The day after a loss to Philadelphia dashed their postseason hopes, the Buffalo Sabres got an earful from their head coach.
Lindy Ruff put his team through the paces on Friday, conducting an hour-long practice — “their longest in weeks if not months,” according to the Buffalo News — while reading his players the riot act.
“Today’s not a good day,” he said afterward. “You can’t like losing. You can’t like getting close and losing. You can’t like leading after two periods and losing the game. And you can’t like losing it the way we did.”
Clearly, Ruff was still miffed over Robyn Regehr missing a check on Philly’s Matt Read to set up the winning goal on Thursday. That anger came shining through when the Sabres coach took aim at his veteran players.
“I thought our young players played well,” he explained. “I thought some of our veteran players didn’t get the job done in Philly for us.
“The play that lost us the game is a play that can’t be made. It can’t be made. You can’t accept that. You can’t accept that. You can’t like it.”
These comments suggest the frustration of a long, disappointing year finally caught up to Ruff. Over the course six months his team was besieged by injury and faced questions about toughness following the Ryan Miller-Milan Lucic incident. Ruff also broke a bunch of ribs after a painful practice collision and Buffalo’s seemingly improbable playoff push — the Sabres were in last place in the East at the All-Star break — ended in heartbreaking fashion.
As such, he went on a pretty impressive — and, some would say, deserved — rant.
“Don’t ever like losing. Don’t ever like making the mistakes you made,” Ruff said. “The chance to make a difference and you didn’t make a difference. You get an opportunity. You’re paid to either score goals or prevent them if you’re a defender.
“We had two-on-ones we didn’t score. We had a two-on-one we went offside. That’s unacceptable. It’s game-on time. It’s difference time. We’ve talked about this for a good period of time. We’ve had guys push through and make a difference. In the biggest game, we weren’t able to push through.”