Ville Leino played just 9:35 for the Sabres on Saturday, his lowest total of the season and his second-lowest dating back to the start of 2010-11. Although he hasn't produced much during games with more ice time, recording just one goal and one assist through 10 outings, he wants more minutes.
"That’s pretty much the least I’ve played since I’ve been in the league," Leino said today after a practice that found him centering leading scorers Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. "It’s really tough to play with nine, 10 minutes a game and try to make something happen, feel comfortable out there. It’s pretty much every time you feel into it, you’re not playing. It definitely is not easy for me."
Based on his new wingmen, Leino should be able to do more when the Sabres host his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, Wednesday in First Niagara Center.
"We’ll see how it goes," Leino said. "They’re good players and I know they think the same way about hockey and their games and do the same kind of plays as I, so it should be pretty easy to read those guys."
The Sabres conducted their intense 70-minute practice (plus another 20 for warm-ups) without forward Jochen Hecht, who had another concussion setback.
"He wasn’t doing so well," coach Lindy Ruff said. "It’s probably the first time since this process that I’m starting to get concerned."
To hear Ruff and goaltender Ryan Miller, click the audio files below.