Sabres thoughts: Olympic break..get back to defense..fighting..and more

Sabres thoughts: Olympic break..get back to defense..fighting..and more

Buffalo Wins

Sabres thoughts: Olympic break..get back to defense..fighting..and more

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-I wrote the other day that Lindy Ruff’s benching players, having team meetings, and making the players ride stair masters after games may be running its course. It couldn’t be any more true after watching the first period against the Bruins. Absolutely no energy. None. Giveaways galore. Derek Roy was falling all over his own shadow. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this team needs to make a move. There’s just too many guys who are going through the motions, who don’t know what it takes to deal with adversity. Their top 6 forwards don’t get it and were lucky enough to be riding the coattails of Ryan Miller before their recent slide-

-Look, I know that the Sabres are terrible in shootouts, but how can you not include Thomas Vanek as a shooter? Remember how dynamite Vanek was when he first came into the league and had killer moves when it came to shootout attempts. If your memory of Vanek doesn’t convince you, how about his 7 million dollar contract that indicates that he should be in those clutch situations-

-It’s about time that the Sabres finally decided to drop the gloves against the Bruins. However, I couldn’t help but get annoyed when Milan Lucic came to the aid of Zedno Chara when Paul Gaustad was challenging him to fight. Of course, Chara should have dropped the gloves, but it should tell you what the other 29 NHL teams are thinking when you try and mess with their star players. I can only assume that this is something that Ryan Miller wishes the Sabres could learn from-

-Man, could the Olympic Break come at a better time for the Sabres? BTW, if I hear anyone at the end of the season mention the Olympics as an excuse if Ryan Miller plays poorly down the stretch, I’m going to vomit. There’s been a lot of goaltenders, from Hasek to Irbe, who have won the cup after going deep into the Olympics. I’m also willing to bet that the Stanley Cup champion will more than likely have a couple of prominent Olympians with medals on their team-

-Look, I know I get a negative wrap, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to give credit to the Sabres for rallying from two goals down when you’re playing against a team that has won once in the last 11 games. However, I will give Gaustad credit for being the best Sabre on the ice-

-I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of hearing a reporter or talk show host say the following: “Oh, we are still waiting for Lindy Ruff’s press conference. I assure you that he must be giving hell to the troops or making them walk on hot coals, while being shot with pucks.” Ugh, Enough! We know that. We’ve heard that line for the last 13 years! Am I suppose to feel good about myself because Ruff is going to unleash verbal hell on his players, something they’ve heard 100’s of times before?-

-Look, I know that I bi#$hed and complained religiously about the Sabres style of play boring me to tears. So, I’m going to beg and plead for the Sabres to bring back that boring ass type of defensive style. I promise, I’ll get excited when Robie uses the Robistrator when describing someone back checking. I promise, I’ll write scouting reports about Tallinder and Lydman. I promise, I’ll induct Teppo Numminen into the “Joe from NYC Hall of Fame.” We all know that the Sabres more than likely aren’t going to change this roster. The only way they can be competitive and weather the storm is if they completely commit to playing defense. It’s what brought them to first place and it’s the only way to stay in first place. I wrote earlier this season that the Sabres reminded me of the 99′ Stanley Cup finals team with their solid defense, great goaltending and sub par offense. Time to get back to that style, boys-

-Obviously, the biggest internal optimist will say, ” If I were to tell you in October that the Sabres were in a first place tie with Ottawa for the division lead in February, would you have taken that?” Of course, I would say yes. But my biggest qualm is that the last 11 games aren’t just about the team’s struggles, but a microcosm of what I’ve seen from the Sabres in the last two years. Defensive lapses, playing poorly against bad teams, lack of physical play and inconsistent scoring are deficiencies that I’m
tired of seeing. Sorry Larry and Darcy, but you can’t keep telling me that this team has grown up, when there’s constant reminders of their play from the last couple of years-

-Forget Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes. Saturday’s game against the Sharks is a BIG test for the Sabres, and I’m not talking about on the ice..I’m talking mentally. It was only 3 weeks ago that Buffalo played a very good game, albeit in a losing effort against the Sharks. Remember how fans were talking about how they took the loss as a stepping stone for being able to play with the big boys. My have times changed. It’s a whole lot different to play with sky high confidence and being up 13 points in the division, then it is to be on a losing streak and tied with Ottawa. Beating the Sharks will at least show me that the team can deal with adversity when playing against the best. Like Darcy has said, it’s all about looking from within-

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