Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Originally penciling in Wednesday as a day off amidst the rigorous regular season schedule, the Buffalo Sabres elected to practice instead. The Sabres have lost seven of their last eight contests, including their most recent 4-3 failure to Ottawa on Tuesday.
"I went to the leadership on the team and said 'We need to work on some things. I think it would be a good idea if we could flip a day here or there,'" head coach Lindy Ruff said. "It is a situation where we know we're digging out of a hole. We've got a lot of guys out, we've got new guys in different positions. There was lots of stuff to go over. We did some video, we did some on ice. They were in agreement. Everybody was on the same page."
Corroborating with Ruff's sentiments, goaltender Ryan Miller knows the team had some work to do.
"For us, it's education. I don't think it's a punishment day," Miller said. "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. It's a day to go over some stuff and walk through it on the ice. Honestly, I think that's been the main difference between our team and the other teams right now."
During the session, the Sabres were shorthanded on defense. Mike Weber was nowhere to be seen during the skate, leaving Buffalo with only five defensemen on Wednesday. After practice, Ruff said it was only a maintenance day for Weber.
The Sabres are still without three defensemen that started the season on the active roster. That group includes Robyn Regehr, Andrej Sekera and Christian Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff's muscle ailment kept him off the ice on Wednesday, and Ruff declared him doubtful for the team's next contest on Thursday night against Montreal. Sekera is improving, but his bone bruise is keeping him from putting a skate on at this point.
On the positive side, the Sabres had 14 forwards on the ice. Patrick Kaleta skated during practice for the first time in front of the media since suffering a neck injury against Toronto on January 29. Kaleta said it felt good to get back out on the ice, and said he wanted to get back to game action as soon as possible. Matt Ellis also participated in the session.
There were no changes to the lines from the previous game against Ottawa. They read as follows: