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by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
11.29.07, 1:50 p.m. ::::

Center Derek Roy was absent from practice Thursday morning.  Roy sustained a bruise on his foot when struck with a shot in the third period of Buffalo's 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday night.  He was held off the ice after being unable to put a skate on due to the soreness.

"There are always concerns when you miss," said head coach Lindy Ruff.  "We're hoping he'll be better tomorrow than he was today."

No official designation for the injury was announced and no timeline was given.

The smallish center was replaced by Paul Gaustad on a line with Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek.

Even though the two centers are poller opposites in certain areas of their games (size, style of play, etc.), Stafford indicated the success of the line would come from utilizing everyone's strengths and not trying to conform to a predetermined style.

"He's [Gaustad] a big body and he forchecks really hard," said Stafford.  "He finishes checks and creates space.  I think that's the biggest thing.  He knows how to use his body to create space for his linemates.

"Depending who's in on the forecheck, he's definitely good at making room for Vanek and myself.  That's how I like to play as well. 

"Playing with Roy and Vanek, I try to create space for them."

Other Notes:

-- Feeling better from his bout of the flu, Andrew Peters returned to practice on Thursday.

-- Adam Mair skated on the fourth line alongside Peters, Danile Paille and Mike Ryan.   Like the rest of his linemates, Mair sported a white jersey which generally indicates game readiness.  Mair has missed the last 10 games with an ankle injury.

"Adam is getting very close," said Ruff.  "If he doesn't play this weekend, he'll definitely play on the west coast trip."
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