Its Friday night in Atlanta, and the weather is agreeable. Its currently 62 degrees out. For people down South, its winter jackets and snow suits, but for true hockey cities, its shorts and barbecues.
And that is one of the reasons why hockey is not catching on in these markets, no one wants to sit and watch a team for three hours indoors, especially when the team is not committed to winning. There was a reason why the original Atlanta hockey team only last eight years.
So the Buffalo Sabres will be faced with playing in front of a crowd whose numbers match what Sabres nation put outside to watch the game on a huge television screen – on top of what we put in the seats inside the building.
The Buffalo Sabres however, are doing worse than the Atlanta Thrashers. Three games below .500 – the Sabres are danger close to hitting the panic button. Jerry Sullivan from the Buffalo News called the stat out on the radio today – seven of the eight teams in the Eastern Conference come playoff time – were in the top eight in October. I am not sure if that is a trend that happens every year, but it would be an interesting piece to uncover; and if it is true, were set to have another very long summer.
The storyline in Buffalo, were consistently inconsistent. Blow a team out one night, get blown out the next. The offense is having their typical problems, special teams stink, and the defense can’t find chemistry. Tyler Myers is deep in the sophmore slump.
Ryan Miller looks like Patrick Lalime. Myers is starting to come around, and Vanek is starting to find the back of the net. Just like we let most teams get a jump on us in a game, we are letting a lot of jump on us in the standings.
The Sabres have never swept Atlanta in their building, so gaining two points tonight is key, not only to the standings, but to help some of our players onto the right track.
Pominville remains sidelined after failing his neurological test; that might be a side effect not of his concussion, but because he scored higher than average on his baseline test as a rookie. A solution to that problem since it seems like he is physically ready to get back in the action – is have players set their baseline every year before the start of contact drills – instead of something that happened several years previous.