It’s easier just to write something new than try to respond to comments. First off, thanks for all the readers. It is always appreciated (negative one’s included). These are all opinions that are written on here, and we’re all entitled to them, and yes, I do read everyone's comments.
I, in good conscious, can’t blame injuries for the poor results this season. I do agree with what someone said on my last blog that replacing defenseman is hard. It’s easier to bring up a offensive player to fill a gap out of 12 offensive players, than it is to bring in a defensive player who fills in for one out of 6. It’s extremely difficult in that regard. So I do agree with that.
When someone gets injured, someone needs to step up and try to fill those shoes. Let’s talk about Miller first. Miller has started 60 games. Enroth at this point in time has started 21, I expect it’ll be 22 after Saturday. Isn’t that close to what we expected at the start of the season for games that he’d play in? With all of the back-to-back games that Buffalo had, it was expected that Miller would be in for about 60-65 games, and Enroth would start the rest. Regardless of injury, Miller still started the same amount of games. 8 games were due to injury.
Yes, Myers has been injured a lot this season, there’s no denying that. I feel bad for the guy, I really truly do. Ehrhoff hasn’t missed as much, but yes he did go out at a bad time in the season. At the start of this year, a lot of people were saying that Buffalo had an extremely deep defensive core. 2 guys shouldn’t make all the difference in the world. So why is it now, that with 2 guys going out, we find it to be an excuse? Why be comfortable saying that the Sabres entire defense rests on those 2? Hell, at the start of the year, I know a lot of people were screaming for Ehrhoff’s head, now he’s an excuse that the Sabres didn’t make the playoffs?
There’s still 18 other guys on the team, take out Myers and Ehrhoff. It’s not a question of them being hurt, it’s a question of one of the other guys stepping up, filling their shoes, and trying to keep the team playing well. No one seemed to want to step in this year and fill those gaps.
As for bringing up Brennan and McNabb, I like both defensemen. They’re smart guys and aren’t afraid to be aggressive. However, putting them together as a D-pair? That’s coaching. Split them up, put one with Regher, put the other with Leopold and stick Sekera and Weber together. I’d rather have veterans on the ice with them than sticking them together at this point in the season (that’s coached).
Plus, even after Buffalo got healthy, struggled in December and early January, and then started playing better, they still failed at crucial times. How can we explain the fact that Buffalo had gotten close to 8th place numerous times, got into 8th place in March, and then would lose the big game(s)? When the chips were down this year, even when Buffalo was healthy, Buffalo lost when they needed to win. Injuries had nothing to do with it.
Look at last night, who was covering Matt Read before he got his breakaway and who screwed it up? It wasn’t one of the rookies, it was Regher.
I refuse to sit here and say “Buffalo lost a crucial game tonight, but they looked good doing it, and half the team was hurt, and Vanek just didn’t look his best” etc etc. I can’t. I won’t. When the end of game comes, and Buffalo has lost and gotten no points, and at this point in the season, when desperation has to kick in, it doesn’t matter how good an effort they put forth. At the end of the night, you lost, and you didn’t get the points you needed. The timing in the season, and the situation that you’re in, dictate how you have to play. There’s no reason Buffalo couldn’t be in 8th place. Heck, they should be there with the amount of chances that were given to them. In the end, they’re not, and they were healthy when they were given those chances to get into 8th place.
I’ve been rooting for this team all my life. I’ll never root for another team, and I’m proud to say, I don’t want to root for another team. Believe me, I’d rather be sitting here in one of my jersey’s (which range from Gare to Myers over the years, even have a Tsujimoto jersey for those die hard fans) discussing how Buffalo has played great hockey and we’re just waiting for the season to end so the first round opponent is solidified. That’s not how this season has gone though. Buffalo has played great hockey at points, sloppy at others, and failed to deliver at key points in time throughout this season, regardless of who was on the ice.
I hope and pray that next season, I get to have a more upbeat feeling to these. I really do. However, no matter how big a Sabres fan I am, I’m not going to sugarcoat it or find excuses for this team when they fail to deliver at key moments. It’s been exciting the past 2 months with Buffalo making this almost historic run. But in the end, they didn’t want it, no matter who was on the ice.