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Sabres Preview #2- The Forwards September 4, 2010

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.

I hope you enjoyed the first preview. We’ll now move on to the forwards. There are many, many forwards on the roster right now. Many, many. Some of these guys I can’t comment on because I know nothing about them, but here are the rest:

Tim Connolly: Do I really need to reiterate my feelings about Tim Connolly? If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time (and if you have – thanks for reading!), you know I am NOT a fan of Timmy. I do not like him. I will not ever like him. I’m glad he’s not a vegetable, but I worry that one more good hit to the head will turn him into one. It scares and chagrines me that he’s our #1 center.

Matt Ellis: I have nothing against Matt Ellis. Decent player, good hustle, but there are a lot of players I’d put before him on the depth chart, so I hoe Darcy was smart enough to sign him to a two-way contract.

Tyler Ennis: I liked what I saw last year, but I’ll say thing – it was a VERY LIMITED SAMPLE, people, so don’t get too excited. He seems to have the drive and the skill to be a good NHL player but we won’t really know until we see how he can handle the rigors of the 82-game season. I have high hopes for him, but also reservations due to his size. And if he plays with Roy and Vanek I see the three of them getting pushed all over the ice.

Paul Gaustad: What I’m about to say may get me blasted, but hey, it’s my blog, and I can say what I want. Much as I love Gaustad, the dude is hurt WAY too often. Gaustad is the Pozlusny of the Sabres. He looks big, but he’s fragile, like an orchid. That worries me. Why? Because Gaustad is pretty ineffective when he can’t play “his” game, but when he does play “his” game, he gets hurt. Is it time to cut our losses with Gaustad and try to trade him to a team that’s looking for more toughness? Of course, if I was a GM I’d look at his games-played record and figure out his fragility problem, but that’s just me…

Nathan Gerbe: I’m reserving judgment on Gerbe, but so far I’m  not overly impressed. It’s not even his size, per se, that bothers me. After all, I’ve seen him in street clothes, and the guy does have a barrel chest. It’s not his competitiveness, because I’ve seen him go right into the corners against much large opponents and not back down. So what is it? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think it might be that he hasn’t done particularly well in the times the Sabres called him up. Is he really ready for the big show?

It’s just occurred to me that I haven’t had much positive to say so far. Let’s see who’s up next…

Mike Grier: Uh-oh. This doesn’t bode well for being positive. I like Grier ok, and I’ve heard all the tales about how good he is in the locker room, but he’s not real skilled. Overall, I’m “eh” about him.

Jochen Hecht: Uh-oh. This doesn’t bode well for being positive, part deux. Hecht has always been an oddity to me. Is he good? Is he not good? Who knows? I guess I think he’s decent. He won’t hurt you offensively or defensively, but he shouldn’t be on one of your top two lines. He should be on a checking line. When you try to make him into more of a player than he is, that’s where you get into trouble.

Patrick Kaleta: Kaleta needs to stay healthy, and he needs to be more than a wrecking ball. He’s got skill, I’ve seen it. In fact, when I saw it at rookie camp in the summer of 2009, it looked like mad skillz. I’d like to see more of it. Opponents would be befuddled – it would be great!

Cody McCormick: McCormick should help with the toughness issue, and showed a little bit of skill in the playoffs, but I wouldn’t expect too much out of him. He’ll be a bit player, which is fine for what the Sabres are paying him.

Rob Niedermayer: I’ll confess I know a lot more about Scott Niedermayer than about Rob, but both have had good careers. Rob is turning 36 this year, but the Sabres might be a good team for him – he won’t need to log big minutes and can be a checking forward when he does play. He’s got big-game experience and can help the younger guys along.

Jason Pominville: Yes, Pominville is my favorite player, but don’t think that means I can’t see flaws. I know he hasn’t been scoring at the same pace he was when he first came into the league, however, he’s improved in some other areas that I don’t think people give him credit for. For instance, he’s a reliable penalty killer. He can log big minutes. He’s never hurt, which means he’s well-conditioned. He never complains, no matter what’s happening around him. He can score, or he can shut down the opposition’s top line. Say what you want about your disappointment that he’s not a scoring juggernaut for this team, but I’m pretty happy with the player he turned out to be.

