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NOTEBOOK: PRACTICE WEEK CONTINUES

Tuesday, 02.01.2011 / 3:59 PM / News
By Rob Crean  - Public Relations Director
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NOTEBOOK: PRACTICE WEEK CONTINUES

Lindy Ruff broke Tuesday’s practice into two segments as the team continued to prepare for its return to game action on Friday against the Penguins, who play the Rangers and Islanders this week before hosting Buffalo.  After going through a 30-minute workout Tuesday morning, the Sabres cleared the ice so it could be resurfaced, then returned for an hour-long scrimmage.  The scrimmage ended when Drew Stafford scored a goal during a four-on-four overtime simulation.

The nine-day layoff is unusual in most seasons, but Steve Montador and Thomas Vanek both likened it to last year’s Olympic break.

Steve Montador

“It’s something that we’re familiar with, I mean we had the Olympic break last year,” Montador said.  “Practices have been pretty tough so far and it’s obviously in anticipation of Friday’s game knowing that Pittsburgh’s going to have a couple of games under their belts and the fact that we’ve had that time off and we’re well rested.”  

2/1 - Steve Montador Interview

Vanek, who along with Craig Rivet returned to practice Tuesday after both players missed Monday’s session due to illness, sees this week as a chance to shake off the rust.

“It’s kind of like the Olympic break for us.  You come back, you get to practice, you get the swing of things and make a run for it here in February,” Vanek said.  “I think time off is always good to rejuvenate.”

For Ruff, this week is similar to the first week of December when the Sabres had five days to prepare for a game against Columbus, which the Sabres won 5-0 in one of their most dominant performances of the season.  He added that he was pleased with the intensity of Tuesday’s scrimmage and plans to make Wednesday’s skate a more physical practice to prepare for the next game.

“Tomorrow is going to be more of a physical day for us,” Ruff said.  “A lot of tomorrow will be two-on-two and one-on-one and three-on-three battle drills, forecheck drills, there will be a lot more contact. That is to just have everybody ready for the real deal.  Today wasn’t a lot in that sense, it was a lot of skating and passing and positional and system stuff.”

Another challenge presented on Friday will be to see whether the Sabres can complete their first three-game winning streak of the season.  On seven different occasions, Buffalo has won back-to-back games, but has yet to string together three in a row.  Four of those two-game winning streaks have come within the last 13 games, a stretch that has seen the Sabres go 9-3-1.

With Vanek’s return to the ice, the lines at Tuesday’s practice had a familiar look to them.  Jochen Hecht centered Vanek and Jason Pominville; Tim Connolly skated between Tyler Ennis and Stafford; Paul Gaustad continued to play with Nathan Gerbe and Cody McCormick; and Rob Niedermayer had Mike Grier and Patrick Kaleta on his wings.


For much of the season, the Sabres have stressed the need to get offense from a variety of sources. Lately, they’ve been scoring by committee.

The team entered the break on a two-game winning streak and received eight goals by eight different players in those games.  Last Tuesday in Ottawa, two players scored their first goals of the season as Paul Byron notched his first career NHL goal and Shaone Morrisonn got his first in a Sabres uniform when he netted the overtime game-winner.

“We need a lot of different people to produce for us. We need the young guys, we need the old guys, we need defensemen getting on the score sheet. It’s going to take a lot to get to where we want to go,” Ruff said.

The Sabres currently have six players with at least 10 goals and have received 25 combined goals from their defensemen, led by Jordan Leopold's 10.


Luke Adam picked up an assist in Monday’s AHL All-Star Classic as Adam and the Eastern Conference defeated the West by a score of 11-8.  The Portland Pirates resume play Saturday versus the Connecticut Whale.

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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