A busy weekend for not only the Buffalo Sabres – but many out there in the sports world as two matinee games, Rochester being on television, the Bandits playing, all culminating in the finale that is the Super Bowl.
Congrats to the 2013 NFL Champions The Baltimore Ravens.
Ok, obligatory congrats out of the way, back to hockey.
So all weekend, I was planning this post in my head, wondering what sarcastic angle that I could take this – by giving it to one of the many players on the team that has stunk so bad, its going to get old really quick giving the game pucks each night to Thomas Vanek because he is the only one in a Blue and Gold sweater that can score a goal.
The line of Jason Pominville, Cody Hodgson and Vanek continue to be the only reason the Buffalo Sabres get mentioned beyond the borders of Sabres Nation. So before I announce my game pucks winners from this weekends massacres, lets go over a few nominations:
Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold – maybe they can get the game puck and pass it back and forth, remmebering what a tape to tape pass sounds like, re-learn how to clear the zone. How to win a battle. How to knock a guy off the puck, or at least legally disrupt his ability to make a play that leads to a goal. Myers and Leopold are a combined -14, Drew Stafford is the only other Buffalo Sabres player with a worse rating than Myers, the bottom three are Myers (-6), Stafford (-7), and Leopold (-8). All the talk in the short time leading up to the season is how deep the Buffalo Sabres blue line was, and how we would have made the playoffs had Tyler Myers and Christian Erhoff had not been hurt. The only reason he still could possibly be in the lineup is the fact that Robyn Regher and Andrej Sekera are out injured.
Speaking of Stafford, he was on my list for the weekend game puck. In nine games you have three assis, 7 penalty minutes, and are a -7, and you have 23 shots on net? This is not the year to be finding yourself, this is the year to showcasing the skills you have. Drew Stafford is proving more and more that he is nothing more than a third line player. If he could actually find a spot on a third line that was consistent, you might see his numbers swell a little bit, because he is playing in an element that he is comfortable with. He is not a top six forward.
John Scott. Let’s hear it for John Scott everybody. On any othe team he would dress maybe three of the first nine games of the season. Not in Buffalo. In Buffalo he has been in uniform for all nine games and gotten a regular shift. In fact, when the Buffalo Sabres were down against the Montreal Canadiens and Vanek scored the lone Buffalo Sabres goal – to keep momentum going Lindy Ruff followed the goal up with John Scott. Granted, he did his job in fighting – but you have to be more than just that. John Scott has one goal to his credit in his entire career. George Parros fought John Scott on Sunday when the Florida Panthers came to town, not only did Parros fight the Buffalo Sabres goon, but he also scored a goal that started the comeback for the Panthers. Parros has 18 career NHL goals.
The last nomination that was able to make the cut this weekend was Lindy Ruff. To the man that can do no wrong behind the bench, despite the fact that he has a mediocre coaching recordwith the Buffalo Sabres and no history of being a head coach anywhere else – you can make decisions and screw games up – not be able to motivate players properly, your message is lost, but you get the game puck because your still here.
Not, this weekends game puck goes to the Fans. The faithful that looked at the lockout like they were being snubbed, but came back full force and bought the tickets – that bought record numbers of merchandise in the week long 50% off sale at the First Niagara Center store. That have stood by this team for 15 years while they allow Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier to represent their “brand” of hockey that they think can win in the NHL. The fans that deserve more.