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Canandaigua, NY • United States • 29 Years Old • Male

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Posted 10:36 AM ET | Comments 36
It’s easier just to write something new than try to respond to comments. First off, thanks for all the readers. It is always appreciated (negative one’s included). These are all opinions that are written on here, and we’re all entitled to them, and yes, I do read everyone's comments.

I, in good conscious, can’t blame injuries for the poor results this season. I do agree with what someone said on my last blog that replacing defenseman is hard. It’s easier to bring up a offensive player to fill a gap out of 12 offensive players, than it is to bring in a defensive player who fills in for one out of 6. It’s extremely difficult in that regard. So I do agree with that.

When someone gets injured, someone needs to step up and try to fill those shoes. Let’s talk about Miller first. Miller has started 60 games. Enroth at this point in time has started 21, I expect it’ll be 22 after Saturday. Isn’t that close to what we expected at the start of the season for games that he’d play in? With all of the back-to-back games that Buffalo had, it was expected that Miller would be in for about 60-65 games, and Enroth would start the rest. Regardless of injury, Miller still started the same amount of games. 8 games were due to injury.

Yes, Myers has been injured a lot this season, there’s no denying that. I feel bad for the guy, I really truly do. Ehrhoff hasn’t missed as much, but yes he did go out at a bad time in the season. At the start of this year, a lot of people were saying that Buffalo had an extremely deep defensive core. 2 guys shouldn’t make all the difference in the world. So why is it now, that with 2 guys going out, we find it to be an excuse? Why be comfortable saying that the Sabres entire defense rests on those 2? Hell, at the start of the year, I know a lot of people were screaming for Ehrhoff’s head, now he’s an excuse that the Sabres didn’t make the playoffs?

There’s still 18 other guys on the team, take out Myers and Ehrhoff. It’s not a question of them being hurt, it’s a question of one of the other guys stepping up, filling their shoes, and trying to keep the team playing well. No one seemed to want to step in this year and fill those gaps.

As for bringing up Brennan and McNabb, I like both defensemen. They’re smart guys and aren’t afraid to be aggressive. However, putting them together as a D-pair? That’s coaching. Split them up, put one with Regher, put the other with Leopold and stick Sekera and Weber together. I’d rather have veterans on the ice with them than sticking them together at this point in the season (that’s coached).

Plus, even after Buffalo got healthy, struggled in December and early January, and then started playing better, they still failed at crucial times. How can we explain the fact that Buffalo had gotten close to 8th place numerous times, got into 8th place in March, and then would lose the big game(s)? When the chips were down this year, even when Buffalo was healthy, Buffalo lost when they needed to win. Injuries had nothing to do with it.

Look at last night, who was covering Matt Read before he got his breakaway and who screwed it up? It wasn’t one of the rookies, it was Regher.

I refuse to sit here and say “Buffalo lost a crucial game tonight, but they looked good doing it, and half the team was hurt, and Vanek just didn’t look his best” etc etc. I can’t. I won’t. When the end of game comes, and Buffalo has lost and gotten no points, and at this point in the season, when desperation has to kick in, it doesn’t matter how good an effort they put forth. At the end of the night, you lost, and you didn’t get the points you needed. The timing in the season, and the situation that you’re in, dictate how you have to play. There’s no reason Buffalo couldn’t be in 8th place. Heck, they should be there with the amount of chances that were given to them. In the end, they’re not, and they were healthy when they were given those chances to get into 8th place.

I’ve been rooting for this team all my life. I’ll never root for another team, and I’m proud to say, I don’t want to root for another team. Believe me, I’d rather be sitting here in one of my jersey’s (which range from Gare to Myers over the years, even have a Tsujimoto jersey for those die hard fans) discussing how Buffalo has played great hockey and we’re just waiting for the season to end so the first round opponent is solidified. That’s not how this season has gone though. Buffalo has played great hockey at points, sloppy at others, and failed to deliver at key points in time throughout this season, regardless of who was on the ice.

