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BTB BLOG: BERNIER SEES TOP-LINE BILLING

by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for Sabres.com. He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years.  Click here to send him an email.


 
Steve Bernier (photo: Jeffrey Barnes)
The trick to successfully inserting Steve Bernier into the Sabres lineup is by not overloading the 22 year old with too much information.

"Give him the basics of how we play and just let him play," Ruff said.

But that doesn't mean that Bernier will be sent packing to the fourth line and see under 10 minutes of ice time.  Make no mistake, the Sabres aren't going to drop an inch-thick binder on the kid's lap and ask him to recite breakout plays before puck drop, but they will expect him to make plays when he's on the ice.

That much shows by the responsibility that he's being given in his Sabres debut.

According to Ruff, Bernier has been slotted into right wing on the offensively gifted line of Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy.  

He's also been given tentative responsibilities in front of the net on the Sabres second power-play unit, a position previously held by Paul Gaustad.

 WANT MORE CONTENT?

Listen to Bernier's thoughts on joining the Sabres as he sits in Buffalo's locker room for the first time.

Bernier Interview  
"The Vanek-Roy-Stafford line was a good line and that was a big body on the right side," said Ruff referring to six-foot-one, 202-pound Drew Stafford as the big body.

With Bernier's addition, other players will be jostled around.

Ales Kotalik's flexibility will allow him to move to left wing across from right wing Jason Pominville and center Tim Connolly. This moves Clarke MacArthur to the third or fourth lines.

Dmitri Kalinin will take over Brian Campbell's role on the right side of Buffalo's second defensive pairing next to Jaroslav Spacek.  Nolan Pratt and Nathan Paetsch make up the third pairing.

Said Ruff:  "Short term, it looks like a fit but we'll see how it goes in a game."

Take a look at what tonight's lineup could possibly shape into.  

What do you think?  Does it look like a fit?

Feel free to email me any thoughts...
 
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