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Sabres New Year’s Resolutions December 31, 2010

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In the spirit of being the ever-helpful fan that I am, I thought I’d give the boys some ideas about New Year’s resolutions. Here’s hoping they keep these suggestions and learn them, know them, live them.

Luke Adam: Continue to grow as a hockey player, both physically and skill-wise, and displace one of the barnacles hanging off the Sabres’ ship [see Connolly, Tim].

Tim Connolly: Start scouting for a team who’s looking for an oft-injured, highly-talented center who left his potential back in his high school rink (ED note: harsh, I know, and argue with me if you think you can win. Addt’l ED note: you can’t win.)

Tyler Ennis: Watch old tapes of Maxim Afinogenov. Watch new tapes of Maxim Afinogenov WHO IS IN THE KHL BECAUSE HE STICKHANDLED TOO MUCH.

Paul Gaustad: Remember that there’s more to hockey than being good at faceoffs.

Nathan Gerbe: Keep a picture of a hockey net on the fridge so it can be easily recognized during games.

Mike Grier: Learn how to score on a breakaway.

Jochen Hecht: Become the Angry German we would much rather see than this mopey dude.

Pat Kaleta: Get some new body parts and see a migraine specialist.

Cody McCormick: Send a late Christmas card to Adam Mair.

Rob Niedermayer: Invest in some “Just for Men” so the guys will making comments about the gray hair.

Jason Pominville: Populate his town, maybe make it necessary to open up a Planned Parenthood clinic there.

Derek Roy: Learn how to dance on one leg so trips to SoHo are still a possibility.

Drew Stafford: Figure out which personality is the real Drew Stafford – the kick-ass, take no names winger or the totally-invisible, furry-loving one. Kill the totally-invisible, furry-loving one.

Thomas Vanek: Do some research on Valium.

Chris Butler: Write a dissertation on how last season’s horrible play could be attributed to being paired with Craig Rivet. Try to figure out angle for explaining away this year’s horrible play.

Jordan Leopold: Look up what “egregious turnover” means and then stop committing them.

Steve Montador: Buy an “I’m awesome and I want a contract extension” t-shirt to wear around the rink.

Shaone Morrisonn: Figure out how to stay healthy for more than one game at a stretch. And call Mike Green to taunt him about his Vespa.

Tyler Myers: Use zinc lozenges before heading to Calgary next time.

Craig Rivet: Pick out a nice retirement home.

Andrej Sekera: Buy a baseball bat to keep away all the women flocking in his direction since the Buffalo Spree’s “Most Eligible Bachelor” list came out.

Mike Weber: Learn how to fight.

Ryan Miller: Start threatening teammates with show tunes in the locker room if they don’t kick their games up a notch or three.

Patrick Lalime: Bask in the reflected glory from Ryan Miller’s warm words at the NHL Awards last year.

Five reasons not to push the panic button October 18, 2010

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We are now, what, six games into an 82-game season, right? The team has won only one game. I get that. However, here’s why I don’t think it’s time to PANIC:

  1. There are a fair number of new players on this team, especially defensemen. I think it takes longer for new defensemen and defense pairings to mesh than it does for forwards.
  2. Ryan Miller hasn’t been at his best at times, but he’ll come around. You can pretty much bank on that.
  3. The forwards not named Derek Roy will score. They will. Seriously.
  4. Tyler Myers will not slump for the entire season. He may not have the season he did last year, and yes, he may miss Hank Tallinder, but his play will improve.
  5. There are bright spots already, such as the overall play of Drew Stafford, the improvement over Adam Mair that is Cody McCormick, and the play of Derek Roy.

See, don’t you feel better now? If you still want to be a crankypants and argue with me about why I should be panicking go ahead and leave me a comment. Of course, if you agree I’ll take those comments as well!

Sabres vs Devils 10/13/10 Postmortem October 13, 2010

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The Devils come into tonight’s game with sixteen skaters. I’m guessing that means nine forwards (three lines), five D, and two goaltenders. You would think that would give the well-conditioned Sabres an advantage. We’ll see…

Liked:

  • The 12-foot reach of Myers comes in handy on the penalty kill…
  • I was thinking the same thing as Rob Ray when I saw McCormick fight Fraser- take one of their D off the ice, AND tire him out. Nice job!
  • You know, even with only 16 skaters, I don’t think Adam Mair has gotten much ice time for the Devils.

Didn’t like:

  • Boo for delay of game penalty. Yay for killing off the penalty.
  • Oh, Pat Kaleta, you know better than that. Stay on your feet when checking, dude.
  • The first time I noticed Tim Connolly in this game was on the power play w/about four minutes left in the first. And he was making a mistake.
  • Hmmm. After hubs mentioned that he thought Kaleta head-butted Zajac and then I saw on Twitter that other people thought the same thing I rewinded and looked at the play again. Pat, Pat, Pat… do we need to have a talk about appropriate play?
  • I can’t tell which team is short-handed tonight. This is not good.
  • This game bored me so badly I went to TweetDeck to look through my “All Friends” list so I could unfollow some people. Twitter won’t let me follow any more until I get rid of some. It took most of the second period, and yet I don’t feel like I missed much.
  • Where are my beloved Sabres? And don’t tell me these guys on the ice are them. They clearly aren’t.
  • And the second time I noticed Connolly he was getting out-muscled behind the net.
  • These guys have been trying to force plays all night long. It ain’t happenin’.
  • With a minute left to go in the game, my prevailing thought was, “So many ways to lose this game…”
  • Freaking Kovalchuk. Man,  I hate that guy.

