After suffering an injury during the team’s final practice before the start of the regular season, Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta is set to return to the lineup on Thursday in Buffalo’s first road game of the season against the Florida Panthers.
Gionta participated in the team’s morning skate at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Afterward, head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed to the media that the captain will draw back into the lineup. What he didn’t say, however, was who would be sitting in his place.
Bylsma said that he hasn’t informed the forward that will be sitting of his plans, and that pregame warm ups could see 13 forwards dressed on the ice. Many expected Sam Reinhart to be the odd man out once Gionta returned, but based on the morning skate, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Reinhart was working on the Sabres’ power-play unit, which seems to indicate he won’t be out of the lineup. That being said, until we get official word, the speculation will continue to run.
Also announced was that Chad Johnson will, once again, start in the crease for the Sabres after earning his first win in blue and gold against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.