I had my first Sabres sighting last night and I loved it. Sure, I didn’t love the game I watched– it was horribly boring; however, I did love that I officially saw my favorite hockey team actually play. And please don’t get me wrong, there were a couple exciting moments: Cody McCormick’s double-fisticuffs and the haphazard goal scored by Neidermayer, but it ultimately was a rather boring game.
On the flip-side, I did see some things I really liked though.
Seeing Jason Pominville actually look like a sniper was pretty nice. Granted, the Sabres were shooting on the unproven rookie Robin Lehner, but the goal was pretty. Another bright spot was watching Gerbe dance a bit out there. The guy has so much talent packed into such a small frame. I just really hope he can survive a Brooks Orpik style open-ice hit– it’s going to happen.
Of course Ryan Miller looked solid in net. Fortunately Sabres fans don’t have to worry about Miller’s play. After that no one really stood out to me. Vanek wasn’t very unimpressive, but I’m sure in the back of his mind he knows he doesn’t have to worry about anything. Now for my golden boy Zack Kassian; other than his near highlight real goal, he really didn’t do all that much. I was actually disappointed when Kassian only gave Chris Neil a playful pawing after Neil took the third man in penalty. I understand he is young. I would probably be terrified to get into a fight with Neil as well, but Kassian is being looked at for his physical play as well as his offensive skill.
My main focus obviously was the play of McCormick, Gerbe and Kassian. These are the 3 that actually have a viable shot for a game day position. McCormick showed a willingness to scrap, which is always a treat to see. Gerbe’s offensive prowess was also an impressive showing. He looks a lot more confident with the puck this season and that is a necessary change. Finally, the dark horse, Zack Kassian. Unfortunately Kassian looked a bit lost. You’re going to get that out of young hockey players. They’re playing at a whole new level and a whole new speed. I think Kassian still has a chance at making the team, but he needs to show a little more grit if he wants a position.
When all is said and done, it was only a preseason game. Unfortunately preseason games mean just as much as PSATs. You may look good when it comes to practice, but if you can’t perform on game day then who cares?