Shuffled deck, familiar hand

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So we’d heard Tuesday night that Kirill Kabanov was on his way back, that Sean Wiles was on his way in, that it sure looked like Chris Langkow was joining them.

True on all of them come this morning — though Kabanov’s still en route — but the other half of that equation turned out to be Greg Miller and Jason Clark going to Stockton. The two of them had been playing mostly on the fourth line lately.

“They have an opportunity to develop their bottom-six role,” Scott Pellerin said, to be readier to play up here, whether it’s a few minutes on the fourth line or 12-14 on the third. “You have to have that in your skill set. They’re going to go and play top-six minutes at times, but we’re asking them to develop that penalty-killing role, that checking role, that hard-to-play-against role.”

It’s possible the shuffle isn’t over. The injured list had settled in at two or three for a few weeks, but today it took a while to run through them all. Newest first: Andrey Pedan has been dealing with a lingering upper-body injury and isn’t expected to play this weekend. Sounds like they’re hoping rest does the job.

Possibly the brightest side: Brett Gallant took most of practice today in a no-contact red jersey. He left early, but Pellerin said that was planned as the team got into more physical drills. “That was for our safety,” Pellerin quipped. Calvin de Haan left early but a little later; he’s had some tightness, the coach said, so he was excused from the final skate.

John Persson has been able to ride the bike, but they’re looking at next weekend for his return, not this weekend. Marc Cantin remains day-to-day. Chris Bruton remains a couple of weeks away, but he may get back on the ice on his own tomorrow. And no update at the moment on Joe Finley, but one could come soon.

Without Cantin and Pedan, Justin Johnson skated with the defensemen. That left 11 forwards, with the new PTOs aligned with Nick Larson, with Johan Sundstrom between Jon Sim and Riley Wetmore, with the Lee-Strome-Halmo line still together, with Quine and Diamond together.

Think that’s everyone.

By far the most momentous part of the whole thing (cough): Langkow wore No. 54 on his helmet. That’s the lowest number that has never been worn by a Sound Tiger. Wiles had 24.

Housecleaning in Buffalo. Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan together on the dais? We’ve seen that before somewhere.

From our Amanda Cuda: Griffin Hospital and the team are promoting men’s health with a ticket offer.

And echoing Brian Compton, congratulations to Kimber Auerbach and his wife, who had a baby.

Michael Fornabaio

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