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by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres
Madison Square Garden (Photo: Getty Images)
Sitting here at Madison Square Garden before the Sabres morning skate with a few thoughts in my head. 

1. It was weird walking up to the fifth floor of this arena to get the playing surface. That's right. The fifth floor is the playing level, above the theater where they hold the NFL Draft. 

2. The seats here are ugly.  They are purple and teal.  They should either be blue and red or blue and orange for the Knicks. 

3. It's cool to look up into the rafters and see all the past greats that have played here (Messier, Richter, and Leetch), but what are Billy Joel and Elton John doing up there?  They mark the 12 consecutive shows that Joel played here and the 60 performances by Elton John.  That's impressive, but does it really warrant banners?
On to hockey. 

I can't wait to see the goaltending match-up tonight between Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist.  With all apologies to Martin Brodeur, this is an Eastern Conference must-see. 

They're both young, previous all stars and have playoff history against each other.  Should be great.  

A match-up that worries me is up the middle. 

The Rangers have Scott Gomez (Chris Drury is on right wing), Brandon Dubinsky, Lauri Korpikoski, and Blair Betts. Now that would not normally worry any Sabres fan, but consider that three of the Sabres top four centers are out with injury. 

Jochen Hecht joined Tim Connolly and Paul Gaustaud after undergoing surgery on his finger yesterday.  The Sabres will now have Clarke MacArthur at center on the second line, Adam Mair on the third, and Matt Ellis will make his Buffalo debut on the fourth line.  

This group has to do better job on draws than in Monday's lopsided win over the Islanders.  Buffalo won just 20 of 60 faceoffs (33%) against the Isles.  They need to be better than that in what should be a much tighter game. 
Kevin Sylvester

Here's a question from Benjamin Martin in Warsaw, NY

How do you you feel about our depth in the AHL this season? Since we've already seen Tim Connolly, and Jochen Hecht receive injuries, who do you think can step up best from Portland?

Lindy actually spoke about this after practice yesterday.  The best performer is the next call up and to date that has been Mark Mancari.  If they absolutely need a natural center then Marek Zagrapan is the guy. I love the depth, but the truth is we won't know until we see players up and I hope that doesn't happen because that would mean a rash of injuries.
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