The Sabres are in the midst of a five-day layoff between games, so they used Tuesday as an opportunity to scrimmage among themselves. After practicing for approximately 30 minutes, the team cleared the ice so it could be re-surfaced. When they returned, the players were divided into two teams and spent the next half-hour scrimmaging.
Following the session, Head Coach Lindy Ruff cited a few reasons as to why he wanted the team to scrimmage today.
“I wanted to use this scrimmage, the 30 minutes, for our video session tomorrow, trying to find just a couple more plays here or there where we can loosen up on the offensive side,” Ruff said. “We put some lines together that we’re hoping may look good offensively. We may try a different combination tomorrow.”
Some of the line combinations that Ruff experimented with today had a familiar look, while others did not. The white team’s lines were Derek Roy
with Thomas Vanek
and Nathan Gerbe
, while Luke Adam
centered Jason Pominville
and Drew Stafford
. The blue squad featured Paul Gaustad skating between Mike Grier and Cody McCormick
, while Jochen Hecht
was teamed with Tyler Ennis
and Patrick Kaleta
The scrimmage ended in a 1-1 tie before the white squad won in a shootout. Ryan Miller
stopped Jochen Hecht
’s breakaway attempt to close it out.
“I think in a 30-minute scrimmage, we would’ve liked to have seen another goal out of there, but at the same time we’ve got to just make small steps in the right direction,” said Ruff.
I wanted to use this scrimmage, the 30 minutes, for our video session tomorrow, trying to find just a couple more plays here or there where we can loosen up on the offensive side. We put some lines together that we’re hoping may look good offensively. We may try a different combination tomorrow. - Head Coach Lindy Ruff
Kaleta returned to the ice after missing Monday’s practice and only logging 3:27 of ice time in Saturday’s loss to Montreal due to an injury. Stafford also took place in the entire practice and scrimmage, and Ruff expects both players to be in the lineup on Friday when the Sabres host the Columbus Blue Jackets at HSBC Arena.
“I think both of them will be ready to play. I thought Drew looked really good out there and Pat seemed to labor a little bit but I don’t think it will be any issue. He was a full go,” Ruff said.
Stafford has missed the last 11 games with an injury, and Ruff is excited to see him return.
“He was maybe our best player coming out of training camp,” he said. “He had four goals in 14 games which is a pretty good pace for Drew. That should help us. We saw him create his own opportunities, even in the scrimmage today. He should be good for two or three class A scoring opportunities and hopefully be able to put those away.”