Christian Ehrhoff will be back in the Sabres lineup tonight after missing the Ottawa loss due to a muscle related issue. Ehrhoff skated this morning then confirmed to the Buffalo News that he will play vs. Montreal. Mike Weber skated too.
Did Adam Pardy have a good enough showing in the Ottawa game to be kept in the Buffalo lineup tonight vs. Montreal? Perhaps Ruff opts to dress 7 D, rather than the customary 6 D to over compensate for the fact that Ehrhoff has his muscle issue. If Ehrhoff re-injures himself, Ruff will have an insurance policy in Pardy on the bench.
The Montreal Canadiens are for real. They entered Wednesday’s game playing extremely well. They battled Boston for first place in the Northeast division on Wedensday night and lost. It wasn’t from a lack of trying that they lost the game. They gave the Bruins all that they could handle. Their focus now shifts to the brutal back-to-backer with Buffalo. Here’s how that Canadiens are feeling today: Late night flight, early morning hotel check-in Buffalo, early morning wake-up, 11:30 game day skate, team meal at the hotel, take a nap, get back to work.
The Sabres converted a scheduled off-day into a 55 minute fundamentals cram session on Wednesday.They slept in their own beds last night and will report to the rink this morning with a renewed sense of purpose. Their three game losing skid started in Montreal. Vanek and company will return to the rink today looking to right the wrongs that under mined the collective horrible performance from last Saturday’s 6-1 drubbing in Montreal.
The Subbanator speaketh:
It will be curious to see if the Sabres will remind PK Subban that it’s not cool to run Big John Scott while he’s not looking. Late in period three of the blowout in Montreal on Saturday, Subban took what appeared to be an intentional run a Buffalo tough guy, John Scott on the wall in the Montreal end. Scott, back to Subban and playing the puck, was hit from the blind side by Subban. The hit was very similar to the one that Sabres D Jordan Leopold applied to a Montreal forward earlier in that game on Saturday. Leopold was assessed a minor penalty. Subban was not. I’ll be watching the Scott-Subban game within the game tonight.
Wasn’t it just last week that Montreal head coach Michele Therrien announced the banning of Subban’s triple low-five celebration habit? I’m guessing the coach isn’t thrilled with PK’s act after scoring in Montreal on Wednesday night.
He's been the Buffalo bench boss since 1997. He's going to remain the head coach of the Sabres until further notice. Save your "Fire Lindy" chants. Save your breath, and your brain cells. Just because you say it and wish it, doesn't mean you'll get your wish. You'll likely get fired from your job before Lindy Ruff gets canned from his job. You make think its sad, but its true.
Move along. There's nothing to see here.
Terry Pegula first proclaimed it to the world on 2/22/11. and he still feels the same way today:
"Lindy ain't goin' anywhere!!"
The sooner you get it through your head, the better your blood pressure and acid reflux will be.
Ruff is a permanent fixture in the Sabres organization. The players are not.
Even though his team has lost seven of its last eight games, Ruff''s job is not in jeopardy. Ten games into the season is hardly the appropriate time to pull the "eject" button on the head coach. Its way too early for all of the arm chair GMs and bar stool prophets to achieve their own personal zen of getting Lindy Ruff turfed from them Sabres bench.
Ruff's challenge right now is that his team is ranked dead last in the NHL is goals against, having allowed 37 goals in 10 games. The -7 goal differential is a cause for anxiety and depression for all parties concerned. The goals against drama is a combination of three things: Injuries to D-men, sub-par play from his top four D, and shaky goal tending.
Christian Ehrhoff , Robyn Regehr, and Andrej Sekera missed practice on Wednesday with injuries. Mike Weber was given a maintenance day, which meant that TJ Brennan, Adam Pardy, Jordan Leopold and Tyler Myers were the only healthy D at the skate. Ehrhoff is doubtful for the Montreal game on Thursday night. Regehr and Sekera are not ready to return either. Ruff and James Patrick can't coach players who are in the infirmary, therefore, they will have to apply bondo and paint to the dented in confidence of Myers and Leopold. The D corps that Lindy ices on Thursday night will be told to keep "K.I.S.S"-- keep it simple, stupid: off the glass and out, dump and change, throw pucks deep, get point shots through.
The forwards must, must, must come back and help out. The thing that I have noticed during this ugly losing streak is that the Sabres are not playing consistently as units of five. The three forwards are running their own agenda while the two D are left to do their own. I blame the lockout for this confusion because the team isn't practicing as often as it should be. The Sabres need a tune-up, they don't need a new engine.
Ruff's team is ranked 30th in the NHL with an abysmal 41.3% face-off win percentage.
The Sabres have scored 30 goals thus far this season. They are ranked ninth overall in the NHL on goal scoring and fifth in the Eastern conference. Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville can't be the only Clydesdales pulling the wagon. Ruff will find the secondary and tertiary scoring that his team desperately needs inside his own room. The 82-63-21 line create a goal on Tuesday night in Ottawa and will continue to add offense to the lineup. The Ott-Grigo-Hecht line is getting chances and will start burying them soon. When lines two and three starting lighting the lamp, the goal differential will improve dramatically.
The math is simple to understand.
The Sabres are allowing 3.7 goals per game. They are scoring 3.0 goals per game. Ruff's challenge is to deny a goal per game. there are two ways to go about doings this: Miller has to make one more save per game, and/or. the units of five have to deny shots on goal that otherwise would lead to scoring chances.
Who better than Lindy Ruff to mentor his team to tighten the vice grips and to play better D? Is there a more defensive-minded coach in the NHL?