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Stafford Returns To Sabres Roster

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
With Maxim Afinogenov still out with an upper-body injury, the Buffalo Sabres needed one more forward to fill out the front 12 for the game tonight against the Florida Panthers at HSBC Arena (MSG, WGR-550 AM, 8 p.m.).

Buffalo recalled forward Drew Stafford from the Rochester Americans on Friday morning.

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff will once again pair Stafford with Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek in Afinogenov's stead on Buffalo's third line. The rookie from Milwaukee, Wisconsin played alongside the pairing during his first career NHL start last Sunday in Buffalo's 4-3 overtime victory in New York.

That night, Stafford saw nearly 13 minutes of ice time and recorded the primary assist on Daniel Briere's game winner.

Ruff could have called up Stafford and Daniel Paille, as they both played against the Rangers, but only Stafford got the call.

"I thought both players played very well for us, but Drew currently has a little more finish," said Ruff of Stafford and Paille. "Looking at that line with Roy and Vanek, we're looking for a guy that can help set up plays and also help finish."

Stafford was itching for the chance to play again in Buffalo after his first taste of NHL action.

"I was ready to go if they were going to give me the call," said Stafford. "I really don't care how I get here but this is where I want to be. While I'm here, I'm just going to focus on playing well and having some fun."

Even though he did not practice with the Sabres during the week, both Ruff and Stafford are confident is his grasp of Buffalo's systems.

"He was on the short-get ready list for the Rangers game and did fine," Ruff added. "We went through a couple of Rangers video clips with him and talked to him on the plane so he should be good to go."

"Obviously you do want to practice with the players during the week to get used to them," said Stafford. "But those guys are so good that if you step in there and can move the puck and make plays, then it's not going to be a problem."
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