What went wrong? April 29, 2010

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We’re all disappointed about how the season ended for the Sabres. And many journalists and bloggers are asking the same question I am: what went wrong? Some of my ideas:

  • The will to compete simply wasn’t there. Boston wanted it more than the Sabres did. This is a disturbing trend which has reared its ugly head for the past three seasons. Let’s look at the constants over those seasons – some player personnel, including Vanek, Connolly, Roy, Pominville, Gaustad, Hecht, Mair, Stafford, Tallinder, and Lydman; coaching and management – Ruff, Regier, Quinn, and Golisano; and playing style, which could be a part of coaching/management, but I’m making it a separate piece. Because I can. (By the way, I’m not lumping Miller in with the player personnel. I think that boy would compete with an old lady to cross the street, and might strongly consider taking her out at the knees to win if he had to.)
  • Injuries. I’m not comparing our injuries to Boston’s injuries – both teams had players out. But no matter what Tim Connolly says, there’s no way his foot was 100%, Craig Rivet was apparently hindered by a straightjacket (insert your own joke here), and Thomas Vanek was limping like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Jochen Hecht was totally out of the series, and Patrick Kaleta played with only four fingers able to hold his stick in his injured hand. Then there are the players who are injured who we’ll never hear about – Stafford? Roy? My point is this – injuries to key players didn’t help matters.
  • “The System”. Lindy, I hate to break it to you, but “the system” doesn’t seem to be working. How ’bout you spend the summer figuring out a new “the system”?
  • Players tuning out the coaches. Let’s face it – Derek Roy says he has no problem with Lindy, but I was surprised when his nose didn’t actually grow as he was talking. He can’t be the only one. Derek Roy and several other players have been playing for Ruff & Co for their entire professional hockey careers. Even when you work for a boss you love, after a while you start to get comfortable and do your own thing, and there’s no evidence to support the assertion all the players love the coaching staff.
  • Ownership/management not doing what it takes. Raise your hand if you have begged Golisano, Quinn, and Regier to get Thomas Vanek a center who can get him the puck or another winger to complement him. Raise your hand if you watch Patrick Kaleta barrel his way around the ice and a proud tear forms in the corner of your eye, then you watch Drew Stafford lollygag through his shift and you want to put your fist through a wall. Just me? Didn’t think so. The team needs more guys who consistently TRY. It goes back to that whole “compete” concept, but only part of the “compete” factor is the players’ fault. Owners and management have to take some of the blame too.

I may come up with other reasons why they didn’t make it further. Until then, if you have your own reason, let me know in the comments section. I’m starting to think you people don’t love me anymore. *sniff, sniff*

Sabres vs Bruins 4/26/10 Game 6 Postmortem April 26, 2010

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Game 6. Another do or die game.

Liked:

  • I love the line of Roy, Pominville and Ennis. Not sure if I’ve mentioned that already but I do. And as soon as I say that Ruff changes the line to Roy, Pominville, and Vanek.
  • Kennedy plays like he’s 10 feet tall. But kind of like with my daughter, I fear for his fearlessness.
  • They’re getting good chances. Hopefully one will go in.
  • I can’t help but think Ennis must’ve looked just, well, wrong, in the AHL.
  • They can keep forgetting about Gerbe. That’s perfectly all right with me.
  • Six foot 4,000 inches? Hee. Good one, RJ.
  • The Bruins must be DYING to know Kaleta scored that goal.
  • There hasn’t been a real good shot by the Bruins in quite a while. Let’s get ’em frustrated so they start doing stupid stuff.
  • That move around Wideman by Vanek reminds me of that part of Top Gun where Wolfman is describing their dogfight against Viper during training: “We went like this, he went like that. I said to Hollywood, ‘Where’d he go?’ Hollywood says, ‘Where’d who go?'”
  • Man, Wideman is NOT having a good night. Fine by me.

Didn’t like:

  • Going 0 for 16 in the series is not a good way to win it, just in case you guys were not clear on that point. Update: 0 for 17. Oh wait, 0 for 18.
  • Apparently the Bruins did not get the memo about how mad I will be if they hit poor ‘ittle Pominville.
  • Freeging Recchi. Eesh. That dude gets on my nerves.
  • Calling Nathan Gerbe a “tiny tot” was seriously uncool, Bucky Gleason.
  • Isn’t it a penalty to strangle an opponent with your stick? No? Huh.
  • Bruins fans are serenading Rask even when he has nothing to do with the Sabres not scoring. Dumb fans.
  • The next time you go to Wegmans be sure to check out the milk cartons with a picture of Tim Connolly on the side.
  • Do these fans really think they can rattle Ryan “Zen” Miller? Pshaw.
  • One more way-too-long pass attempt by you, Connolly, and you’re dead to me. Dead.
  • And Adam Mair takes another bad penalty. Shocking. And four minutes to boot! When he screws up, he does it big.
  • Since when did Miro Satan back check?
  • Oh, Pominville. Every time you miss another little piece of me dies.

Aaaannnddd apparently no one had the will. Awesome.

On to next year…

I will be posting over the summer, but probably not as much. While the playoffs continue I’ll do 2-4 a week.

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