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.
Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.
Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.
The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.
Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.