What’s the deal with Raffi Torres?
WGR reported yesterday that Sabres forward Raffi Torres is day-to-day with a wrist injury. It’s safe to say he likely won’t be in the lineup when the Sabres host the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
The injury is doing nothing but making fans reminisce about the Dominic Moore deal last season. Moore, acquired from Toronto for a second round pick, was expected to produce and didn’t. The reason for lack of production was attributed partially to a wrist injury that had apparently gone unnoticed when he was brought in.
Wait, the rental has a wrist injury? No way!
The fact that the Sabres may have gotten damaged goods for the second season in a row may not sit well with Sabres fans. But what fans think is irrelevant. It’s gonna be an issue inside HSBC Arena if he doesn’t produce.
“I’ll be very honest, I thought we would see more production,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “If you look at a lot of those chances, those should be goals. There’s no ifs, ands or buts. If you’re a goal scorer, you don’t miss that many chances. He’s at a (mental) state now where he’s pressing, and he’s a little fragile.”
And of course the player agrees…
“Any time you go a while without scoring, especially when the team would like you to score, you get frustrated… Pressing is natural after a while, but it’s the wrong thing to do.”
These quotes are from a April 14, 1999 story in The Buffalo News about the struggles of deadline acquisition Stu Barnes.
Barnes, who came to the Sabres from Pittsburgh in a deal for Matthew Barnaby, had 20 goals in 64 games before his Sabres debut. The goals failed to come once he arrived in Buffalo. In fact, the stats from Barnes that year and Torres this year are quite striking in similarity.
Stu Barnes, 1998-99:
Raffi Torres, 2009-10:
Of course, Barnes eventually found the net. Actually, it wasn’t until Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Toronto that Stu actually tallied. But the goals flowed after that, with Barnes tallying seven in all over the course of the final eleven games of that postseason, tying for the team lead with Sabres legend Dixon Ward and all-around stud Curtis Brown.
The endgame here is what needs to be in focus. Torres was acquired for the playoffs. The team has a spot locked up at this point. Last season, Moore was brought in to help the team gain a spot. His lack of contribution was part of the reason they hit the golf course in mid-April.
Let’s not call this whole thing a failure.
Not yet, anyways.