The Sabres were on the ice for an hour this morning in First Niagara Center -- they started a couple hours early -- and then headed on their NHL-mandated holiday break (teams can't practice on Dec. 24 or 25). Lindy Ruff said after Thursday's loss in Toronto the team would probably have a light skate today but they instead had a full practice. It wasn't punitive, as there was no quibbling with the effort in the 3-2 loss, but Ruff clearly felt the Sabres needed to shake that game and get one more workout in.
Ruff closed the practice with a few words to his team and some holiday good wishes and then headed off. Some players started to follow but captain Jason Pominville called them to the boards in a tight circle for another quick chat. Pominville wouldn't divulge much but said the break was at a good time.
"This break has to be an advantage for us to regrouup, refocus and energize ourselves for what's ahead of us," he said.
The Sabres look ahead still hoping to get healthier. Ruff said there's concern about Thomas Vanek, who is believed to have some sort of shoulder injury and couldn't play in the third period Thursday. Tyler Ennis (ankle) wanted to skate Friday but had pain in the ankle and didn't. Brad Boyes (ankle) is a possibility for Monday. Jochen Hecht (leg) skated on his own before practice and is progressing. So is Tyler Myers (wrist), who skated with the team but still isn't involved in any physical drills.
"He's got a ways to go,'" Ruff said of Myers, who has another checkup Monday. "He can't handle the puck very well or shoot yet but I think that will come quickly."
For the full audio of Ruff's chat with reporters, click below.
[AUDIO: Lindy Ruff]