I hope and pray that next season, I get to have a more upbeat feeling to these. I really do. However, no matter how big a Sabres fan I am, I’m not going to sugarcoat it or find excuses for this team when they fail to deliver at key moments. It’s been exciting the past 2 months with Buffalo making this almost historic run. But in the end, they didn’t want it, no matter who was on the ice.
Filed Under:   Sabres   Miller   Ehrhoff   Regher   Enroth   Myers  
April 6, 2012 12:30 PM ET | Delete
Yes Miller played close to the same number of games, but when dealing with a concussion as a goaltender it takes a long time to fully return. I know this as I used to play goalie and suffered many concussions. Yes there were times throughout the year when some players didn't perform, but if you look at our record with Miller, Myers and Ehrhoff healthy and look at our record missing one of them you can't ignore it and say it's just an excuse.
April 6, 2012 12:33 PM ET | Delete
You talk about wanting to explain how the team would keep getting close to 8th and losing the big games, but what do you call the game last Tuesday in Washington. Did you forget about it, or just fail to mention it because it didn't fit in with your theory? Oh and by the way the explanation for those other loses can be explained by injuries (Pittsburgh, Toronto and Philly), suspension (Colorado and Florida) or exhaustion (Winnipeg and Boston).
April 6, 2012 12:38 PM ET | Delete
You talk about the Sabres not playing well once they got healthy in December and early January, but they played 0 games with Myers and Ehrhoff in the lineup during that time. Do you truly think that it's just a coincidence that the team's great run started with the win against New Jersey the game before the all-star break. If you haven't noticed that was the first game that we played with Myers, Ehrhoff and Miller since we started 10-6-0, which was good enough for 2nd in the conference at the time.
April 6, 2012 12:43 PM ET | Delete
Again don't just assume things because that's what you want to believe. Look at facts first. Look at the record with and without certain players. I agree certain other players should have played better, but to say that injuries aren't an excuse and have nothing to do with the way the season has gone and then be confused as to why the team just happened to lose during the parts of the year that they were missing one of their three cornerstones.
April 6, 2012 12:46 PM ET | Delete
I do feel we could have done better if the right guys were able to play more games, but the rest of the team should've picked up the slack. Hopefully, next year will be much better. Go Sabres.If only we had Taro...
April 6, 2012 1:16 PM ET | Delete
Guess I'll hit on Washington first... Yes, Buffalo won that game, how did they do afterwards? They managed to get into 8th place, then fell apart. Seriously, who looks for excuses as to why their team fell apart? Especially at this point in the season? Looks like someones got blinders on.
April 6, 2012 1:19 PM ET | Delete
As for Myers and Ehrhoff, do you really want to put the fate of the team on 2 players? Hockey is a team sport, 20 guys are dressed for each game. Saying that Buffalo's fate relies on 2 players (which is what you're saying) is pretty ridiculous.
April 6, 2012 1:22 PM ET | Delete
And I'm not really confused as to how Buffalo isn't in the playoffs. No one stepped up. That's the long and the short of it. Players get hurt all the time, part of sports. It's not an excuse for losing, especially now. Other players need to step up and come forward. By the way, look at last night, Buffalo didn't lose for lack of defense... I'd say they were fine without Myers and Ehrhoff.
April 6, 2012 1:32 PM ET | Delete
Long story short- Buffalo isn't in the playoffs because there's no real leadership, and no real grit and determination. When players needed to step up and fill in the gaps, no one arose to the challenge. When others are hurt, or struggling, or suspended, their teammates need to step up. Buffalo doesn't do that. THAT, is why Buffalo isn't in the playoffs.
April 6, 2012 3:12 PM ET | Delete
Andy, when your forwards are not in the top half of the league as a group, then losing even one D man hurts, but losing both spells down.Shore up the talent up front and then the team can deal with injuries to the D much better.
April 6, 2012 3:42 PM ET | Delete
I don't have blinders on, I'm just looking at the facts. The facts are the team is well under .500 without Myers, Ehrhoff or Miller and the best team in the league with all three. Do I wish they hadn't gotten injured after the win at Washington? Of course. Do I wish we would have won those games since then anyways? Obviously. But is it a fact that the team is much better with those players than without them? You better believe it. It's not an excuse it's a fact.
April 6, 2012 3:45 PM ET | Delete
April 6, 2012 3:48 PM ET | Delete
The team currently relies on Miller, Myers and Ehrhoff, because building the necessary depth to survive through injuries takes time. Regier hasn't had time yet with an open checkbook to make those changes. If it's the same in two years, then fine fire him, but Rome wasn't built in a day and new ownership changes everything.
April 6, 2012 3:51 PM ET | Delete
Myers and Ehrhoff are not only great defensively, but also offensively. They start breakouts and get involved in the play in the offensive zone creating numerous goals and chances. Missing them hurts our offensive game because it doesn't get started nearly as smoothly. The only way for us to develop as many chances without them is by sacrificing defensively.
April 6, 2012 3:52 PM ET | Delete
Last night we chose to not trade chances with a better offensive team and instead play a safe defensive game and try to capitalize on the few offensive chances we did get. We didn't play the game we would have normally wanted to play, because of the absence of Myers and Ehrhoff. That's why it didn't look like they were missed as much last night.
April 6, 2012 3:55 PM ET | Delete
