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Farewell Miserable November December 2, 2011

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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.

Sabres vs. Flyers 1/11/11 Postmortem January 11, 2011

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It’s just wrong to have RJ back and yet have the game televised on Versus.


  • I was happy to hear Roy showed up at the arena yesterday, but walking with a cane? Oy. I know why – that was some pretty serious surgery that he had, but still… to see a hockey player using a cane…
  • Woo! Paul Gaustad actually earned his keep!
  • Shots are 11-3 Buffalo eights minutes in. Amanda approves.
  • And whodathunkit that the Gaustad line would be the one leading the offensive charge? Yay Cody McCormick!
  • That’s a brave woman, going into the bench for an interview during play.
  • Dude – what a play by Sekera. Coast-to-coast, but the Sabres couldn’t capitalize. Too bad.
  • I think this is Gaustad’s best game so far this year.
  • According to Sabres PR, Cody McCormick has eight shots so far in this game. The Sabres franchise record for shots by one player? Twelve.

Didn’t like:

  • As per the illustrious Mike Harrington, I know that Luke Adam is scratched in favor of Nathan Gerbe. A curious choice, but I wonder if Gerbe’s been told to fish or cut bait…
  • Ok, if they’re calling a penalty on Mike Weber I totally didn’t see it. Looked like a good hip check to me.
  • Booooo. And the Flyers score on the power play. Amanda does not approve.
  • Is Ennis afraid of the interviewer? He won’t look her in the eye.
  • Ah, the mystery behind Adam being scratched has been solved. He has the flu.
  • Halfway through the game and Jochen Hecht is at a 20% win rate for faceoffs.
  • Good traffic and movement on the power play but no results.
  • Oh, Ennis, you silly boy. Gotta watch those diving penalties.
  • That was not a good goal.
  • Apparently it’s okay to maul the opposition, guys. Just so you know.
  • Wha? Where was Ryan Miller on that goal? He looked like a deer caught in headlights.

Final score 5-2. Five unanswered goals. Way to not win three in a row, boys!

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 the Sabres are screwed December 27, 2010

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Normally I am a pretty positive fan, but I thought the loss of Derek Roy and being eight points out of a playoff spot with a West Coast roadtrip ahead of them would be a good time to panic.

Therefore, here are five reasons I think the Sabres are screwed:

  • With Derek Roy out, no center other than Paul Gaustad, who plays somewhat limited minutes, is in the Top 90 in faceoff win percentage.
  • Ryan Miller will need to rest soon, and Patrick Lalime’s stats are 0-4-0 with a GAA of 3.03 and a save percentage of .890. The Sabres currently sit in 21st place in goals scored with an average of 2.54 per game. If Lalime gives up three each time he plays wins don’t look likely.
  • The team takes the 9th-most penalty-in-minutes per game and their penalty kill ranks 19th in the league.
  • When they have a power play they only score 16.8#% of the time, for a ranking of 17th in the league. They’ve also allowed six short-handed goals, the second-most in the league.
  • On the road, the Sabres sit 26th in goals-for. Only the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, and New Jersey Devils have scored less on the road than the Sabres.

If the team shows me something tonight I’ll do a post with “Five reason the Sabres may not be screwed”, but until then, they’re screwed. Sorry, folks, but it doesn’t look good.

Merry Christmas, Derek Roy December 25, 2010

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Well, even if you don’t like Derek Roy you’ve got to feel bad for the guy. If he’s lucky he’ll be ok by next summer. He was having a point-a-game season, one of the best he’s played in his entire career. This is definitely a setback for him.

The Sabres say they’ll look for a replacement internally. They can find a warm body, but they can’t find another Derek Roy – there isn’t anyone on the current roster or in Portland who can take up his slack. The only way to “replace” him is actually to replace him. If the Sabres stand pat, especially with Tim Connolly injured yet again and Paul Gaustad having a horrific season, they really are in trouble.

Now that I’ve depressed you all, have a happy holiday!

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