The Buffalo Sabres have a few days to practice before their next game and are looking to make the most of it.
Monday morning, the team worked as a group with skating consultant Dawn Braid for approximately 30 minutes at First Niagara Center. She had the players moving up and down the ice to improve their strides and power skating technique.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Dawn now for almost four years. She’s made great improvements on my stride alone,” Sabres center Cody Hodgson said. “I feel like every time I go out, whether it’s a 10-minute touch-up session or a couple hours with someone on the ice, it always makes me feel more comfortable and smoother and a more efficient skater.”
After the session with Braid, the Sabres held a traditional practice.
Buffalo is coming off a stretch in which they played three games in four nights. Over the weekend, they picked up three out of four points in games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils. The Sabres don’t play again until they host the New York Rangers on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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“You get a chance to recharge batteries. There’s a little break here,” captains Steve Ott said. “Guys, if they’re feeling something or if they’re a little banged up, they get a chance to heal up as well. We have to use it to our benefit and that’s kind of what the whole emphasis on the next few days.”
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan is going to use this time to drive home some of the things he’d like to see the team do more consistently. Since he took over behind the bench on Nov. 13, he’s had limited time to practice with the team because of a condensed schedule.
Having the team work on their skating, he said is good for not only the younger players, but older one who may need little reminders along the way when it comes to improving their fundamentals.
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“As I mentioned to the team today, we’re all creature of habit and we have to change a few things that we’ve been doing and just get used to doing it on a daily basis,” Nolan said. “I think the game against Toronto, we played really well and when we went to New Jersey, we slipped off a little again. Just trying to get that consistent work ethic every day and the only way you can do it is consistently work.”
Defenseman Alexander Sulzer was given a maintenance day and did not practice with the team.
Nolan said that center Cody McCormick, who has missed the past four games with an upper-body injury, is ready to return to the lineup. A roster move would have to be made once the team is ready to activate him from the injured reserve list.
26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 23 Ville Leino – 27 Matt D’Agostini
72 Luke Adam – 63 Tyler Ennis / 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
32 John Scott – 65 Brian Flynn / 8 Cody McCormick – 82 Marcus Foligno
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 44 Brayden McNabb
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 3 Mark Pysyk
4 Jamie McBain
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth