Practice for the Buffalo Sabres usually lasts about an hour, but afterwards there’s the time on the ice when interim coach Ted Nolan often chats with players.
He spoke with defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and forward Brian Flynn on Friday. The talk with Flynn was to help boost his confidence while with Ehrhoff it was to reiterate expectations.
Ehrhoff is averaging the most ice time of any Sabre, logging 24:08 a game. He has two goals and 16 assists but is a minus-11 as the team’s defense has perhaps been too eager to jump into the offensive zone lately.
“We need good leadership from him. We need good, steady play. When you go into games, you know exactly what you’re going to get,” Nolan said. “Sometimes I think Chris presses too much, wants to help out too much, he wants to do a little too much versus just doing what he can do and being patient within his abilities. We had a nice conversation about that today.”
Flynn, meanwhile, has three goals and three assists but Nolan sees more offensive talent than the numbers would indicate.
“I think watching the number of games I’ve been watching now and seeing his ability, I think he’s a real good player. I think he’s a little bit more offensively gifted than what we saw,” Nolan said. “I think just having confidence and knowing that the coaching staff and the organization believes in him. We just really want to show him some confidence that we think he’s a really good player.
Marcus Foligno is set to return to the lineup tonight after missing the game in Toronto with an undisclosed injury.
But expect the rest of the injury brigade to be out for at least another week.
Henrik Tallinder (upper body) practiced with the Sabres on Friday while Cody McCormick (upper body) and Kevin Porter (lower body) practiced with the red non-contact jerseys. Matt D’Agostini did not practice.
“They’re getting better but I think to play a game, they’re all a minimum of a week away,” Nolan said.
The inaugural “Sabres Unpucked” was announced for March 1 at First Niagara Center. Billed as a night of music with the Sabres, all proceeds go to the Sabres Foundation. The event begins with a writer’s roundtable led by songwriters David Lee Murphy, Doug Johnson, Tony Arata and Jim Peterik.
Muprhy has written multiple top 40 hits for artists including Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Jake Owen. Johnson wrote “Love Like Crazy” for Lee Brice; Arata wrote “The Dance” for Garth Brooks; and Peterik wrote “Eye of the Tiger” for Survivor.
Current and former Sabres players and coaches will join as guest musical performers and celebrity bartenders.
General admission tickets are $35 with VIP tickets (which include complimentary food and beverages and access to an exclusive lounge) are $200. Tickets go on sale at noon on Monday with a 10 a.m. presale for season-ticket holders. Tickets are available at Sabres.com or by calling Lauren Yurko at (716) 855-4468.