After a hard-fought, 3-2 overtime loss in Boston on Tuesday, the Sabres were on the ice at HSBC Arena on Wednesday morning for practice.
Following the session, Head Coach Lindy Ruff was asked about the giveaway by Mike Weber
that led to the game-tying goal by Boston’s Nathan Horton in the third period.
“Every defenseman is going to do that sooner or later. He picked a tough time, but at the same time I thought his desperation making a block late in the game helped preserve. He’s played hard, he’s played good. He’s going to make some mistakes, we’re just trying to get his confidence up to the level where he can be a positive influence for us,” Ruff said of the young defenseman.
Weber acknowledged the mistake but is eager to learn from it and turn the page.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night but it’s nice to get right back at it. That’s the good thing about hockey, you’re always right back at it the next day. My focus today was on just having a good practice, and now the focus turns to San Jose tomorrow,” Weber said.
Although Drew Stafford
skated on his new line with Luke Adam
and Jason Pominville
at practice Wednesday, Ruff said the forward was not ready to return to the lineup tomorrow. Mark Mancari replaced him in the lineup last night, but Ruff said Mancari has been returned to Portland and the possibility of another roster move would be discussed Wednesday afternoon.
“We were hoping that maybe Staff would be good enough but based on the conversation I had with him he’s not ready yet,” said Ruff.
Stafford missed 11 games with an upper body injury, returned on Dec. 3 and collected a goal and an assist in the 5-0 win over Columbus. However, he was held out of the next two games due to an upper body injury.
Shaone Morrisonn did not play last night and played only 6:30 at Ottawa on Saturday. Ruff said Morrisonn was still feeling the effects of a hit to the head by Columbus’ Jared Boll on Friday.
“He’s just not feeling right. It’s the after effects of the head shot he took from Boll, so we’ve had to shut him down for a little bit,” Ruff said.
Adam scored his first career NHL goal last night in Boston when he pounced on a loose puck in the slot and shot it through traffic to beat Bruins netminder Tim Thomas.
“I was pretty excited, I mean, you only get to score your first NHL goal once,” Adam said. “It was maybe a little bit of relief, too. I think I was pushing pretty hard to get it there and to be able to capitalize was nice.”
Pominville recorded an assist on the play, and Adam thinks the two are starting to create chemistry as linemates.
“Each and every day that we’re together, you kind of know where he’s going to be a little bit more, so I’m definitely getting a little bit more comfortable but it’s not very tough to play with a guy like that,” he said of Pominville.
San Jose will make a rare visit to HSBC Arena tomorrow night. The Sabres have historically had great success against the Sharks on home ice, having won nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams in Buffalo. Mike Grier, who played three seasons in San Jose between his stints in Buffalo, expects an exciting game with his former team.
“They had a long playoff run (last year) and a trip to Europe (to start this year) so I think they’ve had a sluggish start and now the points are important to them as they are to us, so it should be an exciting game,” Grier said.