Sabres Belated Sunday Surprise

Well Sunday came and went.  I spent most of it bedridden as penance for over-celebrating the Sabres OT victory on Saturday, a lot of which still eludes my memory.  The penance continues as a self imposed prohibition shall enable me to spend more time dissecting the pointless minutiae of a hockey team whose arc seems destined to still fall short of the hopes of it’s fanbase.

And with that  I figured better late than never to get this week in review kicked into gear.  I should consider changing this running log’s name to “the worst sports blog ever” … but with such a bold title i’d feel compelled to try and match that grandeur.

Perhaps something like “A very average blog”.  Still could be a bit self crediting.

Anyway here some shit …read it .. or don’t.

–  Captain Ron is slowing turning the ship around.  After an 0-2 start under the new coach the Sabres have gone 3-0-1.  Albeit 2 of of those W’s were in SO’s.  And 2 of the W’s were against teams whose geographic latitude coincides wit h their respective overall standings.  But W’s are W’s and far be it from me to not give credit where it’s due.

The other 2 games were a bit more impressive.  One versus a hard nosed Devils team that seemed like the exact type of game that caused the squad to crumble so far this season.  Followed by a tough nosed dog fight against the Rangers which led to …

– The 2nd biggest story of the season so far (after Ruff’s firing).  Patrick Kaleta gives a shove to the top of Brad Richards’ back on a penalty kill early in the 3rd.  Richards lands face first into the boards and looks to have a serious head injury.  A dumb and seemingly unnecessary shove resulting in a high profile player coming dangerously close to a career ending injury…. let the pundits rage!

And they have.  I’d be happy to argue the case against everything any of the pundits said because most of it is complete bullshit.

That being said it was a dirty and irresponsible hit.  Just like the one Mike Brown put on Kaleta earlier this season.  You know, the one by the guy Grapes just got through patting on the back. Zing!

-So what’s on the minds and agenda this week?  Well, it appears the media’s biggest eye toward consternation is regarding the Sabres 30th ranke PP unit.  Yep, dead last.  After a few years standing in the middle ground in the league the PP unit has severely regressed this year.

to me … there’s a lot wrong. Most of this has been pointed out already.  First, why is Stafford on the bench?  He’s been on the lead unit for some years and is typically effective.  His spot was taken by Ott and/or Ennis. Which seems like trading out the combination of size and handling skill for someone with a bit more size, and somone with a bit more possession skill.  Why not play the guy who has both skills in 1?  Plus, it could help his confidence to bury a couple of close range shots.  Maybe he got dumped earlier in the year because of his slow start … i can’t remember.  Any, Ott looks terrible out there.

Ennis is useful with his ability to hold the puck and also is one of the better playmakers on the team.

I don’t know about you but “getting more pucks to the net” is a stupid cliche and not at all what appears to be the issue.  To me it looks more like the Sabres are having trouble gaining the zone and setting up.  It’s seems like a frantic mess.  They need to learn to set up better, not pray Ehrhoff’s bombs luck out and drop at someone’s feet in the crease.

In any case it seems like it’ll take a mix of personnel changes and coaching instruction to help remedy the mess, but if they can hold on a little longer they have some breaks this month in which RR can try some new things.

– The Sabres play Carolina and then have a rematch with the Devils on Thursday.  I’m not sure W’s or L’s against either squad tells us much at this point.  It’s all about playing for their playoff lives at this point.  They have a few extra games played than a couple of the teams vying for 8th so they’re in the precarious position of also probably hoping for some bad luck to their surrounding teams.

– Leino might come back this week.  That should give fans something new to complain about.  I’ve heard a lot of Gerbe griping this season.  Yet, since his promotion to a line with scoring talent he’s been productive.  I still think his liabilities outweigh his positive characteristics, but production is production and there wasn’t much coming from Stafford or Foligno on that 2nd line.

I kind of like the illusion of RR playing guys in the positions they’ve earned.  If that is truly what we’re seeing.

– The team has a serious logjam for roster spots on it’s hand though.  With Kaleta counting toward the total despite being out the next 5, plus Leino and Leo on the mend questions arise about the fate of Porter and Pardy.

I won’t mind seeing Pardy sent back down.  He’s been a big body that can man up and take guys off the puck, but he’s been prone to mistakes and gotten caught out of position, subsequently causing a couple of ill timed penalties as a result of attempting to cover up for those gaffes.

He reminds me a bit of Myers without the weird self confidence in the offensive zone.

-Ok, well that’s enough for now.  Gotta save some terrible observations for Sunday since this is going to be slow week with only 2 games till next post.

-Till then … please try and drink this one out of your memory.  That way maybe you’ll forget how terrible this is, and find yourself back here next week.



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