Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff
made one big decision Thursday -- who his captain for the 2010-11 season would be. He had another to make as well -- who would be the odd man out from his talented defense corps?
The answer Friday morning at Hartwall Areena was Mike Weber
, as Marc-Andre Gragnani
will be in the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks
for the opening game of the season in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).
"(Gragnani) been a big part of our power play with the way he moves the puck," Ruff said. "Offensively, he did a very nice job for us at the end of the year and in the playoffs and even defensively he was quite strong. I think special teams is a big part and he's going to be a big, big player for us."
Weber had 4 goals and 17 points in 58 games for the Sabres last season. He also played in all seven Sabres playoff games. Gragnani played nine regular-season games for the Sabres, but had a breakout performance during the playoffs. He had a team-leading 7 points in the seven games against the Philadelphia Flyers
and averaged the third-most minutes per game, behind Tyler Myers
and the since-departed Chris Butler
"It is extremely hard taking Mike out of the lineup, but we knew that … we knew that we have seven defensemen and we're going to have one really disappointed player," Ruff said. "There will be situations where we can utilize Weber, and we need our top six to play well for us.
"I'm going to just go game-to-game. I don't think there is ever going to be anything set in stone and I don't think there ever has to be."