BUFFALO – Top NHL lines rarely get benched long, especially on anemic teams with little or no depth.
So why did coach Ron Rolston sit the Matt Moulson, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis trio the final 26 minutes of the Sabres’ 6-2 loss Friday in Anaheim.
“I’m not going to discuss that,” Rolston said after practice today inside the First Niagara Center.
As expected, the 3-15-1 Sabres, who have just 31 goals, mixed up their lines today.
Captain Steve Ott went on the right wing beside Moulson and Hodgson. Meanwhile, Ennis centered Drew Stafford and Ville Leino, a healthy scratch Friday.
Moulson clearly didn’t want to discuss the benching, although he said he “had a good talk with coach today.”
“We’re going to move on from that,” Moulson said. “Obviously, in sports you got to put things behind you pretty quickly.”
What did Rolston want the line, which hadn’t been scored on, to do differently?
“Just to make sure we’re working,” Moulson said. “I think when you’re relied upon to produce in this league on a top line, obviously, you have to be the best line out there each game. Obviously, the staff didn’t feel like we were last game. I didn’t think we were. So move on.”
Hodgson said he hadn’t spoken to Rolston.
“That’s up to the coach,” he said about sitting. “I just did my best to encourage the other guys.”
Ott’s presence gives the Sabres’ No. 1 trio some grit.
“We have to try to get some heaviness on that top line,” Rolston said.
Meanwhile, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (lower body) will return Tuesday when the Sabres host Los Angeles. The German missed one game. Defenseman Mike Weber (broken thumb) practiced today but likely won’t return until the weekend.