Ruff expresses optimism about improved health of Sabres

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The Buffalo Sabres are a banged-up bunch, but some of the team’s smaller maladies might be clearing up. John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports that head coach Lindy Ruff is “cautiously optimistic” about explosive winger Jason Pominville’s chances of playing through flu-like symptoms, but that’s not the only positive update.

Today marked the first day that embattled free agent addition Ville Leino managed to skate with the team since breaking his foot while blocking a shot on Dec. 13. Leino even brought up the idea of coming back on Saturday, although he admitted that a window of next week is probably more realistic.

Hot-and-cold scorer Brad Boyes’ status is a little bit more of a mystery for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, as Boyes is dealing with a “stinger” to his injured ankle.

Roy needs to turn things around

Derek Roy might be the player affected most by Pominville’s coin-flip status. He’s been relatively disappointing this season with 23 points in 38 games, but skated with high-flying winger Thomas Vanek and Zack Kassian in practice today. That might give him a needed boost, but he could get bumped off that top line if Pominville plays.

Then again, Ruff told Vogl that it’s up to Roy – not his linemates – to get things going again.

“I look at how many inside opportunities a player gets and it’s not whether somebody¬† else can get him going. You’ve got to get yourself going,” Ruff said. “And that’s by getting to the inside. That’s when you’ve got to get down on your knees and stick the puck in your teeth and crawl into the net. That’s how dirty you’ve got to get when it isn’t going as good as you want it to go.”

That doesn’t sound very legal or sanitary, but I like the spirit (and the mental image). Either way, it sounds like the Sabres are gradually getting a little healthier, which is great news for a team that needs it.