No, I haven't fallen off the bandwagon.
For three weeks in a row, the games have fallen on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. I have weekly meetings on Wednesday nights and have been travelling for three weekends in a row. I come home to a box score and a lot of disappointment. Because I haven't watched or listened to a single game in so long, I felt it would be unfair if I judged the Sabres on just statistics alone.
Regardless, it's tough to see the Sabres take a tumble, especially the entire team was healthy for nearly two weeks during that period. (And now we see the resurgence of injuries -- namely, Tim "I am made of glass" Connolly. To be honest, I have no idea what happened. Every player's +/- rating has taken a devastating plunge; both Miller and Lalime went from being the top goalie tandem in the league to having soaring GAA and plummeting SV%. I was hoping that the back-to-back games against weaker teams (Flyers and Islanders) would give the Sabres a boost of confidence and a scoring touch; instead, it seems they were outplayed, sloppy, and took unnecessary penalties.
The player switch-up hasn't been overwhelmingly successful, either. Mancari has stepped up, but Macarthur has gone quiet. Stafford continues to be little more than deadweight, with a few healthy scratches in between. Even Tallinder, who should be a hardened veteran by now, has been benched. And when Peters and Kaleta are one ice while Afinogenov is a healthy scratch, you know something is wrong.
The good thing is that even though the Sabres have slipped into a funk, it's not the end of the world. It's not an inescapable hole, and also, the Ottawa Senators have an even worse record than Buffalo. I'll be catching the games over the Thanksgiving weekend for once back in Buffalo so I'll be hoping for some hard-earned wins against some tough opponents!
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It's been awhile since my last fantasy update! I've still managed to hold onto the league lead this whole time, though my lead has been cut down considerably. I've continued to switch up players, so my team is currently:
C - Nicklas Backstrm
C - Jason Spezza
C - Brandon Dubinksy
LW - Ryan Clowe
LW - Alexander Semin
LW - Thomas Vanek
RW - Martin St Louis
RW - Nikolai Zherdev
RW - Devin Segotuchi
D - Andrei Markov
D - Filip Kuba
D - Shea Weber
D - Niklas Kronwall
D - Brian Rafalski
G - Tim Thomas
G - Alex Auld
The biggest disappointment is Martin St Louis, who is undroppable. The latest change was trading in Martin Havlat for Devin Segotuchi. The toughest injury (aside from Martin Brodeur, which explains why I've got Auld on my team) is currently Alexander Semin. The best pickup was Shea Weber.
Goalies are hard to come by, especially with so many starters getting short- and long-term injuries. Off the top of my head, I can name Brodeur, Gerber, DiPietro, Lehtonen, Backstrom, and now Luongo. I wish I could find a better goalie than Auld, but my best options are backups that play a little more than average due to injuries (like Boucher).
In any case, hopefully I can gain some more points in my lead ... the second-place team is getting closer and closer.