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Morning Skate | Hall to sit out Tuesday's game in New Jersey

Thompson brothers to square off; Ruotsalainen could make NHL debut

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Taylor Hall will not be in the lineup for the Sabres against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, interim head coach Don Granato announced. 

The scratch comes with the April 12 trade deadline less than a week away. Hall is a pending unrestricted free agent after signing a one-year deal to join the Sabres this past offseason. 

Hall ranks third on the Sabres with 19 points (2+17) in 37 games this season. 

"It's part of the business, we all know that," Granato said. "Taylor knows that. … This game keeps you in the moment and that's preparation for New Jersey. We had a good meeting on them this morning and our focus points and objectives going into the game." 

Video: PREGAME: Granato

Arttu Ruotsalainen could step into the lineup and make his NHL debut in Hall's place. Ruotsalainen was reassigned to the taxi squad Monday after leading Rochester with 13 points in 13 games to begin this season. Read more about his journey to the NHL here. 

Now, onto more notes going into tonight's game. 


A special night for the Thompson family

Tyce Thompson, the younger brother of Sabres forward Tage Thompson, will make his NHL debut for the Devils. Their mother will be on hand to watch the brothers face off for the first time at hockey's highest level. 

"It's awesome," Tage said. "Obviously I'm very excited for him, it's something he's worked very hard for. Obviously I remember my first game and the excitement, so I'm excited that I get to share this opportunity and this moment with him."

Tyce, 21, was a fourth-round pick by the Devils in 2019. He played three seasons at Providence College, earning a trip to the 2019 Frozen Four in Buffalo on a Friars team that was co-captained by current Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson. 

Granato, who coached Tage with the U.S. National Team Development Program, said he saw both brothers skate at USA hockey camps at young ages and knew this day could be in the cards. 

"It was really easy for me to see that the potential was there," he said. "To actually be part of it, knowing the family, having coached Tage at the amateur level, this is pretty neat to be a part of."


Okposo to play

Kyle Okposo will play after taking a maintenance day on Monday. He has seven points (2+5) in his last seven games played dating back to March 16. 


Scouting the Devils

New Jersey finds itself in a similar situation to Buffalo, with veteran forward Kyle Palmieri set to sit out a second straight game as the team explores potential trades. Palmieri has spent the past six years with the Devils and ranks second on the team with eight goals this season.

Pavel Zacha leads the Devils with 20 points, including a series-high seven (1+6) in six games against the Sabres. Miles Wood has scored four of his team-lead 11 goals against Buffalo, his hometown team. 

Mackenzie Blackwood is expected start in net. 


Tune in

Coverage on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m. You can also listen to the game on WGR 550. The puck drops at 7. 

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