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As 'outside distractions' increase, Sabres continue trying to shrug off tank talk

The Sabres have dealt with questions about Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and tanking since the opening of training camp. They know more are coming.

The 30th-place Sabres host the 29th-place Coyotes on Thursday in First Niagara Center, and the teams play again Monday in Arizona. Buffalo is trying to shrug off the tank talk through its words and actions, but underneath ...

"How you feel and what you say and how you act is two different things," coach Ted Nolan said Tuesday. "These guys are all professional guys. ... You just want to go out and do your best.

"The outside distractions are always going to be there. It teaches you a little more resolve on how to keep those outside distractions outside."

Fans at the Sabres' previous home game rooted for New Jersey to win. There's surely going to be a rise in Coyotes backers Thursday, but Nolan hopes the fans see it from the team's perspective.

"This city knows what it’s like to work," Nolan said. "It’s a city full of workers, and I don’t know anybody in this town who’d go to work and not give their best. That’s what we’re trying to do as a hockey team. I’m sure the fans will get behind that."

After getting home in the wee hours from Dallas, the Sabres skipped practice Tuesday. Only injured players Patrick Kaleta, Zach Bogosian and Cody McCormick took the ice. Kaleta and Bogosian may return Thursday.

Said Nolan: "They both look good."

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