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02-18-2012, 01:00 AM
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Mentally is where the Sabres lack

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- The problem with this Sabres team really isn’t talent. To me it is 80% mental toughness. The toughness that when you play a good period on the road and lead 2-0, you don’t totally go to pieces just because the home team scores a goal in the first minutes of the second. It’s the leadership where guys who are in the core group stand up and say, “Calm down, we’ve got this. We’re still ahead 2-1. Let’s stay the course and we’ll leave with two points.” Instead, for the past three or four years two and three goal leads just evaporate and turn what should be a sure two points into one or no points.

Last night in Philadelphia wasn’t just something that happens now and then, it’s a trend. It’s this team’s identity, it’s who they are.

Now if you take that idea into the locker room, you’ll get different answers.
When you lead 2-0 after one and play the next 40 minutes and lose 7-2, mental toughness has to be questioned. Pominville said, “It was a good first period, we played really well. I think we had a real tough start to the second period. I don’t know if it’s mental toughness, they got momentum, they scored on a power play, we took a penalty we shouldn’t have taken that led to 4-on-4 play then they scored on their power play again.” The captain added, “It’s a tough question, mental toughness! We go out there and play and try to play hard. I think a lot of it is focus, I don’t know if it has anything to do with toughness. Your focus has to be on what you have to do.”

Derek Roy picked up his first assist in 16 games last night. He thinks mental toughness is a part of it. “Yes, especially when you’re in another building and you’re up two goals and they score a goal, you just have to go out there and keep making plays. You can’t stray away from the game plan either. You have to mentally be focused and know what you have to do there on the ice and keep working hard. It doesn’t matter how loud the crowd gets or what happens during the game, you’ve got to be mentally tough and go out there and do a job.”

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