Anyone up for a game of Hangman?
After skating the sharp off their blades today, the Sabres might not be in the mood for anything. But they've played the aforementioned game to a tee this season while falling to 2-8, including Tuesday's debacle in Toronto.
"I always give our team a 10-game grace period," coach Ted Nolan said today. "You give them a little bit of rope and maybe some will hang themselves. The last 10 or so games, we saw that. Taking it easy is over now. We’ve got to work."
Nolan put the Sabres through an excruciating 85-minute workout in First Niagara Center. The only thing missing was Herb Brooks' voice yelling, "Again, again," as the Sabres skated end-to-end for drills with few breaks.
"I don’t think we’re working and competing hard enough, so that’s what we did today," alternate captain Matt Moulson said. "He’s a passionate guy. He demands a certain compete and work ethic. I don’t think we’ve given that to him.
"We’ve got to show some kind of emotion out there, so I’m sure he’s trying everything."
Nolan again shuffled the lines on a team that has just 10 goals in 10 games, tied for the fourth-fewest in NHL history, according to STATS. The most notable move was dropping center Cody Hodgson to the fourth line, though he might even be in the press box for Thursday's visit by Boston.
"He’s pretty close to there," said Nolan, who had to yell at the fourth line to "wake the [expletive] up" during practice.
The message could have gone to the whole team.
"I’ll take full responsibility for that," Nolan said. "Maybe I didn’t push them hard enough. But today’s the day we have to start. One of my favorite sayings in life is if it’s not working, you’re not working hard enough. I was upset with the way we worked, and we’ve just got to be better."