NOTEBOOK: MOVING FORWARD
Wednesday, 01.12.2011 / 2:23 PM / News
By Rob Crean - Web Content Coordinator
I don’t want to let, really what I look at as one period of hockey, ruin what we had going. It hurts, you learn from it, nobody likes losing, but we have to move on. - Head Coach Lindy RuffThe Sabres went through an hour-long practice session at HSBC Arena on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s meeting with Carolina, but last night’s loss to Philadelphia seemed to still be lingering.
“We let one go (last night vs. Philadelphia). I really think we ran out of patience in last night’s game,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said following practice. “We were playing a good game and we gave them the Grade A opportunities. It wasn’t that they created it themselves, we put pucks in a tough spot and overhandled pucks in tough areas that allowed them the rush opportunities that they don’t miss on often. Now we’ve got an opportunity to play Carolina who’s just above us. You call these four-point games.”
Entering play on Wednesday, the Hurricanes are only one spot ahead of Buffalo in the standings but have seven more points. Defenseman Tyler Myers said the Sabres need to play with more desperation no matter who the opponent is.
“I don’t know if it’s so much about facing Carolina, but every game is going to be desperate for us toward the end of the year here,” he said. “Obviously they’re ahead of us in the standings and we want to take two points from them here tomorrow night. We’re going to have to be very consistent and we’re going to have to play very hard if we want to have success and make the playoffs.”
The loss to Philadelphia was Buffalo’s first regulation loss since Dec. 27 and moved their record over the last six games to 4-1-1. Ruff doesn’t want the third period of the Flyers game, during which they allowed three unanswered goals, to discourage the team from continuing its success.
“I don’t want to let, really what I look at as one period of hockey, ruin what we had going. It hurts, you learn from it, nobody likes losing, but we have to move on.”
Tim Connolly wore a visor at practice today as opposed to the full shield or cage he had worn in recent games following nose surgery. He said he met with a doctor who gave him approval to move to the visor.
Ruff was asked about Connolly’s play of late, and while the coach was pleased with his defensive effort, he thinks Connolly can create more scoring chances by looking to shoot more often.
“I’d like to see him get more pucks to the net,” Ruff said. “His mindset is always to look for Thomas (Vanek)… he has that passing mentality and I think he could get on the board more often if he shot. Even if they don’t turn into goals, they may turn into Grade A scoring opportunities.”
Connolly reiterated Ruff’s thoughts on getting more shots on goal.
“We’ve just got to make quicker plays and get more pucks to the net,” he said.
Thomas Vanek was not on the ice for practice Wednesday. Ruff said the team’s leading goal scorer was sore from an unspecified injury.
“Thomas is a little banged up so we had to give him the morning off,” Ruff said. “We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow morning.”
Patrick Kaleta, who has missed the last five games with an upper body injury, practiced for the second straight day. Ruff informed the media, however, that the forward met with team doctors and is still at least a week away from returning to the lineup.