Posted 3:02 PM ET | Comments 4
The Buffalo Sabres are sitting at 0-2-1 and seem to be in a down spiral to start the season. The team is turning the puck over way to many times and the top players excluding Evander kane have failed to produce thus far. Goaltending has been suspect and the lack of big saves is troubling especially for a team playing a high tempo, high risk high reward game. The Sabres seem to lack the presence of a top 6 winger that can log minutes on the second line, as of now it is a rotation between Benoit pouliot and journeyman Zemgus Girgensons. Both have yet to prove their worth on the second line. The Sabres have been disapppointed with the efforts of Kyle Okposo, Sam Reinhart, and Ryan O Reilly with one assist and a negative plus minus for all three. Not only are the Sabres turning the puck over, and being weak in both ends the Sabres have given up 4 shorthanded goals which is suprising as the Sabres had the number 1 powerplay a season ago under assistant coach Bob Woods. Last season the Sabres gave up just 4 shorthanded goals in 82 games, while this season the Sabres have already matched that total in three games. One of the bright spots has been the Sabres penalty kill which has gone 12/12 in three games this is a good sign considering the Sabres penalty kill was disappointing last season. The Sabres defense has looked fairly weak so far but hasn't been the major problem within the Sabres, the presence of Zach Bogosion soon should help to steady the fairly retooled defense. Although the Sabres have looked atrocious lest not forget there are 10 new faces on the roster and 3 new coaches playing a new high tempo system compared to that of ex Head Coach Dan Bylsma. The line combinations and defense pairs seem to be failing and need a shake up for the Sabres next tilt in the infamous Shark Tank in San Jose California. The Sabres will be facing a inspired veteran team that looks to bounce back from an 0-2-0 start. the next few games will be physically trying as the sabres will take the western California road trip with Las Vegas in the mix as well. The Sabres must be prepared to bounce back against hard fast teams, this should be a good test for the Sabres team and the coaching staff. I predict the sabres split the roadtrip and get back to the style Housley envisioned them playing, However the road trip could be rough if the Sabres play like they have the past two games. A few questions may also be answered during this road trip... Is this team legitimate and competitive? Does the team need another top6 forward? Will the defense hold up to the expectations and play solid defense? Will the powerplay improve? Will the stars play like stars ? These are all valid questions, i believe we will discover the Sabres are legitimate and the first few games was a fluke, I also do believe this team will need a Top 6 forward possibly Vadim Shipachov of the Knights he was recently sent to the AHL because of roster issues and the fact he was was able to automatically clear waivers, the defense will be fine WATCH! The powerplay cannot get much worse as far as giving up shorthanded goals it will be fine, the stars will step up OReilly for sure, reinhart needs to play winger again and play with Jack ,and Kyle will snap out of the funk. The team will eventually build chemistry, don't worry Sabres nation the Sabres will be fine.