.

Taking part in practice was defenseman Josh Gorges. Expected to be out for weeks with a knee injury, he has already missed four games. But Gorges said he was ahead of schedule and he's certainly itching to get back into the lineup. Personally, he's surely targeting the home-and-home with his former team, Montreal, on Friday and Saturday.

"Obviously I’m pushing to be back as soon as possible and I’m hoping this weekend for a bunch of different reasons but right now it’s a day at a time," Gorges said. "We’ll see how I feel tomorrow and we’ll go for the next day. I’m ahead of schedule but I’m not there yet."

 

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