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BTB BLOG: INJURIES, STRATEGY AND KING HENRIK

by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for Sabres.com. He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years.  Click here to send him an email.


 
Paul Gaustad (photo: Getty Images)
Jan 15, 2008, 3:50 PM EST

Maxim Afinogenov (groin) didn't suffer a setback on Tuesday morning but didn't improve either.  The injured winger simply remained the same, which wasn't what the team was hoping for.

"Max doesn't seem to be getting any better," said head coach Lindy Ruff.  "He's gotten to a point where he's frustrated. We thought today would be a better day for him.  It wasn't."

After participating in all drills during Monday's practice, Afinogenov left Tuesday's skate early.

The good news for Buffalo, all players that played in Saturday night's game and sat out practice yesterday - Paul Gaustad, Toni Lydman, Thomas Vanek - were back in action Tuesday morning.  

Jaroslav Spacek (shoulder) skated prior to the morning workout and will make the trip to New York tomorrow.

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Watch or listen to Lindy Ruff's press conference in its entirety.
Ruff Interview Video
Ruff Interview Audio  
"[Spacek] won't play but he'll probably practice with us tomorrow," said Ruff.  

"He got a good workout in today, and if we get a good workout tomorrow and a good practice Thursday, I think he would be available -  if things go the way they're going - on the weekend."

Derek Roy (shoulder) participated in practice while sporting a red, "no contact please" jersey.

And...

Tim Connolly (groin) is improving but will be held out of practice until "he can participate at full speed," according to Ruff.

To quote Ruff, "Is that it? Did we get them all?"

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Don't expect any massive changes from the team in regards to their system on the ice.  Ruff is confident that staying with what the players know best is the correct course of action over heading back to the drawing board in mid-season.

"You've got to trust that you've got to put the work in and you've got to stay with it," he said.  "The easy thing to do would be to try to blow-up what you're doing.  

"That would create mass confusion."

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The Sabres may have gotten lucky in their timing against Henrik Lundqvist.  King Henrik, as he's called by the New York faithful, is in a bit of a slump and is averaging 3.2 goals against in his last 10 starts.  Lundqvist allowed three goals off just 22 shots against Pittsburgh Monday night.

In comparison, Ryan Miller has only allowed 2.4 goals per game in his last ten starts.

"We're playing a team that has had the same type of misfortune that we've had," said Ruff.  "You can look at their game last night where they drastically outshot Pittsburgh - shots in the second period were 17-2 - and they come out with nothing.

"They may be feeling a lot like we feel, 'What do we have to do to win a game here?'"

The Rangers are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.

(Note: Shootout goals are team goals.  They do not count for the player who scored them or against the goaltender that they were scored upon.)

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Lindy Ruff's Morning Interview (1/15/08)

 
 
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