BUFFALO, N.Y.-Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff watched practice wearing sneakers from the bench today at the First Niagara Center. Its unlikely he'll be behind the bench for Tuesday's game against New Jersey.

Ruff is a long way away from returning to the ice for practice and although considering being behind the bench for the game there are still things he struggles with. "Even if I do go back tomorrow, I'm going to need help because there's situations there where I can't vocalize loud enough, especially with the crowd, and react quick enough to have people ready. So if I do go back there, I'll have James sort of in the same role."

Being on the bench during games is not without risk. In Saturday's game against Tampa Bay a number ofpucks came into the Buffalo bench including one thathit assistant coach Teppo Numminen. With his injuries Ruff's mobility is limited. "I'd like to laugh about it but I don't want to because I don't want to get hit at the same time. If I hung out by the tunnel, there's a good chance I get hit. If I stay in the same spot I normally do, I won't. I don't think we can change too much."

Jochen Hecht and Cody McCormick missed practice. Ruff said Hecht still hopes to play this season after having a procedure done on his neck. He said McCormick remains day to day.