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McKee not surprised by success of former team

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

The Buffalo Sabres probably weren't on anyone's radar entering the season but have emerged as one of the Eastern Conference's elite teams.

Jay McKee isn't surprised.

The Penguins defenseman played parts of 10 seasons in Buffalo and believes head coach Lindy Ruff and the Sabres organization are both among the best in hockey.

"The system never really changes with Lindy," McKee said. "And the system works."

Led by goaltender Ryan Miller and a nice mix of grit and talent, Buffalo is currently atop the Northeast Division and appears poised to snatch one of the conference's top three seeds.

McKee hasn't played for Buffalo since departing after the 2005-06 season. He has retained a fondness for the organization and isn't surprised by the Sabres' success.

"They have a good mix of skilled guys and grinders," he said, "and everyone knows about their goalie. I'm not surprised to see how good they've been."

• McKee was a surprise scratch from the lineup. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma ended his morning press conference by saying he would use the same lineup as Sunday against Detroit.

• Left wing Max Talbot remained out with an injury and did not take part in Monday's morning skate, which was optional. About half the Penguins skated yesterday morning.

• The Penguins will be off until Saturday when they visit Montreal, which represents their biggest break of the season other than the Olympic break.

• Detroit coach Mike Babcock complained Sunday that playing so many afternoon games, which generally take place for NBC's benefit, has hurt his team. Bylsma acknowledged Monday that dealing with afternoon games requires an adjustment, but indicated that his team appreciates that television networks want to showcase the Stanley Cup champions. "It's nice that they want us on," Bylsma said. "You adjust to it."




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