The Buffalo Sabres have have lost five of their first seven games to begin the month of February and have slipped three points back of the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
But, from the reports out of Buffalo, head coach Lindy Ruff was singing a positive tune this Valentine’s Day.
“We’ll find it. We’ve gone through it,” Ruff told the Buffalo News.
“We knew we were a little young down the middle but it will come. I’m confident it will come. It’s all on me to clean this mess up. I’m not done trying.
“It is on me. I understand that. This is on me to clean it up.”
The Sabres are two days removed from a 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators, and will host the Boston Bruins Friday.
Ruff currently holds the longest active tenure as a head coach with the same club in the National Hockey League, and, according to an article out St. Louis Post-Dispatch four days ago, had the fifth longest tenure among coaches from the other major sports leagues in baseball, basketball and football.
However, Ruff’s time with the Sabres has been called into question, particularly by Buffalo News sports columnist Bucky Gleason.
“Most are stunned Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff have survived when common sense called for their dismissal long ago,” Gleason wrote four days ago.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.
After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.
Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.
Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.
Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.
Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.
Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:
From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.
Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?
The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.
That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.
If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.