Head Coach Lindy Ruff held an optional skate Monday morning at HSBC Arena. After practicing Sunday afternoon, following a 6-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators, Ruff wanted to allow for some rest before heading to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers.
“We’ve got three or four guys fighting this virus that’s been going around. We decided to flip the practice… go a little bit easier today,” Ruff said.
Among those battling the flu is Derek Roy
. The centerman, who is averaging 21:36 minutes of ice time each game this year, was limited to a season-low 16:30 minutes of ice time against the Senators.
“I don’t think it was an excuse for some of the plays but he has been suffering,” Ruff said. “He missed some time in the Phoenix game and he missed some time in the Ottawa game. It’s tough right now but we’ve got to battle through it and throw these excuses aside.”
Ruff said he expects to have Maxim Afinogenov back in the lineup. The winger was hurt Friday night after taking a hard hit into the boards from Coyotes’ Ken Klee.
Afinogenov finished the game against Phoenix, but was absent from the lineup Saturday night in Ottawa.
“He skated yesterday, treatment went well today,” Ruff said. “He’s loosened up. He basically just had whiplash from how hard he hit.”
Dominic Moore also took advantage of the skate to continue getting to know his new team.
We’ve watched some video, watched some things on the ice as far as the system. It’s good for me to continue to familiarize myself with that,” Moore said. “There are a lot of things that are similar… but there are subtle things - defensive zone coverage, neutral zone forechecking- that are slightly varied.”
In all, only seven players chose not to skate Monday morning.
“I think at this time of the year it’s important that everybody gets their rest in,” Jason Pominville
said. “We just came off three games in four nights and we have a busy schedule this upcoming week. It’s going to be tough so it’s good to have that option.”
The Sabres take on the Flyers on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Wachovia Center.