Overreactions, Edition 56: Blowing Opportunities

There’s only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and losing to Toronto.

The picture above isn’t something you see much. The Sabres almost always get the better of their northern neighbors. But on a night when a win could’ve vaulted Buffalo into that elusive 8th and final playoff spot, the Sabres came out with a dud effort against the “Buds” in a 2-1 loss.

Only a weak goal by Paul Gaustad saved the Sabres from an embarassing shutout loss to their perennial doormat of a rival. It was the first loss to Toronto in 8 meetings at HSBC Arena.┬áThe beleaguered Ryan Miller made 28 saves in his return to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday’s win in Montreal.

Buffalo received the help they needed tonight, with New Jersey and Philadelphia beating Carolina and Florida, respectively, in regulation, but couldn’t handle their own business. The Sabres remain two points back with two games in hand.

  • I don’t know much about ice rink maintenance, but I’m pretty sure HSBC Arena has some of the worst ice in the NHL. Puck doesn’t sit down, players falling everywhere. It was an awful game to watch.
  • Thanks to an NHL Center Ice free preview, I was lucky enough to watch the TSN feed of the game. Sabres fans don’t realize how nice it is to have broadcasters that can actually call the game efficiently instead of being subjected to meaningless jabbering. I mean, really, I enjoyed that feed so much I can say this despite having to listen to Pierre McGuire for the duration.
  • Why did it take until the third period for Lindy Ruff to realize it was an awful idea to play Rob Niedermayer on anything other than a line that includes Paul Gaustad and Mike Grier? What offense do you expect Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford to provide with dead weight on their backs? Niedermayer has been in pre-benching Rivet territory for a while now. How long until the coaches realize that the team is better off without him?
  • Patrick Kaleta has failed miserably his last two outings to show why he deserves to even dress. He has brought nothing to the table.
  • No goals for Drew Stafford tonight, which means he’s due for at least two on Friday.
  • Bad night for anyone we called “Uncle Leo” on Wednesday night. Jordan Leopold was awful. RIP Len Lesser.
  • Say what you want about the results from Tim Connolly of late, but the guy is working his ass off. I’m really impressed by the effort lately.
  • One thing Buffalo must address before the trade deadline is faceoffs. Either teach these guys how to win them, or acquire someone that can. Sabres are 27th in the league in faceoffs, despite Paul Gaustad being 3rd individually. The centers are horrible at winning the puck, and that is an issue that can’t be argued.
  • The only people in this world who don’t want to kick every Toronto fan’s ass are other Toronto fans.
  • Even Chris Butler seems to want Steve Montador back in the lineup. Butler hasn’t done enough to stay in.
  • The Sabres are 6-1 with Paul Byron in the lineup. He needs to be back in the lineup on Friday. Byron’s presence rounds out the team’s offense, giving them three lines that can score. Kaleta can sit. Niedermayer can sit. Even McCormick can sit after that performance.

Not a promising night at all. Get back on the horse on Friday.



Posted on February 16, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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