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NOTEBOOK: STICKING TO THE SYSTEM

by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
Lindy Ruff (Photo: Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres engaged in a grueling practice at HSBC Arena on Monday afternoon.


Displeased with the team’s effort in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, head coach Lindy Ruff focused on sticking to the system.

“Our play away from the puck in Boston was as poor as I’ve seen it,” he said. “I thought we played a pretty good 20 minutes to start the game and after that we let the system slide.

“It was probably a day where we worked more on the system than we did on intensity.”

There was a 30-minute team meeting to address some of the issues from the weekend. After compiling two consecutive shutouts, the Sabres fell to the Thrashers 5-4 in overtime on Friday and lost to the Bruins on Saturday.

“You have to hold the lines accountable. I didn’t like what the [Derek] Roy line did and the [Adam] Mair line had a tough time. It gave up a lot of opportunities. It’s one thing if you are giving up opportunities because you’ve created scoring chances - you’ve made a great play and the rebound gets out and you have to chase some people down… but we had no regard for our transition, no regard for late shifts.”

Ruff cited a lack of discipline as the main problem.

“You’ve got to be smart. We weren’t smart enough to win the game in Boston,” he said. “We came out aggressive enough and set a pretty good tone but we weren’t smart enough throughout the game.

“You have to be a smart team in back-to-back games… a lot of it is you can utilize four lines and some of it is you have to be smart. We had some shifts the other night that went well over 1:20 seconds. That is two shifts in today’s game. That cost us dearly too… all those little things by the end of the night add up.”

The Sabres next face the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, Nov. 12.


Defenseman Teppo Numminen was the sole member absent from practice. Ruff said the blueliner was hit in the leg with a puck, but expected him to be back tomorrow.

“He was wearing those old-fashioned shin pads so we just gave him an extra day for the swelling,” Ruff said.


Lines were once again shifted in practice.

After being a healthy scratch against the Bruins, Dan Paille practiced alongside Maxim Afinogenov and Clarke MacArthur.

The shift sent Paul Gaustad to center Andrew Peters and Adam Mair.

Drew Stafford and Pat Kaleta practiced without a line while the remaining tandems went untouched.

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