It is fair to say that anyone expecting a brand new performance from the Buffalo Sabres after the firing of Lindy Ruff would be unreasonable. Remember, the same players, especially those who are underperforming (Stafford and Myers primarily), remain on the roster.
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Does this mean these players are done for? No.
It means that Rolston had less than 12 hours to intill any type of system change to the team prior to their game against the Toronto Maples (who are a hot team if you did not know? Anyone watching last night's game realized that defensively they were more sound but the penalty kill is still in need of improvement, proven by James Van Riemsdyk's dangling around the team and the allowing 2 powerplay goals against a team that was struggling at home on the PP (statistically). Did Toronto have the talent to score on the PP? Absolutely. Anyone watching Maple Leafs hockey is aware of the danger that Phil Kessel, Van Riemsdyk, and Dion Phaneuf (to name a few) present in this situation. And the changes to the PK for Buffalo will take time. Myers is an important part of this team’s PK and it will sort itself out when he decides to commit.
Offensively, the team appeared no different. Shots towards Ben Scrivens were easy to handle as little net pressure continued as it has. Rolston has been cited as describing this as a factor in the lack of offense last night. As even Lindy Ruff has explained, they need traffic to the net. Even recently scratched rookie, Mikhail Grigorenko, has understood this. So why not the rest of the team?
Fans hope that the new voice of Ron Rolston will influence the team to move into a better direction. The team practiced today in Amherst and all are desperate to witness growth towards their playoff goal. This goal appears to be lofty as it has been claimed that the team must go 19-7-4 from here out to gain the eighth place spot. And it depends on how the other teams will perform as well. Although pessimism continues from fans, they have been surprised before (note the run after Terry Pegulla purchased the team.
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