Farewell Miserable November December 2, 2011Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
Tags: Brayden McNabb, Buffalo Sabres, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville, Joe Finley, Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers, Ville Leino, Zack Kassian
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With the month of November in the rear-view mirror, the Sabres will be hoping Santa doesn’t have lumps of coal waiting for them in the bottoms of their stockings. Between the calamitous injury situation, the collective turtling in the face of the big bad Bruins and the simultaneous initiation of half-a-dozen rookies into the senior ranks, the Sabres actually didn’t do too badly, finishing 7-6-1 (15 out of a possible 28 points). Yes I know, my glass of Blue Light is half-full, but I do have a six-pack of PBR tallboys chilling in the fridge if things had been more miserable. Player A could have been out for the season, Player B could have broken more bones, Player C could have missed more games, etc etc (I am not naming names lest even more Sabres find their way onto the injury report). In fact, we could have gone 0-14-0 and where would we be then?!
So with that in mind, here are some things to look forward to in this festive month -
- Ryan Miller will be back very soon. Hopefully refreshed from an early season break. And hopefully in a better frame of mind than the time he got injured when he was quite dreadful at times, no thanks to the vanishing act by the supporting cast in front of him.
- Tyler Ennis gets to try again. ‘Enzo’ needs to be better during Take Two. In the first go-around of seven games prior to his injury, he looked nothing like his 2010-11 avatar that scored 49 points. It might help that Leino is settling in and has been playing better, but all signs point to Ennis getting first dibs on the line with Roy and Stafford as soon as he is back.
- Tyler Myers continues his comeback. After a pretty rough start culminated in his benching for a game, Myers had a couple of solid efforts and it looked like he was back to form again. However, an innocuous-looking collision resulted in a broken bone and he has been sidelined until the middle of this month.
- Thomas Vanek and team captain Jason Pominville have both been playing like elite wingers, and have combined to drag the Sabres out of their proclivity to slump to long losing streaks. We would love to see this pair keep scoring and lead from the front.
- Zack Kassian is here. The fan-proclaimed future of the Sabres finally made his way up to the senior team, and promptly went about earning his keep as a physical forward with an eye for goal. If he can continue to combine his feisty approach with some timely scoring, the Sabres will be vindicated in spending the 13th overall pick on him in the 2009 Entry Draft.
- Big Joe Finley getting a stint with the Sabres. I propose that the moniker ‘Big’ be permanently prefixed to Finley’s name – the 6’8″, 260lb behemoth is not only big, he plays big too, laying crushing hits and gleefully dropping the gloves. And in his spare time he tosses around lawnmowers and kitchen tables, and slashes team mascots too. Read all about him here.
- The rise of Brayden McNabb. Another one of the big-bodies that is expected to form the new Sabres core, he has settled in very well, fighting for the puck in the corners, clearing the blue ice of foreign matter (and players) and distributing the puck effectively up the ice too.
Mentors for Myers July 6, 2011Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Tyler Myers
Tyler Myers was labeled the ‘Big Easy’ at the beginning of the 2009-10 season, with his languid, smooth-skating style belying his 6’8″ stature. At the time Sabres fans were not even sure that he would be kept up at the big club or sent back to Kelowna Rockets in the juniors after the ten-game limit had expired. Paired up with veteran Henrik Tallinder, Myers did enough in those games (2G, 3A, +10) to ensure that there was no way management could not keep him here. His career seemed to take off after that, drawing comparisons to Bruins behemoth Zdeno Chara. His Calder Trophy-winning regular season stats of 11G, 37A, +13, 32PIM & 91 hits had fans licking their lips at the prospect of finally having our very own Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer or Nicklas Lidstrom, a rock to build championship teams on for years to come. However, he ended the year with a whimper being largely anonymous in the 6-game loss to the Bruins in the playoffs.
In his second season, the dreaded sophomore slump took root, with Myers having an abysmal start to the season. The Sabres had chosen to not keep either Tallinder or fellow veteran Tony Lydman, and this seemed to affect his play. He did not look ready to be part of the top-pairing D, and often was lost on ice without the guidance of senior mentor figures. The weight of expectation started bowing down his lanky shoulders and with him fell the fortunes of the Sabres, seemingly out of the post-season chatter around the half-season mark 2011 rolled around. Losing Derek Roy galvanized the team and under the firepower of Thomas Vanek the Sabres rallied to make the playoffs. Myers’ offensive stats were unspectacular and his plus-minus had just made it to zero with a couple of games left in the year. The playoffs brought out a different beast in Myers, who ended up bullying the Broad St. Bullies with his physical domination of the boards and gritty demeanor in the blue paint. While a lot of potential stars have faded out in their second year of play, Myers was able to turn it around mid-season and end on a personal high.
It appears Lindy Ruff & Co. identified that having some veteran support for Myers was going to be crucial in making him the star D-man he has the potential to become. One of the things we have seen with the new ownership is that what Pegula wants, Pegula gets. In the days before free agency, gritty Flames D-man Robyn Regehr was convinced to come ply his gritty trade here in Buffalo, and then hours before noon on July 1st, prized free agent Christian Ehrhoff was also signed on to the Sabres. In a matter of days, not only was the Buffalo blue line vastly improved, but two veteran leaders who can lead Myers into superstardom were brought in. The hope is that Myers can eventually turn into a physical shutdown defenseman of Regehr’s nature, with the offensive firepower and forward vision that Ehrhoff brings to the game.
