By Mike Harrington
OTTAWA -- The Sabres have done a lot of talking the last few days amongst themselves. But what's the old adage? Talk is cheap. Let's see what it means on the ice.
We get a big look tonight at Scotiabank Place as defenseman Tyler Myers returns to the lineup for the game against the Ottawa Senators after sitting out two games as a healthy scratch. Myers had long talks with coach Lindy Ruff and veteran Robyn Regher last Friday in Long Island and said today he's prepared to be "starting from ground zero"* tonight.
(*Good call considering Myers' minus-9 rating is better than only the minus-10 of Los Angeles' Drew Doughty. Wow, there's a reason the defending champs are worse off than the Sabres).
"It feels good to be back in but I don't know if it's a relief," Myers said today. "I don't come here just to get in the lineup. I need to put together a solid defensive game and just build it from there. I've tried to work as hard as I can using the time I have to try to mentally get prepared and that's the biggest thing. I don't think at this point it's anything physical. It's just getting my head straight."
"Sitting out gives you the opportunity to watch the scope of the game from upstairs," Ruff said. "It's an easy game from upstairs. Just ask all you guys. You see the mistakes, you see the plays that were available and you wonder why they didn't make them. You see the easy outs. I've had a couple really good meetings with him trying to get his head in the right place and ready to play. Now it's up to him."
Ruff revealed the team had a series of meetings at their hotel when they arrived here Monday, first with his core leadership group and then with the team at large.
"I thought it was very productive," Ruff said. "We met with our leadership group first, then we met with the team and went through some areas in the game that have hurt us, some commitments to areas that need to be better, and some areas it just comes down to flat-out more effort."
The Sabres will be scratching John Scott, Alexander Sulzer and T.J. Brennan tonight. Jordan Leopold and Drew Stafford survive for now. Ruff said Leopold (minus-6) provides more mobility than Sulzer while Stafford (who leads NHL goal-less players with 36 shots on goal) got a reprieve for getting a couple scoring chances Sunday and setting up Tyler Ennis' goal.
Click below to hear more from Myers and Ruff:
taggedLindy Ruff | Ottawa Senators | Tyler Myers