Overreactions, Preseason Edition #1: Success isn’t always perfection

Well, it’s good to be back, isn’t it?

Hitting the ice for the first time in the newly-named and remodeled First Niagara Center, the Buffalo Sabres opened the 2011 exhibition slate with a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Earning goals from Paul Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe and an empty netter from Patrick Kaleta, the team came back to get the win on the strength of 11 saves from Jhonas Enroth.

Sure, the game presentation still sucks ass, but who cares when the buildings full and the team wins, right? I’ll save that for another post. I won’t let that ruin the insight on the game.

Points to make after a meaningless win:

  • It seemed to me like a lot of the rookies played very tentative. The Zack Kassian-Luke Adam-Marcus Foligno line was ineffective for most of the night. It took a while for Alex Biega and T.J. Brennan to settle in. They seemed afraid of making mistakes.
  • Yes, the Sabres failed to crack the scoresheet with Brian Boucher in net for Carolina, but they really didn’t generate any offense whatsoever anyways. Opportunities were limited until the third period.
  • Zack Kassian is going to need at least a year in the AHL. I’ve been fully unimpressed with him in this game, at camp and in the one game I saw from Traverse City. The tools are clearly there. But he’s not ready.
  • T.J. Brennan may be able to earn himself a recall at some point this season. Really liked his game tonight. He’s not close to forcing himself into a roster spot, but it looks like he may be ready for a look.
  • It is hysterical listening to fans at games. Especially the fans who yell “Shoot!” on when the Sabres are on a powerplay. The Sabres were generally bad with the man advantage against the ‘Canes. But please keep in mind they’ve had a full two, yes, two days of practice to prepare. How much special teams work have they done? Close to none. I’m not bothered by that 0-for-4. You shouldn’t be either.
  • Corey Tropp had a good game. I liked what he brought. I’d like to see him get in against Toronto this weekend, assuming that there will be some physicality between the teams like usual.
  • Only game presentation note I’ll make here: Did anyone else catch Sabretooth almost take out a couple players on his way down from the ceiling before the game? I’m pretty sure it was Alex Biega who almost got a foot to the head as he came onto the ice. No one was injured, but I almost wish that wasn’t the case so there’d be a worthy excuse to fire whatever moron let that happen. Absolutely embarrassing for something like that to even have a possibility of happening.
  • That Stafford-Leino-Ennis line didn’t produce results, but they had a couple of really good shifts. Leino almost scored on his first shift of the game.
  • Drew MacIntyre played pretty good. He got hung out to dry by the defense on the one Carolina goal. But other than that, I’m alright with him as the third goalie on the depth chart.
  • On the other goalie, it’s good to see Enroth come into a game cold and look good. He may need to do that sometimes this season.

Buffalo plays next on Wednesday night in Montreal, a game that will not be broadcast in the Buffalo area.


Posted on September 20, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I personally thought Leino didn’t look half bad at playing center. I was a bit skeptical since he hasn’t in some years, but for the first preseason game? I think he looked pretty good.

    Also thought it was interesting to see Gaustad wearing the C. Not a bad or good interesting… just interesting for right now. Curious to hear if he’s wearing it Wednesday.

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