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RUFF TO BLAME

As a Sabres season ticket-holder, I am very disgusted with the Sabres' play, and it is Lindy Ruff who this fan holds accountable.

What this fan questions is Ruff's handling of his players -- who he dresses, how much ice time each player receives and who plays in certain game situations. Some examples:

Alexei Zhitnik constantly gives the puck away and couldn't hit a soccer net with his shot. It seems that all he can do well is ice the puck. So what does Ruff do? He gives Zhitnik more ice time than any other Sabre, and extended ice time at the point on the worst power play in the NHL.

Dixon Ward and Vaclav Varada -- It's hard to determine who is worse. Varada can't skate, stickhandle, pass, shoot, or score and he constantly takes stupid penalties. Yet he is rewarded with shifts on the power play. Ward also has no NHL skills, yet he is rewarded with extra ice time, especially in the third period. Both should be waived or at least benched.

Michal Grosek -- The biggest floater in the NHL. He will not fight for the puck nor does he give any extra effort. So what does Ruff do? Grosek never misses a shift and plays on the power play.

Maxim Afinogenov -- an offensive talent with hustle and speed to burn. So what dose Ruff do? Sits him in the third period in favor of Ward and Varada. Ruff should take a long, hard look in the hockey mirror and realize that he is the trigger man who right now is firing blanks.
DAVID R. PARKS
Depew
(Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240 or E-Mail to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing.)

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