Sabres C Gaustad out for season

BUFFALO, NEW YORK (TICKER) —If the Buffalo Sabres hope to win a Stanley Cup championship this season, they will have to do it without Paul Gaustad.

Three days after suffering a laceration near his left ankle, Gaustad on Saturday was proclaimed out for the season with a severed tendon by coach Lindy Ruff.

Gaustad is expected to undergo surgery Tuesday.

“Paul is a big loss from a physical presence standpoint,” said Ruff, whose team leads the NHL with 80 points. “I’m not going to sit here and deny the loss. He’s a lot of grit for us, a lot of character. … We’re going to miss Paul, there’s no doubt.”

Gaustad, who has nine goals and 13 assists in 54 games this campaign, was cut by a skate in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Ottawa and expected to miss just one game. But the injury was discovered to be much more serious than originally believed and will end the center’s 2006-07 season.

“I’m Paul’s biggest fan,” Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller said. “I love the way he plays. I feel for him. You really don’t know how to react when someone tells you that.”

A seventh-round pick in 2000, the 25-year-old North Dakota native has 18 tallies and 46 points in 133 career games with the Sabres.

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Updated Sunday, Feb 11, 2007