Yes some players should have stepped up and that probably would have gotten us into the playoffs, but to think we would have gone anywhere without Ehrhoff or Myers is ridiculous.
April 6, 2012 3:57 PM ET | Delete
Sleepneat - you are completely proving andy's point. When the players were hurt no one stepped up! This team has proven to be fragile and lack heart. Andy great posts...ill take you over Garth anyday.
April 6, 2012 3:58 PM ET | Delete
This team needs one of two things to compete for a cup: health or time. With time under this new ownership we have the money and commitment to take risks in free agency, which is how you get unexpected performances like Jagr this year. With a healthy team we are already capable of competing with anyone. Again look at our record when healthy. We were 28-11-3 in 42 games that Miller, Myers and Ehrhoff were all healthy to start. That's a 115 point pace. But you're right that's not good enough.
April 6, 2012 4:05 PM ET | Delete
What teams have been able to overcome injuries. And you can't honestly compare Pittsburgh who still have Malkin, Stall and Fleury, all of whom were drafted 1 or 2 overall, on their roster.
April 6, 2012 4:07 PM ET | Delete
Injuries suck and they happen to everyone, but when your most important players get injured in any sport you lose, especially when you don't have as much depth for whatever reason. It's a fact. Our forwards aren't good enough to make up for the loss of those guys and our other d play different styles than Myers and Ehrhoff.
April 6, 2012 4:09 PM ET | Delete
If a baseball team loses its top two starters they're not going to go very far and it's not anyones fault, it's just the facts of the sport. We don't have to like the fact that we're not going to be in the playoffs, but we need to understand the way the team is constructed and readjust expectations based on the importance of missing players and how the replacements fit into the team aspect of the game.
April 6, 2012 6:27 PM ET | Delete
Disagree - MALKIN STEPPED UP IN CROSBYS ABSENCE. He has never had as many goals as he did this year and last year wasn't even on a point per game pace. Good teams have players step up when needed - like injuries. Foligno is the closest I can think of and he's 20. Where was Roy? Vanek? Weber? Fragile team - good teams overcome injuries.
April 6, 2012 7:42 PM ET | Delete
How can you compare Malkin to Roy, Vanek and especially Weber. Really Mike Weber. He's nothing but a 6th defensemen in the NHL. He doesn't have the talent to be more than that. Good job pointing out Malkin's worse year. What about 77 points in 67 games the year before that. Or even better, 113 and 106 the two years before that. And by the way in one of those years he won the Conn Smythe trophy.
April 6, 2012 7:45 PM ET | Delete
Malkin's highest point total came in the 2008-09 season, not this year. He didn't do anything that he's not capable of. Vanek has struggled recently, but when the team was not performing he was on pace for his second highest point total of the year, so including him doesn't really make sense. I agree that Roy was a disappointment, but the team's been trying to trade him and until they are able to move him, he's better than our other options.
April 6, 2012 8:08 PM ET | Delete
And one more thing there are only 5 teams to make the playoffs who have had one of their best players miss a good amount of time. Detroit (Datsyuk), Chicago (Toews), Washington (Backstrom and Green), Philadelphia (aging Pronger) and Pittsburgh (Crosby, Letang and Staal). No we are not as good as Pittsburgh and with equal health I didn't expect us to be.
April 6, 2012 8:11 PM ET | Delete
Philly still has numerous great players like Giroux, one of the best players in the league and has led that team. Chicago has other top picks like Kane to pick up the slack, as do the Caps with Ovechkin. The Wings were lucky enough to only have Datsyuk miss 12 games, during which they went 3-8-1. So does that mean that Detroit should fire their coach and GM because they didn't step up in Datsyuk's absence and were just lucky he only missed 12 games?
April 6, 2012 8:14 PM ET | Delete
Of course not. If you ask most hockey experts going into this year those five teams that overcame injuries would be listed as a cup contender. The Sabres aren't quite there yet. That doesn't mean it's time for a drastic overhaul. Looking at the season it would have been great to make the playoffs and despite everything we had chances. So while it was disappointing there's no reason that the team shouldn't stay the course and try to improve on what we have instead of blowing everything up.
April 6, 2012 10:38 PM ET | Delete
Hahahahahaha.....malkin really stepped up this year!
April 7, 2012 2:39 AM ET | Delete
i think something should be done....truly think darcy and lindy should go.
April 7, 2012 2:33 PM ET | Delete
April 7, 2012 2:33 PM ET | Delete
April 7, 2012 2:34 PM ET | Delete
April 7, 2012 2:36 PM ET | Delete
April 7, 2012 2:41 PM ET | Delete
Andy I appreciate the columns. Your better than Garth by far. No sugar coating by you. The problem this year is the veterans didn't step up when the team needed them. I think bad coaching added to the losses this year. Like the Colorado game they lost, Ruff throws Weber over the boards in a crucial time again, and guess who makes the mistake. Ruff needs to go. He stifles any offense talent we have on the team.
April 7, 2012 2:41 PM ET | Delete
Prime example Thomas Vanek. Averages 17 minutes a game. Does that make sense? He is like 150th in the league in ATOI for any forward. But he puts Roy on the ice even when he is struggling or turning over the puck on a consistent basis. Bad coaching?
April 8, 2012 9:46 AM ET | Delete
Injuries of this magnitude are absolutely an excuse for fallen play, this is a FACT. When your best players don't play for extended amounts of games and you don't have Evgeni Malkin to fill the gap, its a FACT that your team will not be as good.
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