The Sabres gave fans a little of everything Wednesday night during their open workout in First Niagara Center: Some regular practice drills, four-on-four scrimmaging and a shootout contest that saw the assistant coaches all get blanked and the 3,000 or so in the house chanting for Lindy Ruff to take a shot.
Ruff declined, citing "sore wrist, sore back." Then he admitted he declined, "due to the fact I was going to embarrass myself like the other four guys did." All of the assistants tried shots and failed to score.
Right at the end of the four-on-four session, Patrick Kaleta left the ice clearly woozy after a collision in front of the net with Thomas Vanek. Kaleta appeared to have his head down and Vanek drilled him with a shoulder-to-chin hit that drew oohs and aahs from the crowd.
"He's shaken but I think he's gonna be OK," Ruff said of Kaleta. "He got a little bit of a shot to the head there. Whether Van leaned in too much or Patty came in with too much momentum, you don't want anybody hurt in practice."
Ruff has been joking with the media this month about constant questions regarding his team's vacant captaincy. It had been a few days since we talked about it so I asked him again Wednesday night and we (finally) got some news -- the Sabres will put the C on someone's jersey overseas.
Said Ruff: "You don't have an opportunity very often to name a captain in Europe."
I was wondering if the Sabres might do it Wednesday night in front of the fans. Fair enough. We have one answer. Ruff wouldn't say if he's naming a permanent captain or a monthly one.