Derek Roy: Roy gets pummeled around here, and again, I’m not sure why. Yes, he can be a whiner, but he’s another player who can score, log big minutes, check the opposition’s top line, play both ends of the ice, etc. Really, how much more do you people want out of a hockey player? Help me understand why you all hate him so much, because I’m honestly confused.

Drew Stafford: Stafford is a player who, though I hate to admit it, I’m done with. I liked him in the beginning, but it’s been so long since he’s shown me anything worthwhile besides being a funny guy that I have come to the conclusion our time and money could be better spent elsewhere. The only problem seems to be finding a buyer for him.

Thomas Vanek: Yet another player who gets vilified. I’m guessing that’s because of the money he makes. But look at it this way – no other Sabres player has scored as many goals as he has in the past five years, so shouldn’t he be one of the highest-paid players? I think he could do more than he’s asked to do, so in that way I don’t think you can blame him for his seemingly one-sided play. Was I the only person who saw that he was an effective penalty killer? Why did Ruff pull him off the PK? I’m still mystified about that…

So there you have it. Your thoughts?



1. Nick - September 8, 2010

“Really, how much more do you people want out of a hockey player? Help me understand why you all hate him so much, because I’m honestly confused.”

Four main problems I find with Mr. Roy. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen some moments of total awesomeness from the guy. However, those praiseworthy acts are all too often in the shadow of:

1. At least one major mistake per game. Many of these result in a sudden change of possession and a subsequent higher-percentage scoring chance by the other team.
2. He complains more than the rest of the team put together. It hurts the whole team’s ability to get referee respect and sway decisions.
3. He is rather good at worming his way to open-net scoring opportunities. But he can miss an open net better than anyone else on the team. (Jochen comes close.)
4. He represents a $4M hit to the team salary. I’ve head arguments that someone who plays the amount of time that he does, and posts his kind of numbers, warrants that salary. Well, perhaps at face value. My argument is that when you factor in the havoc from his mistakes, the consideration lost by his whininess, and the squandered opportunities, it’s not worth that amount by a fair margin.

manda903 - September 9, 2010

Thanks for taking the time to respond. Everyone has their own opinion but I think you’re being unfair to Roy.

1. If he was making these major mistakes once per game would Lindy Ruff give him so much ice time?
2. If he complained more than the rest of the team put together would Ruff give him an “A”, which he’s worn throughout points of the past two years? Ruff doesn’t hand those out like candy and he doesn’t give them to guys he knows he refs won’t listen to.
3. If he misses so many open nets why has he been the leader in points for the past two seasons?
4. Given the salaries around the league, when you factor in his ice time, points, experience, and versatility, his salary is justified.

We’ll agree to disagree on his value to the team.

2. Kathleen - September 5, 2010

Gaustad is the Pozlusny of the Sabres.

This is a VERY good comparison, and calling him an orchid makes me laugh. But for the rest of what you said about him, I’m stuffing my fingers in my ears and shouting “LALALALALALALA!!!!!” ;p

Really, how much more do you people want out of a hockey player? Help me understand why you all hate him so much, because I’m honestly confused.

When you put it like that, um, well… I can’t put my finger on anything particular at any given moment, but I know it when i see it when it happens. I just don’t like him. We all have a that one guy. Maybe if Derek is lucky that guy will be McCormick this year for me, because I am SO not thrilled to bits about that. I do like Vanek, though, and will defend him when called upon.

I can’t help it – I’m super excited about Ennis and Gerbe. And Kaleta showed us some skillz last year – if he can keep that up AND stay healthy he’ll be our secret weapon for sure. Teams will have no idea what hit ’em (but now, in more than just one way!)

3. Richard - September 4, 2010

Seems that overall you are pretty negative. But not inaccurate. It seems like the Sabres have not recovered from the short-lived era of small, speedy guys.

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