Matthew Barnaby needed only to look at his jersey in practice Friday to understand he's a good candidate for a benching tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.
Barnaby was ejected from a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday after taking a double-minor for roughing and subsequently arguing with officials. He and Derek Plante were the only forwards wearing gray jerseys Friday, a sign they would be scratched.
"You're never happy when you sit out, and if I do, I won't be happy," Barnaby said. "A lot of this has been brought on by myself. I'm not angry with (the team). I'm angry with myself more than anything. It's frustrating."
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has grown increasingly impatient with the right winger, who has just four goals and 14 assists this season. Barnaby did little to impress Ruff by getting ejected. Ruff said he would decide today whether Barnaby plays against the Kings.
"If you look at the penalty he took, the lack of self discipline, I can't put up with that," Ruff said. "At that point in the game (with 1:51 left in the first period), he cannot take a four-minute minor and get himself thrown out of the game."
The Sabres went through another rugged workout at the Pepsi Center in Amherst. Ruff installed several one-on-one drills in hopes of instilling a more competitive atmosphere.
"When you get into these one-on-one drills, there's nowhere to hide," Sabres captain Michael Peca said. "A lot of times, these types of practices lead into pretty good games. Hopefully, it's the miracle cure to getting us on the right track."
It made for some interesting confrontations. At one point, winger Rob Ray and defenseman Mike Wilson exchanged a few punches without dropping their gloves. Winger Michal Grosek and Wilson also had a brief, heated verbal exchange. There were several hard hits delivered among the forwards and defensemen.
"That stuff is always good in practice," Ruff said. "You don't want to do it every day, but it supplies a little fire. There's a little blood flowing in each direction. That's what we wanted."
The lines in practice were as follows: Dixon Ward-Peca-Vaclav Varada; Grosek-Curtis Brown-Miroslav Satan; Geoff Sanderson-Brian Holzinger-Erik Rasmussen; Paul Kruse-Wayne Primeau-Ray.