There’s no saying still who will finally line up on the blue line for the Sabres come the new season as you can bet Darcy Regier and his lot are not done wheeling and dealing yet, but hopes are high that Tyler Myers is going to be in the talk for the Norris Trophy for best defenseman come end of the 2011-12 season.
Sabres vs. Flyers Game 4 4/20/11 Postmortem April 20, 2011Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
Tags: Chris Butler, Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold, Nathan Gerbe, Opinions, Pat Kaleta, Paul Gaustad, penalties, Playoffs, Postmortems, Rob Niedermayer, Ryan Miller, Sabres, Thomas Vanek, Tim Connolly, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers
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Do or die? I’d say so. Let’s get this thing started!
- Kaleta makes his presence felt in his first shift.
- The crowd sounds alive tonight.
- The Sabres are really buzzing in the first three minutes. Make that five minutes…
- I approve of Drew Stafford on the penalty kill.
- Butler saves his goaltender’s bacon. Miller owes him a steak.
- Pommer gets his first of the playoffs off a gorgeous pass from Niedermayer.
- The Sabres are on the power play because Carcillo is a stupid hockey player.
- Gerbe goes through three guys and still gets a shot off. Heh.
- Tyler Myers makes an all-star play to prevent a goal. Miller’s going to be doling out steaks to the D with the way things are going.
- Myers can’t BELIEVE he hit the post on that one, but Timonen takes a penalty hauling Grier down.
- Apparently Myers is okay from his collision in the first period. Thanks, hockey gods!
- Miller makes a big stop on Richards.
- The Sabres are on the Flyers like white on rice here in the first 10 minutes of the second period. The line of Gaustad, Kaleta, and Boyes is the Flyers’ worst nightmare right now.
- Vanek strips the puck quite neatly. hee hee hee
- Kaleta out-muscled a guy behind the Flyers net like he was an annoying little gnat.
- The Flyers take a too-many-men penalty in the waning moments of the second period. In obvious news, now would be a good time to take a two-goal lead.
- Richards gets five minutes for elbowing. Amanda approves.
- Weber gets called with a silly penalty. Borderline, but what can you do?
- Stafford negates the power play with a holding penalty. Again, dubious.
- Connolly lets his man go on the power play and the Flyers nearly score short-handed.
- Ennis doesn’t look right. Neither does Leopold.
- Boyes hits the second post of the period.
- Myers takes a knee-on-knee hit from Carter and goes down like the giant he is. The building shook.
- Wow. That was one of the worst five-minute power plays I’ve seen in my entire life.
On to game five!
Sabres vs. Devils 3/26/11 Postmortem March 26, 2011Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
Tags: Henrik Tallinder, Nathan Gerbe, Opinions, Postmortems, Ryan Miller, Sabres, Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers
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Well, I tried to blog the game last night but my DD (dear daughter) had other plans. Let’s hope she behaves better tonight.
- Wow – what a play be Gerbe. There’s a kid who never gives up on a play.
- The Sabres are all over the Devils here in the first period.
- Hee hee hee – with around six minutes left in the first shots are 11-3 Sabres.
- And the monkey has left the building. Oh, and Vanek scored. It appeared to be a set play from a faceoff.
- Hee hee hee, part 2 – after the first period Kovalchuk is a -2 with no shots on goal.
- Ryan Miller doesn’t look tired right now…
- I’m surprised Henrik Tallinder went to the correct penalty box.
- The score doesn’t show it but the Sabres overall are dominating.
- Tyler Myers just had to dive onto the bench to prevent a “too many men” penalty.
- Brodeur appears to want to know WTH happened to his team.
- So the ref decided to call a penalty. It appeared totally arbitrary. The Sabres stood tall on the penalty kill though.
- The power play doesn’t look so good.
- Whoa – Clarkson takes a run at Gerbe. Pick on someone your own size.
An excellent weekend. Winning the games they need to win – Amanda approves.
Final score: Buffalo 2, New Jersey 0
Sabres vs. Canadiens 3/22/11 Postmortem March 22, 2011Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
Tags: Andrej Sekera, Brad Boyes, Cody McCormick, Mike Grier, Nathan Gerbe, Opinions, Paul Gaustad, Postmortems, Rob Niedermayer, Ryan Miller, Sabres, Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers
All right. I was gone earlier tonight and so I’m starting this blog from the beginning of the second period. These are points Buffalo desperately needs – hopefully they’ll what they have to do.
- The little guy is playing at twice his size and about four times the heart of some of his teammates. Gerbe gets another one off of a nice point shot. Drew a great penalty a bit earlier too.
- Vanek had the puck behind the Canadiens’ net. No one touched him for about twenty seconds. For some reason I find this hilarious.
- Holy cow, but was Boyes ever hard to take off that puck…
- Sekera is dominant so far.
- The fourth line of Niedermayer, Grier and McCormick kept the Canadiens pinned in their end for quite a while. Amanda approves.
- The Sabres are playing a pretty stifling defensive system tonight.
- You know, if Tyler Myers was bearing down on me with a head of steam, I’m moving out of his way.
- Vanek makes a nice play to keep the puck in on the power play.
- Miller is in the zone tonight. Amanda approves of this too.
- Brad Boyes has had a strong game away from the puck tonight.
- Gerbe, Gerbe, Gerbe… look at ‘im go!
- I don’t think Vanek has a complaint about the goaltender interference call. He ran Price over.
- The power play looks brutal. Oy.
- Carey Price needs to say a prayer to the hockey gods that the puck didn’t go in when it dribbled right through the crease.
Final score: Nathan Gerbe 2, Canadiens 0