SAN JOSE – After flying for five hours on Sunday and adjusting to a time change, the Buffalo Sabres worked on shaking off any jet lag during practice Monday afternoon.
Sabres coach Ron Rolston put his team through many battle drills at practice at SAP Center
Hits were thrown in some of those drills along the boards in one of the most physical practices the Sabres have run all season. In one rep, defenseman Tyler Myers knocked down rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko.
After practice, Grigorenko said he thought having that type of practice after a long trip will be beneficial to getting off to a fast start against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. back in Buffalo.
“I thought that was a really good idea to have a really intense practice because we had a five-hour flight last night and the three-hour time difference,” Grigorenko said. “It was a little bit different. I thought we need to get some kind of energy practice, so we could come back and just kind of [get] a fast tempo.”
Rolston said he liked the energy the players showed and thought they had a good workout. He said that it’s important that players for players to not get down on their 2-13-1 record, and with some of the drills, it’s about creating an atmosphere that both challenges the players, but also allows them to loosen up a bit.
“When you’re in the situation we’re in, we’re obviously not happy with where we’re at record-wise, but we have to stay with the process and guys have to get better. In order to do that, you have to make the environment fun and challenging at the same time when they come to the rink,” Rolston said. “At any point when guys are dreading coming to the rink and guys are dreading coming to the rink, then the process is probably going to slow down or stop.
“We’re trying to do that and I think the energy’s still been good in terms of the players out on the ice. Even with the record, guys trying to make improvements and the energy’s been there. As a staff, we’re making sure that we’re paying close attention to that.”
The team flew out of Buffalo a day early to allow the players to adjust to the time change. On top of that and the long flight, the clocks turned back an hour to accommodate for daylight savings.
“Falling back an hour, it’s a little bit of adjustment even when you’re at home, so it’s good to get out here,” Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller said. “And it’s good to see a different part of the world for some of the young guys here who have never been this way.”
Rolston has often talked about the team’s compete level. Alternate captain Christian Ehrhoff thought that the practice on Monday can help them bring a tougher mindset into games.
“It’s something we have struggled with, but it’s something that usually it shouldn’t even be addressed,” he said. “That should be a gimme and we have to pick up that intensity as a team and a practice like today, where we had a lot of battles and worked hard, it’s going to help us moving forward.”
Ehrhoff played for the Sharks from 2003 until 2009. While he said he enjoys coming back and seeing old friends, he doesn’t necessarily miss the travel teams in the Western Conference have to deal with.
“In the West Coast, every trip feels like it’s a week-or-two-long road trip,” he said. “Guys here who never played in the West don’t even realize the big difference.”
A number of Sabres are taking part in Movember this month, growing moustaches for charity. Miller showed off his ’stache, which is developing a bit of a Rollie Fingers curl.
“I was anticipating Movember here and the guys like to take it down and grow during the whole month and I needed a little head start,” he said. “So I’ve had about a month-and-a-half on the beard so I wanted to give her a little bit longer. It’s got a little curl going here and see if we can get the full hoop going by the end of it.”
In how to maintain it, he said he’s looking for some advice.
“I’d appreciate it if people could maybe give me some pointers on what’s some good kind of gel or wax or something,” he said.
26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 63 Tyler Ennis
9 Steve Ott – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 78 Corey Tropp / 82 Marcus Foligno
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 22 Johan Larsson – 65 Brian Flynn
23 Ville Leino – 8 Cody McCormick – 21 Drew Stafford
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