The Buffalo Sabres pleased the fans of the team by opening up the season the way the fans wanted to see hockey played in Buffalo.
There was passion, there was grit, there was crisp passing. Sure there was sloppy play as well, but that was to be expected given the late start to the season and the quick turn around in training camp.
Tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Buffalo Sabres had a team on the ropes, a perfect storm if you will take the pun to jump out to a 3-0 start to the season.
Instead the Buffalo Sabres are looking at the scoresheet wondering how they could have given up six goals to a team that could only manage one per game in its first two contests.
It wasn’t like the Buffalo Sabres offense wasn’t there – the line of Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville, and Cody Hodgson continues to score at an all star pace. Hodgson got his third of the year – and Pominville added two nice goals. The rest of the team continues to be silent on the score sheet, to include young star Mikhail Grigorenko.
Grigorenko had probably his best chance to score his first NHL goal tonight – but I don’t think he has done enough through three games to stay in Buffalo longer than a tryout. As much as the fan base wants him to stay the season, it is looking more and more like the Buffalo Sabres will ship him back to Quebec, care of Patrick Roy and to help the Ramparts chase the Memorial Cup.
Nathan Gerbe was his typical self – and even drew a penalty, boarding was the call as Drayson Bowman did his best Scott Hartnell impression, hitting Gerbe in the numbers. I didn’t like the fact that the Hartnell actions in the game against the Philadelphia Flyers – and Bowman should be hearing from the league on that hit. Those types of plays are totally unacceptable and have no place in the game.
Speaking of no place in the game, Dan O’Halloran should be held responsible for his actions as well. The way he tossed Gerbe into the boards to calm that situation down was inexcusable and unprofessional. Players are defenseless in that situation, because they can’t touch a referee. O’Halloran should have known that Gerbe was coming back to play for the first time off an injury from an identical hit, and would be heated – getting thrown into the boards by the ref after getting rammed into the boards from behind – not away you want to return to the NHL.
I don’t think you could peg one person for the lack of effort in tonights game. Passes were off, and there was no intensity until it was too late. The Hurricanes had some luck going for them, but they were also hot to the puck. It seemed like the Hurricanes were pressing hard the puck was coming to them because they were playing the game the way a team is going to win hockey games this year. Buffalo was just expecting the puck to be where it needed, and it usually ended up on a ‘Canes stick.
Congrats to the Hurricanes on the first win in the season for them – they will have some high emotions coming into Buffalo tomorrow night, and the Buffalo Sabres need to play with more motivation.
Jhonas Enroth is now playing into a 12 game winless streak – a huge weight on those little shoulders. The Buffalo Sabres need to get him into a groove and get him a win or two. The biggest goal of the night was the wrap around that put the Hurricanes back up on top after the Sabres tied it. Enroth couldn’t get over to the post fast enough, and it was just typical of the night where nobody wearing white wanted to hustle to the puck.
It’s a knee jerk, and I know I will get some heat for this next statement, but I think a message needs to be sent to Tyler Myers, and he needs to spend tomorrow nights game in the press box. On the Hurricanes fifth goal, he was playing very lazy near the net. The kids head needs to get right, the Buffalo Sabres can ill afford to give him the 30 games that he needs to get warmed up on the season.