Sabrrrrrrrres Sunday 2/17/13

The depths of winter is upon on.  A still bitter cold morning is upon up in Buffalo.  The type of morning good for sitting inside, sipping coffee, and reflecting on how sometimes, despite petty complaints it’s pretty damn nice to live in a place like this.

And after that moment of reflection immediately turn back to the petty complaints.  This dawning day those complaints will congregate around the topic of hockey, and more particularly the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres take on the Pittsburgh CrosNeaKins at 12:30 today here’s your lead up to what it’s store:

-The Sabres played the Bruins AGAIN on friday.  Almost so many times that it’s kind of drained the rivalry for me.  On the other hand these games have so far given fans the  best examples of how good the Sabres can be.  This one was no different, and possibly even more of an anomaly as Drew Stafford finally got on the board and Tyler Myers did his best Erik Karlsson impression (too soon?).

-And speaking of Myers.  Call me crazy but does it seem like the balance of power from Karlsson went directly into Myers body?  How freaky is that?  As Karlsson has progressed, Myers has regressed.  Then the next game after Karlsson is down Myers looks like he can win the Norris.  No stupid passes out of his zone.  He did have one incident where he tried to carry it down load, got it stolen, and cause a rush, but it didn’t lead to an odd man rush, and it didn’t lead to a score.  He looked like he was making passes with confidence.  Holding onto the puck with confidence.  And choosing his offensive rushes with confidence.

-So Myers is a head case?  Remember when that was the line on Vanek?  This should be fun.

– WGR got me all pumped up with it’s stat heavy proclamation piece on why the sabres should attempt to trade for Ryan O’Reilly.  As I am want to do, I came away juiced that this was a great idea.  However, as reality of the situation set in I’m not as enticed by the idea.  O’Reilly’s stat lines are questionable in terms of his stability and overall quality.  He had one good year, and it’s hard to convince me if this was progress or anomaly.  Another thing I recall is that he was a burden on the +/- in fantasy last year.  Yes, I realize that both +/- as a stat and fantasy hockey might be the worst way to judge a player.  But it sure can take you from fully confident to at least having some questions.

What I will take away from that article is their point made on the Sabres need for a 2 way Center.   I think the jury is still out on Hodgson.  It’s only his second full year.  To me, he really seems like the type of player who could totally develop into a solid 2way.  Why not just ride him into that mold?  The guy, in everything that I’ve seen and read is a hard worker.  I think his back checking, and Dzone responsibility can get better.  But I also think it’s too early to write him off.  I can probably keep going on about the merits of Hodgson, but let me get off this detour and get back to the Center position.

– Ennis, also is young, and can be molded.  I’m not saying he will become a great defensive center, or even that they should try to make him one.  That’s not where his skill lies.  To me they should keep letting him flourish in the offensive zone, because it’s clear he’s got serious play making ability.  Consider the fact that he’s on a line with Stafford, a guy that until Friday was on a career worst cold streak, and Foligno, a rookie who is more of banger than a skills player.  What has Ennis done?  Oh, 13 points in 12 games you say?  He’s an offensive firecracker.  To alter his game I think would be stupid.

-All of that then goes back to a general what to do?  Personally, I think the Sabres are good where we are.  I think they should sit Cody down and talk to him about where he wants to take his game.  I wouldn’t show my hand to him and let him know they are asking because they are assessing long term plans, but I would at least see if the kid is ready to take the next step responsibility wise.

-The sabres only seem to show up for the Bruins games.  Any chance we can trick them into believing the Pens are the Bruins.  Same color scheme and all.  I have a feeling this game goes to the Pens.  They’re just better than the Sabres.  I think offensively they have the ability to match up to the Pens fire power.  Not based on offensive skill (sorry, overall, not even close), but on potential matchups against their D.  Orpik is solid.  Letang is dangerous.  But they don’t do much to strike any fear into me.  Not like facing Chara / Hamilton / Seindenberg / Boychuck.  Not to mention Bergeron.

– The best bet for the Sabres to win this is to play a squeaky clean game.  The Pens power play is unreal.  They will convert.  Don’t test it.  And to get in MAF’s head early by scoring early.  He’s prone to bad games, and the sooner the Sabres start breaking him down, the better.

That’s all I’ve got for this edition.  See you next sunday.



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