Watching the Buffalo Sabres at this point, I feel like an out of shape runner trying to finish a long-distance marathon.
It has already been a trying season, as it is, then add in the current mixture of rookies, temporary parts, and out-of-place pieces due to extensive injuries and a mid-rebuild. Then, the dirty Philadelphia Flyers lay out a couple cheap hits to a pair of our rookies in the last game. It was not as much the hits themselves, but the lack of a response by ANY Sabres that really got to me.
As for tonight’s game against the Red Wings – I am in favor of slapping the “C” onto the sweater of Zemgus Girgensons. His leadership and effort on the ice tonight made him one of the best players tonight, right on par with Pavel Datsyuk. Zemgus reaped the rewards of notching both Sabres goals tonight, one on a nice tip, and on the other…he dusted Nick Kronwall, and made him look like a rookie. The individual effort was one of the nicest Sabres goals on the season.
I thought Cody Hodgson also had a nice game. Unlike some of my fellow Sabres fans, I like his game and think that he has been developing along just fine. Moving him to the wing has produced better results recently, and I am looking forward to his future.
Also getting a thumbs up from me: Nick Deslauriers. He still has a lot to improve on, but it appears that he is slowly becoming more comfortable with being in the NHL. We have only seen a small sample size, but I have high hopes that he will develop into a solid contributor in a couple years.
My final thought from the game…Matt Hackett is not an NHL goalie. He has had his moments, but I do not see the poise, consistency, or confidence in him that is needed to be a starting NHL ‘tender. He gave up a pair of soft goals tonight, which can often be the difference between a win and a loss when you have a lineup like the Sabres do. Hackett is still fairly young, but I am not seeing an NHL future for him.