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NOTEBOOK: DOWN THE MIDDLE

Tuesday, 04.07.2009 / 4:09 PM / Features
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: DOWN THE MIDDLE
Tim Connolly (Photo: Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres were missing some key personnel during Tuesday’s practice at HSBC Arena with Tim Connolly, Clarke MacArthur and Craig Rivet absent from the skate.

Head Coach Lindy Ruff would not disclose their injuries, but said he expects at least Rivet to be in the lineup Wednesday night in Toronto.

  Adam Mair:Audio | Video
  Jason Pominville: Audio | Video
  Lindy Ruff: Audio | Video
  Thomas Vanek: Audio | Video
  Lindy Ruff Interview Transcribed










“They are all banged up to different degrees. Some are being looked at by the doctor and we’ll have updates tomorrow whether they will be available.”

Ruff briefly alluded to Connolly’s ailment following Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The centerman did not take any faceoffs during the game, leaving MacArthur and Jason Pominville to step in down the middle.

“He had a little bit of an issue where we had to stick somebody else in to take draws,” was all Ruff would say of Connolly in his post-game comments.

With the wingers taking the faceoffs, Ruff said there was a shift in strategy while facing Detroit. In short, there were times he told his wingers to intentionally play the puck as if they were going to lose the draw to get a jump and create some pressure on the Red Wings.

“That’s the stat you don’t see,” Ruff said. “We’re keeping our own stats during the game and we know who has been beating who. We know that if Datsyuk has gone 3-0, or 4-0… then you might as well play to lose.

“If you go in the rotation and play to win and try to set up offensively, you get no pressure. If the odds are you’re going to lose it, you can create all types of pressure. You can get inside their defenseman and be on the forecheck right away. You might as well play the odds.”

Ruff said he has been working with Pominville recently to develop techniques for faceoffs and was pleased with his progress, winning 43 percent of draws in the game (3-for-7).
 
“I thought Pommer, on a couple, did a nice job even in his own end,” Ruff said. “It puts a guy in a different situation, but it’s something that you have to adapt to.”



Pat Kaleta skated with the team in a non-contact basis and is questionable for Wednesday. The winger is out with a head/neck injury.



The lines at Tuesday’s practice were as follows:

Drew StaffordDerek RoyJochen Hecht
Thomas Vanek – Dominic Moore – Jason Pominville
Dan Paille – Adam Mair – Paul Gaustad
Andrew Peters – Matt Ellis – Maxim Afinogenov



“It was quiet in there last night, walking in there after the game. It was quiet. My job today was to try and pick them up, just try and pick them up. We’ve got to create the hope, and hope that we get some good help around us and go and win a game tomorrow night.”

~Lindy Ruff

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