In my game recap of the Sabres-Bruins game, I tried to focus on the positives. After all, it was a big win, a fun game to watch, and a high profile display of one of the NHL’s best players right now, Thomas Vanek. Even with my upbeat approach, however, there was one problem I felt compelled to discuss: Buffalo’s defense.
I’m afraid I have to break one of my momma’s rules: if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all. Sadly, I don’t have anything nice to say about Tyler Myers, but I’m still to going say this: he’s playing atrocious right now, and if he doesn’t improve he will find himself sitting on the bench for an entire game, real soon.
If you want proof, and you’re a numbers kind of person, then his stats for the season will support my argument very clearly. Through seven games played, Myers has one goal and no assists. He has managed to fire off six shots, but has at least earned 12 penalty minutes so far, which would imply he is trying to become a more physical presence. His plus/minus is -3. Overall, the NHL will tell you is ranked 97th in the league among all defensemen – there are three Sabres ahead of him – but in terms of goals, assists, points, and +/- his rankings vary between 147th to 550th. Numerically speaking, Myers is not anywhere near the defenseman everyone hoped he would be following his rookie season.
Numbers are great, but they don’t tell the whole story, I know. That’s why I’m glad we live in a digital age! Now, we can relive all of Myers’ terrible moments from this season; for example, last night’s terrible attempt to clear the puck, which gave the puck right to Patrice Bergeron, which was followed by Brad Marchand using Myers as a pylon for a skating drill, going right around him to score on Ryan Miller:
Or this half-hearted attempt to whack the puck away from Alexander Semin in Buffalo’s 3-1 loss against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, instead of actually playing defense:
I hate to keep beating a dead horse – I’m sure you get the idea. Myers may need to be benched for at least one game, as he is a liability on the ice every time he skates.
Then we have Jordan Leopold. He’s contributing even less to the offense than Myers – 1 assist, but at least he’s taken 11 shots – and his +/- is worse as well, at -4. Maybe his age is catching up to him – you did get to see him catch a few Zs on Krejci’s goal, which gave the Bruins forward a direct path to Ryan Miller, thank you very much. And let’s not forget his sort-of attempt to get a body on Toronto’s Matt Frattin, right before Frattin scored the game-winner with 2 seconds left in overtime:
Watching Thomas Vanek team up with Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson to terrorize opposing teams has been a blast so far this season, but the Sabres cannot truly believe that they are built to score five or more goals a game. They need to be able to rely on their defense and goaltending to keep the score low, because they do have enough offense to put up 3-4 on average a night. If these two defenders keep playing like this, however, the Buffalo Sabres are going to have to try to morph into the San Jose Sharks, which just ain’t going to happen, people. The Sabres are already limiting the minutes of these two players, but as we saw last night, they are still on the ice long enough to create scoring opportunities . . . for the wrong team. I’m inclined to see how they do with this weekend’s slate of back-to-back games, but if there is no improvement in their level of play, Lindy Ruff should seriously consider benching both of these players for at least one game each next week. It’s time to put up, or sit down, in Sabreland.
Agree? Disagree? Both? Leave me a comment, or follow me @theaveragedick and Tweet away your thoughts!