Monday, April 21, 2014

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Sabres' turnaround must begin one game at a time

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Buffalo: Sabres' turnaround must begin one game at a time
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The Sabres are off to the Sunshine State; with games against the Lightning Tuesday and Panthers Thursday. YNN's Don Heins was at the team's morning skate before they left, and tells us about a new approach for the trip.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As Monday's 45-minute practice drew to a close, interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston called his players to center ice with a clear message.

"You talk about where we're at, and it's going to be a process: one. It's not going to be easy: two. And it may take a while: three. So understand those things," Rolston said.

"It's not going to turn around in two days and turn this around and become the best team in the league. It takes time. Guys have got to work on their own game and get better as a player to help the team, and that's what we have to do now," said Nathan Gerbe.

Rolston cited the 2010 New Jersey Devils as an example. That team went 9-22-2 before Jacques Lemaire replaced John MacLean. They dropped 7-of-8 to start Lemaire's reign, but then went 23-3-and-2. Seeking that change has begun with specifics, and heavy emphasis on individual instruction.

"We've said before that he's a great teacher of the game. He's grown up in that atmosphere of going through the national program," Gerbe said.

"A lot of teaching, a lot of working on supporting each other, and we do understand that it's going to be a process, that it's going to take a little bit of time. But for our sake, hopefully we get this turned around sooner than later," said Drew Stafford.

"As long as you believe, and the communication. You stay somewhat positive, I think we can turn this around," said Thomas Vanek.

So, publicly, the message remains the same: stay the course. It's a process, not going to happen overnight. But as Vanek pointed out, only 29 games remain, and the team believes they need to win 21 to make the playoffs.

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