I am happy about the Sabres win last night against the Ducks, but there was an annoying little thought that was pulsating in the back of my head the whole game. On my way home from work I was listening to the Sabres pre-game, like I typically do, and that is when I heard that Anaheim will roll out their back up goalie Curtis McElhinney. In the past when I hear that the Sabres will get to face a backup goalie and even better an unknown backup goalie, I usually get a little giddy. Why wouldn’t I? It’s usually nice when the Sabres get to go against the backup; it usually puts me a little more at ease for obvious reasons. Well, not tonight.
When I heard the news, followed by the stat that this will be the 16th time this season that the Sabres will face a backup goalie I finally cracked. What an embarrassing stat! It’s truly a disappointment that a team could go from having one of the most dangerous offenses in the league in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 to having such an anemic offense.
Unfortunately, I do understand the lack of respect that the Sabres are getting this season. Their offense has been truly disappointing. I really don’t need to recap who isn’t playing well or what is wrong with the team– if you’re a living, breathing Sabres fan it is pretty obvious. I just hate seeing a team that I love get no respect (thank you Rodney Dangerfield). They do have parts in their offense that are bright spots and I do want to highlight them because I don’t like completely ripping apart my favorite sports teams, but the majority of this steam is stale and unmotivated.
One of the biggest bright spots on this offense has been Derek Roy. Although Derek Roy hasn’t been scoring nearly at the pace he was at the beginning of the season, I can’t complain too much, seeing as he has developed into a stud playmaker. Roy really showcased his talent when Drew Stafford returned from injury and scored his impressive natural hat trick. The specific example was on Stafford’s powerplay goal where Roy no-looked it to Stafford. Stafford buried the puck in a goalie-less net. That game highlighted Stafford’s hat trick, but Roy had an equally impressive night by accruing all three assists on Stafford’s goals.
Ultimately, it is unfortunate that the Sabres are considered such a weak team. It leaves them vunerable to the opposing team’s backup goaltender, which at this point is a slap in the face. Admittedly, Anaheim’s decision to start McElhinney was understandable. Anaheim was on a long road trip and Jonas Hiller was peppered the night before with 45 shots, but it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
I do want to leave you with an alarming stat:
The Sabres are an impressive 11-3-2 against backup goalies this season, but they are a ghastly 3-13-2 against the oppositions’ starters. If that doesn’t show you that there is something wrong with this team, then I don’t know what will.