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Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 2:42 PM ET / News
By Rob Crean  - Public Relations Director
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Hard work was the common theme heard from Sabres players following Saturday’s practice at The Northtown Center at Amherst, which came a day after a disappointing 3-0 loss to St. Louis at HSBC Arena.

“We’ve just got to work harder,” said leading goal scorer Drew Stafford.  “We didn’t have it pretty much the last two games and it’s unacceptable, so we had a good work day today and all we can do is just make sure we’re coming out working tomorrow (against Washington).”

We’ve just got to work harder. We didn’t have it pretty much the last two games and it’s unacceptable, so we had a good work day today and all we can do is just make sure we’re coming out working tomorrow. - Sabres Forward Drew Stafford
Jordan Leopold shared a similar sentiment when asked what he took out of Saturday’s practice.

“Number one, we’ve got to work hard.  We got outworked the last couple of games. We were sluggish in the Toronto game, last night we weren’t real crisp and it cost us two points.”

Friday’s shutout loss was preceded by a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Wednesday night, meaning the Sabres have scored once in their last two outings, which happened to be the first two games of a season-long six-game homestand.  Lindy Ruff said improvement will come when the players get back to working as a team, and the coach put an emphasis on puck support and positional play during Saturday’s practice. 

2/19 - Lindy Ruff Interview

“You can look pretty bad if you’re not working together. We weren’t working together as a team,” he said.  “The last two games, it’s turned into some individual effort that we’ve hung on to pucks too long, we’ve tried to carry pucks too long.  A big part of our game is our passing.  If our passing isn’t sharp, we don’t come up the ice very well.  I thought our passing might have been at a season-low (Friday night).”

The next step for Buffalo will be carrying the effort from the practice rink on Saturday into Sunday’s matchup with the Capitals.

“I think we had a great practice today.  Last night wasn’t good enough and we had a really good effort out here today at practice and we’ve just got to be going tomorrow” said Tyler Ennis.

The special 12:30 p.m. start time for Sunday’s game is the earliest puck drop the Sabres have had this season, which may cause players to make some changes to their gameday routines.

“Obviously the time just changes a lot. There’s no pregame nap or anything like that,” said Tyler Myers.  “As far as right before the game at the rink, that will all stay the game.  Obviously breakfast is going to be the pregame meal, so that will be different.  Nothing much is going to change.”

Leopold said he has played early afternoon games in the past during his time with Pittsburgh and Calgary, and compared it to the team’s usual practice time slot.

“I’m a little bit more used to it.  We practice around that same time every day, so it’s about the same.”
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