By John Vogl
UNIONDALE – Lindy Ruff is tired of waiting for Tyler Myers’ game to come around, so there won’t be one for the defenseman tonight.
The Sabres will scratch their struggling D-man when they visit the New York Islanders. Myers was put through a strenuous workout at the end of an optional morning skate in Nassau Coliseum.
“I’m embarrassed, and I should be,” said Myers, who was benched for a game early last season.
Myers has one goal, no assists and a team-worst minus-9 rating through the Sabres’ opening 11 games. The goal was a game-winner in the opener against Philadelphia, but it banked in off a Flyers defender.
“It’s just all mental for me,” Myers said. “I make a mistake, I’m too hard on myself and put too much pressure on myself in the long run. I think I just need to relax and take a step back and start enjoying myself instead of working my way out of my own game.
“It’s easier said than done. The way the last seven out of 10 games have gone, it’s tough to have fun when that’s happening. It’s a matter of trying to get on the positive side mentally and just start enjoying myself. It’s a game. I know I have to make some changes, and just keeping it simple is a good place to start.”
Myers is in the first year of a seven-year, $38.5 million contract. He got a $10 million signing bonus in July and is earning a prorated $2 million in salary this season.
Andrej Sekera will return from a bruised foot and take Myers’ spot in the lineup. Cody McCormick and Matt Ellis will be the other healthy scratches.
Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta will return from a neck injury.
Two former Sabres won’t get a shot at playing their old team. The Islanders will scratch defenseman Joe Finley and forward Eric Boulton. The Isles claimed Finley on waivers just prior to the season.
“You’re a competitor and you want to be able to get out there and compete,” Finley said, “but I’m a team-first guy and whatever’s best for the team I’m going to trust in the coaches and just continue to work hard and wait for an opportunity.”