Lindy Ruff

Ruff blasts Sabres after playoff elimination: “You can’t like losing it the way we did”


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.”

Video: Eichel’s first career NHL goal


Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.

The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.

Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.


Tough start: Lehner knocked out of Sabres debut, won’t return

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.

Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.

During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.

It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.

As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.

Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.