NOTEBOOK: LOCKER ROOM REVISED
Wednesday, 12.31.2008 / 3:08 PM / Features
By Erin Pollina - Sabres.com
|Lindy Ruff (Photo: Getty Images)|
Following Buffalo’s dismal 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, Ruff revamped the dressing room moving the majority of players’ stalls.
“We put some different voices next to different guys,” Ruff said.
The defensemen were all placed next to each other, displacing forwards Adam Mair, Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly.
Connolly’s stall was moved between two centermen in Matt Ellis and Derek Roy while Mair and Pominville were moved between Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht.
Paul Gaustad sat between Clarke MacArthur and Vanek while Drew Stafford was placed next to fellow Rochester American teammates Nathan Paetsch and Dan Paille.
“It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time and a decision we made as coaches,” Ruff said. “That might not be the end of the changes. There may be some other stalls moved.”
“I like the change,” Pominville said. “The defense are one one side and the forwards on the other. That’s the way it should be.”
Other changes at practice pertained to lines.
Most noticeably was the shift Ruff made dropping Hecht down to the fourth line between Dan Paille and Andrew Peters.
“I was disappointed in the play of some of our key centerman and Jochen was one them,” Ruff said. “We need him to be better. I told him that face-to-face and he can’t hide from it. He has to be better… Derek [Roy] has to be better.”
Roy centered Vanek and Stafford during practice Wednesday afternoon. The shift left Pominville to play alongside MacArthur and Ellis.
The remaining line consisted of Ales Kotalik, Gaustad and Nathan Gerbe.
Mair was absent from the skate after hurting his knee in Tuesday’s game against the Capitals.
“We’ll see what he’s like tomorrow but he could be doubtful for the game [Thursday night in Toronto],” Ruff said.
Ruff added the pain in Mair’s knee is similar to what he dealt with last year before undergoing surgery in the offseason to repair it.