If it was not for the fact that my son has his home tournament scheduled to begin tonight, I would be in attendance at this game! Shout out to one of my favorite former students, Nate, who WILL be in attendance – have fun for me, because you might be in for a wild one!
Tonight’s Opponent: the San Jose Sharks
Record: 38-16-6, 84 pts.
Standings: Fourth in Western Conference
Current Streak: Won three
The other day, I made the bold claim that the Boston Bruins were a team the Buffalo Sabres should try an emulate in many ways. Yeah, I know – it hurts to admit that.
What doesn’t hurt to admit is that the San Jose Sharks are another NHL team that the Sabres should strive to be more like as the club rebuilds during the offseason. (Yes, I know I could say the same thing for a LOT of NHL teams right now – bugger off!)
More specifically, the Sharks illustrate the advantage of having at least two centers who are good enough to play on the first line of any team in the league. Buffalo’s lack of a truly elite center has been a weakness that I have spent the past two seasons harping on, and since I don’t see anyone on the current roster or in the Sabres’ pipeline who strikes me as being capable of becoming an elite center, chances are I will spend next year banging this drum, as well. Meanwhile, the Sharks have two centers – Joe Pavelski (57 points and the hattire last night in Philadelphia) and Joe Thornton (57 points thanks to his 49 assists) – who are among the league’s top 25 scorers right now. In addition, the Sharks have a solid young center by the name of Logan Couture (37 points) who is currently the 40th-ranked center in the league, and who you and everyone you know would give up your first-born child to see play for the Sabres. (Okay – maybe not the first, but possibly the second child?)
You can NEVER have too much depth at center, people!
And oh yeah, the Sharks have some great wingers, too, such as Patrick Marleau (52 pts.), and a defense that only allows 2.33 goals per contest, good for fifth-best in the league and resulting in a solid +37 goal differential on the season right now.
But those centers!
Ryan Miller gets the start in goal tonight for the Sabres, so I hope he likes the feel of rubber on pretty much everything he owns, because San Jose is going to pepper him with shots from start to finish. No matter what the final result may be, have fun watching this game, because the Sharks play an exciting style of hockey and are one of the teams I really respect even if I am not a true fan. Enjoy!