What was supposed to be a day off for the Sabres turned into a full-fledged practice Wednesday. YNN's Andy Young has more on the club as they try to snap out of their early season funk with Montreal in town Thursday night.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Last Saturday, the Sabres suffered an embarrassing 6-1 loss at the hands of the Canadiens, which started a three-game losing streak. As they head into Thursday's rematch, the club decided they needed to hit the ice for practice Wednesday even though it was originally scheduled as an off day.
"We don't need a day off right now, we need to focus on things that are going to improve our club," said forward Steve Ott. "Collectively, all in here, we all wanted to come in, skate, get something out of today."
"I don't think it's a punishment day. I don't think it's a 'hey you guys need to wake up' kind of day. We need to learn. We need to spend some time in the classroom, so to speak," said goalie Ryan Miller.
A big problem for the Sabres this season is they're dead last in the NHL when it comes to winning faceoffs. They've also struggled defensively when they lose faceoffs in their own zone. So Lindy Ruff put his team to the test, with a drill where defenders had to do pushups if they let the shot through off the draw.
"If you lose the draw clean, my point today was, it's almost impossible to get in that shot lane. We get it 30 percent of the time, they get it 70 percent of the time, that's hard hockey. Our faceoffs have to get better," Ruff said.
"It's affecting us big time. Crisis-wise, it's something that needs to be cleaned up. We need to be better. Wingers need to help out faceoffs, defensemen need to help out faceoffs," said Ott.
It's winning those games within the game the Sabres believe will result in more wins on the scoresheet.
Kaleta Returns to Practice
Patrick Kaleta was very happy to be back on the ice as he tries to return after a scary neck injury suffered against the Leafs last Tuesday.
The hit from behind put him in the hospital, but the winger said he's hopeful to play soon.