BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - In taking responsibility for the Buffalo Sabres' sputtering start, coach Lindy Ruff remains confident the team can dig itself out of an early-season hole.
It begins with Ruff, who says it's on him ``to clean up this mess.''
Ruff was both upbeat and defiant on Thursday in the face of mounting criticism directed toward him, while assessing a team that's lacked identity and consistency in getting off to a 5-8-1 start.
The Sabres returned to practice after a day off. It's their first two-day break between games since the first week of the season, and it closed a stretch in which they played 14 games in 24 days.
Buffalo now prepares to open a three-game homestand Friday, when it hosts Northeast Division-leading Boston (8-1-2).

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