I wasn’t going to write this... But after seeing what one of my counterparts once again has said, I feel a realistic viewpoint needs to be taken regarding Sabres hockey on this site.
“Decent effort against Ottawa. Yet again, not enough scoring in the end.” That’s from Garth.
What game were you watching?
As I watched the game from the First Niagara Center, Buffalo didn’t display a decent effort at all. I suppose that one could argue that Buffalo showed up at the arena, and played a game of hockey. That’s effort.
However, this game should have been a blow out for the Ottawa Senators. They hit the post 6 times by my count. 2-2 after regulation? make that 8-2 if Ottawa doesn’t strike the pipe. Buffalo didn’t even deserve a point last night from that game. Ottawa got 46 shots on net compared to Buffalo’s 28 lack luster shots. Again, those 46 shots don’t count the 6 posts that the Senators hit last night. If that puck hits the post a centimeter or two difference, it can go into the net, instead of into the corner. That’s all it takes.
Jhonas Enroth was the only one who allowed this game to remain close. The entire team should be buying him a steak after that debacle last night.
Like normal, the Buffalo players let Ottawa just walk around in their own end. The Buffalo forwards collapsed in front of Enroth, and stayed put, occasionally challenging the Senator forwards. Buffalo failed to play the body, and didn’t deliver any staggering body checks. The Carruba Collision of the game was a weak hit by Gerbe. Half of the shots that Ottawa took last night, shouldn’t have been allowed to be taken. The Sabres had better learn to play the body, not the puck.
Not just against Ottawa, Buffalo does this against every team. The other teams know that Buffalo will give them their own end. It’s common knowledge. Every so often, you see a few of the Buffalo defensemen will try to stand someone up at the blue line, but not normally.
Let’s go back to Garth’s article...
“They have lost 164 man games to injury. It’s hard to win games when you have different line trios and D pairings every night.” (that’s another direct quote).
First off, Lindy Ruff is known for playing with his lines throughout the game. Just because Vanek is playing with Roy and Stafford to start a game, doesn’t mean he will be at the end of the game. Second, the star players haven’t been hurt. Vanek, Pominville, Roy, Stafford, Leopold, Gaustad, Ehrhoff (up until recently), and others haven’t been delivering. Second tier players, with the exception of Myers and Ennis are hurt. Plus, Buffalo has a ton of depth. Kassian, Brennan, Foligno, and others in Rochester who are exceptional players. Also, Minnesota has had a ton of different players start this season as well. And they are doing quite well. So why do you use it as an excuse for Buffalo?
Let me again, state this to you because I don’t think you get it Garth. This is not an excuse.
Buffalo’s system of play is broken, and while some people are minimizing it, I’m looking at this in reality. While Garth is focusing on Philly’s goalie issue, I’ll worry about things at home. Seriously, I’d like to have Philly’s goaltending drama there. Philly is 4th in the Eastern Conference, 2 points out of tying the Rangers for 1st!! Buffalo is 6 points out of last place.
“You think the Sabres have problems” Again, from Garth.
YES!!!!!. Buffalo is in a world of trouble right now. Bringing back some of the injured guys may help, but it isn’t going to help that much. I come back to the problem that Buffalo has... coaching. Buffalo needs to change the way they play the game. Buffalo is doing this every single night. This isn’t just a momentary lapse. This is coached. The Sabres are practicing this. This style of play is not working. They are proving it every night.
To start the new year, I think Garth needs to resolve to look at the Sabres through unbiased eyes and stop minimizing the problems they have. I think the Sabres need to resolve to change the way they play the game, because what they are doing right now isn’t working.
Unfortunately, I think in order to change the way the Sabres are playing, Buffalo will need to change their coach.