Dec 5, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) stops a New York Rangers shot during the second period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres vs New York Rangers: Knee Jerk Reaction


The lowest scoring team in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres, took on the New York Rangers tonight, and one of the best goaltenders in hockey: Henrik Lundqvist.

The Sabres entered the game with a paltry 48 goals scored in 28 games (the next lowest team has 61). Based on that stat alone, it was fairly predictable how the game might turn out…The Sabres lost, 3-1.

Buffalo, as usual, was outshot – 31-28. The team also performed pitifully on faceoffs, only winning 23 of 64 draws. The stats themselves were a recipe for disaster – let alone the fact that a team that has only won 6 of 28 games doesn’t have a high chance of winning.

Admittedly, these Ted Nolan-led Sabres are noticeably better than Ron Rolston’s version. In games like the one tonight, the defense is much-improved; the team is also more aggressive physically, and puts forth a better effort. Many of the Sabres players do their best to hold on to the puck, and play a possession game. Yet, the team is simply not skilled enough or has the talent to win many games.

Ryan Miller continues to be a stud this season. Despite what any stats or records say, he has been one of the best goalies in the NHL this season. Mike Weber wanted his presence to be known, and was physical for most of the game. Tyler Myers and Mark Pysyk were trying to create more offense by jumping into the rush. Coach Ted Nolan decided to try and employ a 4-man attack, in hopes of jump-starting a dead offense, to no avail. The tactic led to the Rangers first goal.

While Ville Leino, Tyler Ennis, and Steve Ott put forth decent efforts, the lack of effort by Cody Hodgson was absolutely dreadful. Tell me that you did not see Hodgson, with one minute left in the game, avoid going after a puck that Christian Ehrhoff tossed towards the boards? PATHETIC. Ehrhoff had to chase after the puck as soon as he realized Hodgson was not going to skate for it. This type of behavior is unacceptable, and uncalled for. The Sabres should not be paying, nor playing, anyone who has given up in a 3-1 game. Normally, I like Hodgson, but seeing that made me flip a lid.

I am still not sure what Henrik Tallinder’s role on this team is, other than being useless. A player like Nikita Zadorov or Brayden McNabb should be getting ice-time over Hank The Stank. I also do not understand the point of having both Cody McCormick and John Scott eating up minutes – especially if they are not going to spark the team with a brawl or goad the opponents into penalties. Just another opportunity for a youngster to be learning on-the-job that is being wasted.

The season is over for the Sabres at this point. This would be the time to start auditioning players, putting players in different situations, and seeing what you have. While I understand sending most of the youngsters to various other outposts to log minutes, I do not understand limiting the opportunities with the Sabres, in consideration of their current state.

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  • Vic Soga

    Andrew, you will not see any change until they hire an experienced General Manager who are few and far between. Lafontaine and Nolan are only going with experience and older players. Girgenson and Foligno are in the doghouse due to their age and lack of playing time. The most exciting part about the Buffalo Sabres is when is the hotel finished across the street?

    • Jes

      Girgensons is in the doghouse? When did this happen? I know Foligno is for some reason. Who knows what this doofus is doing with the team.

      • Andrew

        If they have a doghouse, I bet it’s tricked out with a fireplace and other amenities.

        • Jes

          Lol

    • Andrew

      I’d be excited if they fought more. Become the 2013 Broad St Bullies. They have enough fighters for it.

      • Jes

        I would welcome that.

  • qwicwted

    This is

    • Jes

      huh?

      • qwicwted

        Huh to what? – haven’t you heard that Patty is going to be GM until the new year? I have a sense and I think others do too that it isn’t going to be a temporary thing. Perhaps I’m just ranting because we have taken a babystep, but to me at this point – we have no offense and I don’t see much being done to change that.

        • Jes

          Sorry about that qwitched all that was listed on my computer was “This is” so I had no idea what you were talking about.

          But ya man the firing of Regier and Rolston was a baby step in the right direction but not having a replacement for GM was a step back. And I think someone’s got to tell Lafontain that none of the big time GM’s he is looking for will become available anytime soon. He’s got to know that it’s going to end up being an inexperienced GM. Unless of course he gets one of those really old GM’s from back in the day.

    • Andrew

      Unfortunately, the Sabres are almost out of trading chips.

      Sorry, but McCormick, Tallinder, Flynn, etc have no trade value. The team tossed all their eggs into the “prospects and picks” basket.

  • Jes

    Andrew it’s getting pretty bad. Defensively we are better with Nolan but offensively we are a different story. I believe we were better offensively with Rolston or even Ruff rather than Nolan. Being a sound defensive team is alright but last I checked we need goals to win and this coach does not no offensive coaching. He’d be a great assistant but head coach doesn’t seem like the thing for him, not with this type of team anyway.

    I honestly think “Back To Basics” means zero offense in Nolan’s head.

    Get an experienced GM in here and let him steer the ship in the right direction.

    Get something done before Xmas Lafontaine. Hire a GM, trade Miller do something to make us have even the slightest of faith in you guys.

    • Andrew

      I don’t there’s any coach in the planet that would make this current roster a consistent winner.

  • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

    Seriously – with the team playing this poorly, and with no light at the end of the tunnel for this season, why NOT let prospects play? Is Nolan going to argue you that the team will be even worse with Larsson, Zadorov, Ristolainen, etc., playing? How is that even possible – this team has only scored 1 goal in the last six periods of play! I remember writing that I was happy the fan inside of Pegula fried Darcy and Ron, but was worried that the fan then went and hired Nolan and LaFontaine out of sheer nostalgia. Can no one in this franchise make sound hockey decisions?!?

    • Andrew

      Well, Pegs doesn’t exactly come from a hockey background.

      Being a ticket holder 40 years ago doesn’t make him an expert.