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Old Dogs Learn New Tricks

Monday, 09.19.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
It took NHL officials nine seconds in the Sabres first preseason game to show how serious they are about the new rule changes, whistling Washington forward Miroslav Zalesak for hooking just moments after the opening puck drop. One of the most important lessons for players to learn this preseason will be what can and can't be done in the new NHL.

"We are trying to adapt to the new standards," stated Sabres head coach, Lindy Ruff on Monday. "We are trying to be on the leading edge of that and so far, I think we have been. If we can continue to improve and stay away from the suspect calls, it will be in our favor."

Buffalo has been penalized a total of 19 times for 50 minutes in the first two preseason games, eight against Washington and 11 at Columbus, minimal violations when compared to Los Angeles' 96 penalty minutes in two games.

"Overall, I thought the officials did a good job of enforcing the new rules," stated Ruff. "Though, they are still trying to read certain plays. You can look at the Vanek penalty as an example. Those are tough calls."

At 2:45 of the first period against Washington, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek was called for playing with a broken stick, after a Columbus defenseman splintered his stick in two with a slash in an effort to slow the Austrian down.

Vanek sat in the box for two minutes, while no penalty was assessed to the Blue Jackets.

"(The officials) said they thought the slashing was up more, now that you can't tug at all," state Ruff. "I think they are right."

The forwards weren't the only players to feel the burden of the new rules.

The first goal of the game - a power-play marker by Washington left wing Matt Pettinger at 11:02 of the first period – came on the power play after Sabres goaltender Martin Biron was called for delay of game.

Biron played the puck in front of the goal line, turned and fired it around the boards, crossing the red line in the process. The referee instantly whistled the play dead.

"I have to look at it, but I don't think it was even close," stated Biron. "I thought I was going to be smart, run out and get the puck before it got to the goal line, but as I dropped it, I put it right in that zone."

"It's a quick play and we are really going to have to get practicing. I guess that's what the preseason is for."

"With the referees coming into the locker room before the game and explaining the new rules, I think everybody was hesitating when we got on the ice," stated Sabres co-captain, Daniel Briere. "You were wondering, can I do this or can I do that, even offensively."

In total, 40 penalties have been assessed in the team's first two games, 19 for Buffalo and 21 for their opponents.

Defensive Perspective
Despite allowing only two goals in each of the team's first two games, Ruff was disappointed with the team's defensive play on Saturday night, but was pleased the team's turnaround in last night's effort against Columbus.

"I thought we really adjusted well in the Columbus game," stated Ruff. "We really didn't let them cycle the puck around. The first 40 minutes of last night's game, we had a lot of puck possession."

Ruff's Thoughts on Biron and Miller's Preseason Performance
"I thought both of them were very good. Marty had a very sound game, making a lot of big saves. Ryan got beat by the one screen shot that he didn't see at all, and then the huge scrum in front of the net where we really thought the puck was covered. Miller was very good."

 

On the Road Again
The Sabres open a two-game road trip on Wednesday when the team travels to the Xcel Energy Center to face-off against the Wild at 7:00 PM, and travel to Washington for the rematch of Saturday night's contest against the Caps. It will be the second time in five days Washington and Buffalo have squared off. The puck drop for that game is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82