(The questions below were submitted by Sabres Insiders through the Weekly Report, a weekly recap that is delivered to Insider's emails.)
Q: What do you think right before you go to block a shot? Do you teach other Sabres your technique? John J., Fairport, NY
A: Right before I block a shot, I'm usually thinking of positioning and where my man is on the ice. In order to get in front of a shot, I have to leave my man so I want to know where he is in case they attempt to make a pass. I try not to let any shots through though.
Helping teammates ... most guys have their own style. If guys ask, I'm glad to help them but most guys either have the anticipation on getting to the shot or they box guys out. I don't really go out and tell guys unless they ask.
Q: As a defenseman, how have the new rules impacted the way you play your position? Has your style changed in order to adjust? Jennifer V., Niagara Falls, NY
A: I'm very happy with the new rules. I think it makes for a more exciting game for players and fans. As a defenseman, I think they are beneficial although we can't hold players up and they can't hold us up as well. If we get a puck low in our end in previous years, if I skated behind the net I would get hooked three or four times. Now, they can't do that so it makes the game a little easier for us too.
Q: Do you feel that the "lost season" helped you completely refocus and recover both mentally and physically? Aaron K., Buffalo, NY
A: I think for me, the year off was the best thing that could have happened, just for peace of mind and for my body to heal after tearing my MCL in the same name knee twice in two years. My body feels better than it ever did and I accredit that to the year off.
Q: As the only player left on the team from the 1998-1999 season when you went to the Stanley Cup finals, what are some of the similarities that you have noticed between that team and this year's team? Marissa B., Buffalo, NY
A: I think this team works as hard as that team did, if not harder. That team never gave up and fought for every point we got. I think we see the same thing now. We don't have any superstars on this team. At that time, we had Miro Satan. He was our main guy. Now we have guys on all four lines that are chipping in and making up for not having a "go-to guy."
Q: What site do you play poker at and what is your name? Brian L., Crofton, MD A: I'm going to leave my name out but I play on Poker Stars.
Q: You seem like they type of guy that, during the off-season, likes to fish, drink beer and hang with a few friends. Is this correct or totally off? Mark T., Lebanon, PA
A: I love fishing but I did that when I was growing up. I don't do it as much anymore. I do enjoy hanging out with friends but I also have a family. I like spending most of my time with my one-year-old daughter. In the off-season what I do most leisurely is probably tennis.
Q: Could you share some basic shot blocking tips on how to minimize the number of times you take a puck in the "soft spots" in your gear? Bill T., Churchill, NY
A: I think it's all positioning and anticipation. You have to anticipate the guy taking the shot and position your body right. A lot of the shots that I block, I'm not necessarily laying down. In a situation where you have time to get your body in position, you're going to try to take the shot in the shin pads.
Q: Do you ever have second thoughts right before you block a shot, like "I shouldn't be doing this"? Brian C., Amherst, NY
A: There are times when I've blocked a shot and wonder why I did it. It's usually when the shots are high and I catch it with one of my hands. It's not something you think about, you just see it coming and react. Guys can shoot the puck upwards of 100 mph in this league, so when you catch it with your hand our gloves really offer no protection. There have been a number of times where I caught a hard shot and wondered why I did it because you feel if for about two weeks.
Q: Who do you think has the best wings in Buffalo? Mike C., Buffalo, NY
A: I can't place one spot … there are too many good places.
Q: What was the last DVD that you bought/rented? Dave A., Chautaugua, NY
A: The last DVD that I rented was Wedding Crashers.
Q: What's your favorite food to eat? Alex M., Pittsburgh, PA