Andrej Sekera knows he's struggling. He knows everyone watching can see it. They won't see it anymore, however. The Buffalo Sabres defenseman is likely getting benched.
Sekera's tough stretch on the ice is about to lead to a seat in the press box. Coach Lindy Ruff said today that Teppo Numminen will probably play in Sekera's place Wednesday when the Sabres visit Atlanta.
"There's a good chance that he's going to have to watch because it hasn't been a one-game struggle or a two-game," Ruff said. "It's been a good period of time, and he's having a tough time. We need to win games. I'm thinking right now that Teppo would go in."
Sekera is minus-5 in the past six games and has been making numerous mistakes. He was nailed to the end of the bench for most of the third period Saturday during the Sabres' 4-3 shootout win over Montreal.
"I fell in a deep hole," Sekera said. "I felt that way the last couple games. Anybody can see that."
Ruff said he's tried working Sekera through the slump, but with the playoffs on the line, the Sabres can't risk using a defenseman whose play and confidence are battered.
"Admittedly he's said he's never gone through something like this and everything he does is wrong," Ruff said. "We've been trying to help him, but I've seen with young guys they can have a tough time. This is a tough time of year. There's a lot of pressure. He hasn't been in a lot of these situations, and he's got to learn from them. But it'll help him grow. It'll eventually make him tougher."