The defenseman took a beating from his teammates following his game-winning, shootout goal Saturday night in Tampa Bay – tackled to the ice in an overzealous celebration.
Monday’s practice at the Amherst Pepsi Center was no different as the rookie again saved his colleagues, this time from a post-practice skate.
“I told them that we had a skate planned at the end [of practice], which we did,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “We had this little gig at the end of practice and said if you hit the net from the other end [of the ice], there’s no skate.
“Myers missed the net [last week] so they had to skate for five more minutes… Jochen [Hecht] suggested that we give Myers another chance.”
This time he delivered, floating a wrist shot neatly in the back of the net. He was met with cheers and a soccer-inspired OLE chant from teammates as they again sent him crashing into the boards.
“I think if I would have missed it I would have taken an ever bigger beating,” Myers joked. “It’s all in good fun. I’m having a lot of fun with the guys. They’re really good to me. I’m just taking it day by day.”
The coaching staff is doing the same in evaluating the 19 year old. Myers has played in eight NHL games this season. Due to his age, he is eligible to play in up to nine games before the Sabres make a decision to keep him in the League or send him back to his junior team in Kelowna.
Buffalo will travel to New Jersey on Wednesday to take on the Devils, with Myers likely appearing in his ninth contest of the year. So far, he has registered five points (2+3) and a plus-two rating.
“We don’t have to make a decision yet, so in our case, it’s steady as it goes,” Ruff said.
The consensus from the dressing room seems to be that the blueliner will be a permanent fixture.
“That’s no decision. He’s that good. No problem,” Henrik Tallinder said.
Added Craig Rivet: “Why would you send down your best defenseman?”
“I’m trying not to think about it,” Myers said. “I was thinking more about it in exhibition. Now that I’ve played eight regular games, I feel like I’m a part of the team. Whatever the coaches and scouts decide for me, I’m sure they’re doing it in my best interest so I’ll accept it.
“There have been some good things but obviously I am making mistakes as a young defenseman. I’m still learning and I just want to make sure that I stay as consistent as I can and limit those mistakes.”
continued to practice, still recovering from a rib injury he suffered Oct. 10 in Nashville. Ruff said he will meet with team doctors today.
Toni Lydman [groin] was the only player missing from practice. Ruff said the defenseman skated on his own before the team hit the ice, but may still miss Wednesday’s game in New Jersey.
Lindy Ruff was asked about the possibility of facing Andrew Peters on Wednesday night when the Devils host the Sabres. Peters signed with New Jersey this summer as an unrestricted free agent after spending five seasons with the Blue and Gold.
“I’m certainly happy he got a job. It’s great to see that he’s still on a team,” Ruff said. “We’ve got bigger fish to fry… but it’s great to see him back and playing.”
Ruff added that the decision to let the enforcer go came to an increased level of overall grit throughout the roster.
“We had a Pat Kaleta that was pushing through, we’ve got Grier who signed,” he said. “We feel that we’ve got good team toughness, we’re resilient. If it needs to be addressed we’ll address it.”
Sabres prospect Corey Tropp
(Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) was named the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week.
Tropp’s 12 points is a current national and CCHA lead, and he leads the conference in goals (6), assists (6), and power-play goals (4) and points (8) as well.
The 20-year-old Tropp was selected by the Sabres in the third round (89th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.