Again, I wasn’t going to write this until I saw another unrealistic view of the Sabres portrayed on here. Come back to us Garth...
Here’s his excuses for why Buffalo is sinking fast, and again, I quote
1. Lack of scoring
Ok, I can go with the lack of scoring part. I know, me agree with him? I’m scared too.
However, I come back to the fact that injuries ARE NOT AN EXCUSE. Other teams have had injuries too, look at the amount of different players Minnesota has had in this year, and other teams injuries too, but they seem to not be riding that excuse..
“The caveat is that injuries have claimed all of the projected offensive production of Leino, Boyes, Ennis” Another quote from Garth.
Here’s some stats...
Ehrhoff- 17 points 37 games played
Gerbe- 14 points, 30 games played
Boyes- 10 points, 28 games played
Leino- 10 points, 30 games played
Kassian, 6 points, 18 games played
Ennis, 5 points, 16 games played
Want me to continue Garth? Here’s a chunk of players who are/were hurt. Sadly, the one leading the way was Ehrhoff when it comes to points. But look at these number. These guys get hurt, why does it matter, they weren’t delivering in the first place. Like I have said time and time again, injuries aren’t an excuse. By saying the team is playing bad because of injuries, is like trying to have an alcoholic find a way to justify returning to the bottle.
Now, let me debunk Garth’s goaltending excuse.
It’s starting to look to me like Buffalo is expecting their goaltenders to make at least 40 saves a night. For example, 46 shots (6 posts) on New Years Eve agains Ottawa. 41 shots against the Jets on Saturday (3 posts). And lets be honest with each other here... These shots that they are giving up, are high quality shots. Miller kept Buffalo in that game against Carolina on Friday night. Yes, he should have had LaRose’s goal. Let me say that again, so no one can use that one against me. Miller should have had LaRose’s goal!
That being said, look at the shots that other teams are getting? How can Miller or Enroth be expected to be these great goalies lately? The team is playing poorly in front of them, and they are expected to come up night after night with phenomenal saves. Buffalo fans should consider themselves lucky right now that these 2 are keeping the games close! One could argue that Buffalo should be getting blown out of the water each and every night. Especially since they keep allowing their opponents to get simply amazing shots that any decent hockey team wouldn’t allow to happen.
I personally think that Miller and Enroth are just getting tired with having to stand on their heads to make saves every night. Saves that they shouldn’t have to make.
“We know that Darcy and Lindy are safe right now.”
Well, they shouldn’t be.
With what the expectations were in the off season for the Sabres, I’d grade the entire team right now a D+
How to fix this? Defensively, defend your zone with authority. Start taking players out as they come into the zone. Don’t let them skate with the puck. Take them off it. Then, to move to offensive attack, get out of your zone quickly and efficiently. Buffalo needs to have fast breakouts, instead of having 3 players back in their own end, make 2-3 extra passes, and then try to send 2 forwards through 5 opposing players. Start fast breakouts, and try to generate some odd man rushes (another thing lacking from Buffalo this season). Then, don’t pass the puck so much in your zone. When in doubt, shoot it. Don’t make that extra pass to try and set up the perfect play. Good things happen when you shoot, look at Pominville’s goal against Carolina on Friday... Talk about soft goals...
The only good news about this season so far is that this isn’t an insurmountable deficit the Sabres have to overcome to claw back into playoff contention. That, and that there’s still 41 games to play. There’s a lot of time left in the season.
Time to make the most of it.