Sabres vs Habs 2/8/2013

Rando thoughts from last nights game:

-Nothing about that game felt like “hey, maybe they’ve turned a corner”.  It actually felt more like the opposite.  They played a team that was on the back end of a back-to-back and had their backup goalie, Budaj (he of the .750 Sv%) in.  The sabres were rested, and supposedly desperate for a win.  By almost all accounts except a last second moment of providence they should have lost that game.

– Tyler Myers continues to struggle.  I don’t think it has much to do with who he is partnered with, but more about his own play.  Imagine that, putting the onus on the player to get better?  Specifically his game isn’t completely shot.  I think he is showing some fight in his man to man battles.  That’s good.  It seems like (i don’t review tape so this is based on what i can pick up in real time) he wins most of his battles for the puck.  If he gets his body or stick on a guy he’s going to win.  His problems seem to reside in two areas.  One, he is making the worst decisions of any player I have ever seen in getting the puck out of his own zone.  It is almost a sure bet he will make the wrong or bad pass.  I can’t recall seeing a defenseman struggle so horribly with making a good outlet pass.  Almost every pass is either broken up by the other team to stay in the zone, or he passes to an outlet that is in a bad spot and is then forced into another bad pass.

His other struggles seem to come on positioning.  Not entering the offensive zone.  I think he was doing that quite terribly, but he’s cleaned that up.  But when he doesn’t have a sure target to man up to and he has to find the right space in the zone to be in, he seems to always get it wrong.  The other teams are constantly getting a jump and getting behind him.  Or he is waiting in some dead zone in the D that is completely useless.  The worst part about this problem is that it would seem that a lot of this is based on instinct.  I’m not sure how you lose instinct this mightily, probably overthinking, but man … it’s not looking good.  He’s like the Chuck Knoblauch of Defenders.  Just can’t do it.

The remedy?  I’m no hockey expert so this is purely a psychological guess, but I think less playing time might help.  It seems like Lindy is trying to get him out of his funk by having him play through it.  But I think he needs to go the opposite direction.  Find a rotation where you can fit him in maybe 12 – 15 minutes a night.  Short shifts.  Get on and off the ice without a mistake a bunch of times.  Let him get his instincts back (or at least try).  Don’t leave him out there to figure it out because it doesn’t seem like that is sure to happen, and in the meantime we’re putting the goalies at tremendous risk.   Once you fuck up goalie confidence you can basically hang up your hat for the season.

– On the shootout … no Boyes, no problem.

– Drew Stafford may not have a goal yet this season.  But his motor looks like it’s running a lot higher this year.  He is flying.  He is hitting.  He is everywhere.  It’s just a matter of time before his luck changes (I think).  Ennis is starting to produce and I think eventually that is going to help open things up for Staff.  I like him a lot, and I’m glad that although some point to the lack of goal production as a sign of lackluster play, not a lot of that sentiment is going around.  It seems like this year he’s really taken to his leadership role, good for him.

– Like Stafford, it seems like Grigorenko is on the brink of busting it wide open.  He had a ton of opportunities last night.  It seemed like that line is finding it’s groove.  Hecht looked like he is starting to figure out how to get it to the kid.  Only problem now is that the rusky needs to figure out how to bury the biscuit in the NHL.  I’m confident that will happen.  I like line 3 as a real threat to score a lot more than last year’s Goose Gerbe Leino group.

– What do i know about the psychology of professional athletes?  Zilch.  Lets get a rally started boys.  See you soon.





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