DETROIT -- The banged-up Sabres stayed off the ice today, like they often do on Sundays, and will skate Monday morning in Joe Louis Arena prior to their game against the red-hot Detroit Red Wings -- who will be trying to set a franchise record with their 15th straight home win.
I caught up to Lindy Ruff by telephone this afternoon and the Sabres coach had the following updates:
---Thomas Vanek's jaw and eye were evaluated and he has no broken bones in the wake of getting struck by a Jochen Hecht shot Saturday on Long Island. Vanek, who is still trying to overcome the flu, finished that game wearing a full cage and Ruff said he didn't know if that would continue Monday.
"That will be based on Thomas' own preference, on how tender the area is," Ruff said.
---Defenseman Robyn Regehr is staying on the road with the team but is likely to miss all four games this week with the upper-body injury he suffered Saturday night. Ruff is hopeful, but not yet certain, that Andrej Sekera can slide back into the lineup tomorrow in Regehr's place.
---Jordan Leopold was also battling the flu last night but still managed to play 25 minutes, 41 seconds. Tyler Myers (31:05) and Mike Weber (26:58) were forced into huge minutes because of the Regehr injury and the spotty play of Marc-Andre Gragnani and Joe Finley. The Buffalo defense was guilty of several grievous turnovers Ruff said simply can't happen.
"When you throw people into bigger minutes, you see how that can impact their game," said Ruff. "We need better play. Our puck management has to be a lot better. We threw some pucks into the middle that were point-blank opporutnities. We won't be able to get away with that stuff [Monday]."
---Ruff is still mystified by yet another charging call against Patrick Kaleta, this one coming on what replays showed was a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit of Islanders forward Andrew MacDonald. Kaleta scored Buffalo's first goal in the game and has three points in his last two games since Ruff said NHL officials have made the Angola native "a marked man."
"With his forecheck pressure and the way Pat can skate, he can turn himself into a weapon if he worries about the puck more than the hits," Ruff said. "There's obviously heightened awareness of any physicality from him. Last night was a good hockey play with two players competing for the puck. Their guy was coming as hard as our guy. He protected himself at the same time and got the short end of the stick on it."