Marcus Foligno (82) threw a knockout punch Saturday, ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Marcus Foligno wanted to showcase sportsmanship in fight

BUFFALO – Marcus Foligno wanted to make sure Ryan Carter was OK. So the Sabres winger stopped punching after landing a big knockout blow to his opponent’s face Saturday in New Jersey.

“I’d say it’s just a little caution,” Foligno, who stayed with Carter for a few moments following the fight, said Monday inside the First Niagara Center. “You hit a guy that hard, I felt it, too. You just caught him in the right area.”

Carter, who fell to the ice, left the Devils’ 1-0 overtime win. He’s day-to-day, according to reports, and missed New Jersey’s game Monday in Montreal.

The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Foligno said he wanted to be a “sportsmanship player.”

“You just don’t want to be on the other end of it,” he said. “So you want to think of that in that time, make sure he’s OK and go to the penalty box. Never after that (do) you want to waive your arms in the air and celebrate. It’s just you won the fight and everyone knows it.”

Before they could even begin practicing Monday morning, Ted Nolan wanted the Sabres to “fine tune” a little bit, “revisit things they used to do,” the interim coach said.

So for about 45 minutes, Dawn Braid, the Sabres’ skating coach, put most of team through a series of non-traditional drills.

“Some of the things they used to do when they’re younger they don’t quite do it as naturally as they do now,” Nolan said. “So it’s just a reminder.”

Players often squatted. One drill they kicked out their legs. Another had them on their knees holding the boards.

It looked unusual. But players, many of whom work with Braid individually or in smaller groups during the summer, have seen results from it.

“It’s not trying to change everything,” Sabres forward Cody McCormick said. “It’s just trying to make sure you get the most out of every stride and having a slight adjustment to your technique so you can get something maybe a half-step quicker.”

It’s better working with Braid in the offseason, McCormick said.

“That’s when I think you can get the most out of it, when you’re repetitive with it,” he said.

The Sabres then practiced normally about 45 minutes. Their four-day break before Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers is the longest this season.

“There’s not going to be too many times in a season you’re going to have breaks like this, especially an Olympic year,” Nolan said.

The Sabres have received permission to talk to Tim Murray, the Senators’ assistant general manager, for their vacant GM job, according to the Ottawa Sun.

Nolan said McCormick should return from a four-game absence (lower body) Thursday. McCormick has been practicing fully. The Sabres must make a roster move to activate him.

Defenseman Alexander Sulzer missed Monday’s session (maintenance).

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