If the Buffalo Sabres’ defense corps hadn’t been down three regulars, it’s possible coach Lindy Ruff would’ve scratched the struggling Tyler Myers long before tonight’s tilt against the Islanders in New York.
Instead, Myers got a few extra games to work his problems out. Ruff said Wednesday the 23-year-old’s game was improving.
Still, with Andrej Sekera (bone bruise) set to return, Myers will sit tonight as healthy scratch for the second time in his four-year career.
Myers, the 2009-10 Calder Trophy winner, has performed poorly through 11 games this season, compiling only one goal, zero assists and a team-worst minus-9 rating.
“I’m embarrassed, and I should be,” Myers told reporters this afternoon in Long Island. “Two years in a row now. It doesn’t feel very good, but silver lining, I responded the way I needed to last time, and this is what I have to do this time.”
Myers scored twice in his return after sitting early last season, skating like the franchise defenseman he had been in the past. But he broke his wrist the next game and never really reached his regular form later on.
“It’s all just mental for me,” Myers said. “I make a mistake, I’m too hard on myself and put too much pressure on myself in the long run. I think I just need to relax and take a step back and start enjoying myself instead of working my way out of my own game.”
Myers acknowledged he put too much pressure on himself to duplicate his dynamic rookie season when he performed terribly early in 2010-11.
These days, he could be trying to live up to his seven-year, $38.5 million contract. He received a $10 million bonus on July 1.
Myers’ stay in the press box should be short, though. He could be back in as soon as Sunday at home against Boston. Whenever he plays again, look for a more aggressive and relaxed Myers.