This game, was almost painful to watch. I can’t describe it any better than that. Carolina, the worst team in the Eastern Conference, takes out Buffalo 4-2, in a game whose score indicated it was a lot closer than it actually was.
“Mark this date, 1/4/12, down as the day that the fortunes of the Sabres, and for that matter, the remainder of their season season, has made a dramatic 180 degree turn.”
That’s from Garth, the blog entitled Myers, Leino, Ennis Ready, McNasty an All-Star. Yeah, he wrote season season. I’m not trying to be a jerk.
I’m not going to even start with this one (tempting as it is) . Buffalo may have turned 180 degrees, but then they finished their turn, and came right back to where they were before. Sloppy hockey, bad turnovers, and despite that Myers was back, lost a game that they should have won.
Ryan Miller showed up tonight. Looked fantastic. Tyler Myers looked, ok. I’m going to leave it at that. I wasn’t overly impressed. Myers did join the rush, and he started the play that lead to Vanek’s goal in the second period. It wasn’t overwhelming, but he definitely didn’t play the physical style of hockey he was playing after getting benched by Ruff back on November 14. Myers came out playing aggressive hockey after he was benched, and looked really good for 2 1/2 games, until he was hurt against the Coyotes.
The biggest thing I noticed tonight, was that whenever Carolina got the puck, they knew exactly what to do with it. As Carolina entered the Buffalo zone, their forwards knew that no one was going to hit them. Carolina generated some very good scoring opportunities and odd man rushes just by knowing that no one would hit them. They knew it, and exploited it. Buffalo had 9 hits. 9!!! Carolina had 25 at the end of the night.
The other thing that I noticed, is that Carolina’s players kept cycling. Buffalo would have 5 players in their own end, but yet, Carolina, while in the midst of a line change, would continue to apply pressure, and keep the puck in the Buffalo zone. Carolina also kept moving, and always seemed to get the puck in open space. Carolina just always seemed to have a radius around them with no Sabres near them when they got the puck. They generated their own opportunities by finding the open patch of ice, and then getting the pass from their opponents.
I can hear the excuses for tonight now... “Roy got hurt early.”
Really? No, REALLY???
Roy has barely don’t a thing this season. He has a grand total of 24 points this season, and hasn’t looked that great this year. He makes horrid turnovers. Plus, a lot of the other players who had been hurt, hadn’t really been delivering for Buffalo this season. Leino hadn’t been, Gerbe, Sekera, Boyes, and yes, even Myers, weren’t coming through for Buffalo. So why does it even matter if they were hurt? They weren’t delivering when they were healthy. I say this loud and clear, especially to Garth; It doesn’t matter how many man games Buffalo has lost this season. The players who were hurt, weren’t delivering in the first place.
This was the 2nd game, of a stretch of 6 games where Buffalo needed to win to start to straighten things out. Buffalo should have beaten Carolina. A struggling team, dead last in the Eastern Conference, and Buffalo gets out skated, and out played tonight. Despite what Garth thinks about players coming back, I’d be more than excited to see Leino come back. But he hasn’t been doing anything!!! 10 points this season, thats it. Why should the fans expect anything to be different after his injury?
The sad thing is that Garth expects it.
Want to play the injury card? Fine. Myers was the one player Buffalo has “missed” the most this year. It didn’t help tonight against the worst team in the East, why should Sabres Nation be excited about anyone else coming back?
I come back to it, and I’m sorry to all the people who are tired of it. This comes down to coaching. Ruff’s system may have looked good with Briere and Drury, but that was 4 years ago. Time to move on. Just because it worked then, doesn’t mean it’s going to work now. What am I saying, it’s NOT working now.
Also, I ask how many people have actually seen the Amerks play this year? I have. I go to the games in Rochester. I see 2 different teams when watching Rochester, and then Buffalo.
Tonight was a hockey game that Buffalo should have won. Buffalo still has 4 games coming up that they can win. Winnipeg, 2 against the Leafs, and the Islanders (who are now last in the East prior to their game against the Ducks tonight). Buffalo needs to win these games. They need a win streak before starting a brutal road trip.
The next 4 games, Buffalo has to win, or at least show improvement in each and every game they play. If Buffalo continues to falter against these 4 teams, which are fairly easy match ups compared to the road games against Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis (all in the top 5 of the Western Conference) which are coming the week of the 16th, I’d watch for Buffalo to start making moves. First of all, I’d look for fresh blood behind the bench.
I ask you; when does Pegula say enough is enough and fires Ruff, or will he do it at all?