Not much going on with only a few Sabres taking the ice this morning in preparation for tonight's home opener against the New York Rangers. Scratches appear to be the same as Friday night, with Nathan Gerbe, Mike Weber and Chris Butler sitting out. Cody McCormick also skated but coach Lindy Ruff usually doesn't change a winning lineup.
It's the first back-to-back of the 22 sets the Sabres will play this season, but the team got home shortly after midnight from Ottawa so Ruff isn't concerned about any residual effects.
"We kept all the forwards under 20 minutes last night," Ruff said. "Our energy and focus should be good. ... I thought we played a real solid game until we had to kill the three penalties in the third period."
The Sabres could have easily had five or six goals in the first two periods, when they had a 29-12 edge in shots. Thomas Vanek had six shots on goal in the game and was robbed on several point-blank chances. Ruff was happy to see his team persevere in the third period to get the win.
"If you have frustration in your game, that can often lead to some careless plays or mistakes to give the other team an opportunity to get back in the game," Ruff said. "Our focus in the game was very good. I'll guarantee you that if Thomas gets six chances tonight, he'll be on the scoreboard. You won't keep him off. It usually doesn't take him that many."
---New third jerseys tonight as well as the unveiling of the 2010 Northeast Division championship banner. Looking forward to the team's pregame video salute as well.
"On the one hand, it's one of 82 games but we know our fans are really excited to see us back," said Ryan Miller. "We'll be appropriately excited too."
---The Rangers are expected to scratch Tim Kennedy. The South Buffalo native, who cleared waivers and is back with the club, is a spare forward now that the Blueshirts have signed Ruslan Fedotenko. "Tough situation for Tim," Ruff said.
Post-skate update: Kennedy was the last Ranger off the ice. "This is my new team. That's my old team," Kennedy said of the Sabres. "I wish them all the best but I hope they lose tonight."
Kennedy admitted he's had a difficult summer and getting put on waivers by the Rangers this week added to the drama but that he's happy he cleared and is still with the club.
"There's a little cliche saying in this league that if Wayne Gretzky can get traded, anybody can be traded, bought out, waived," Kennedy said. "I'm just trying to roll with the punches."
---Chris Drury, who is on injured reserve with a broken finger, is skating with the Rangers for the first time since the injury. (Post-skate update: Drury said he has a timetable for a return that's a lot faster than the month originally expected. "I don't want to say anything that's going to be argued with. I just hope it's as quick as possible and we'll take it day to day.")
---The regular media members here made sure to say hello to Mike Robitaille, who's in the house getting set to make his return to the MSG airwaves tonight. Great to see him.