Tag Archives: Derek Roy

The Road to Redemption

There is no better may to combat a tough game than to comeback in the next and make everyone forget that last one ever happened.  Tonight the Sabres will try and do just that with the visiting Calgary Flames in town.  The team will look to rookie goaltender Jhonas Enroth to steady the ship tonight.  Coming off a game where he held the Philadelphia Flyers scoreless for roughly 53 minuets.

Its no surprise that Lindy Ruff is giving Enroth the nod for tonight.  Even though he might just be sticking to the schedule like he says, when a goaltender puts up a shutout the majority of the time the coach will ride that goalie.  In my eyes this is the right decision to make for several reason.  The first being is that in protects Ryan Miller for the time being.  It is well advertised that Miller plays an emotional game, just look at his reactions when there is a missed call or something he disagrees with.  Even though Miller would like to make you think otherwise I for one believe that the boos get to him, and not in a good way.  Having Miller most likely go on Saturday night in Ottawa at this point is the better scenario to put Miller into to get his confidence built back up and return him to that passionate goalie we all at some point have loved.  With that all being said the other reason i support this as i stated above Enroth is the hot hand, during his relief stint he was a perfect 15 for 15 against the Flyers bringing him to a .955 save percentage in his three appearances on the young season.

Missing from the Sabres lineup tonight will be Buffalo native Patrick Kaleta.  Kaleta was suspended 4 games by Brendan Shanahan and the NHL for a headbutt he landed on Flyers foward Jakub Voracek.  While at the game I initially did no see the headbutt, upon watching the reply of the incident I have to say the NHL made the right call on this one.  Don’t get me wrong I love a Kaleta hit has much as the next Sabres fan, but there is a difference between a nice clean hit and ramming your helmet into the jaw of an opponent.  If this was a first time offender the NHL most likely would of let the player off with a warning, but since Kaleta is a repeat offender of the offense the 4 game suspension is a fair ruling in my eyes.

Taking the spot of Kaleta in tonight’s lineup will be Sabres prospect Corey Tropp, who will be making his NHL debut.  This call makes sense since Tropp plays a physical game much like Kaleta.  During his 2011-2012 campaign so far  Tropp has notched 4 goals and 3 assist while compiling 16 penalty minuets in 10 games played, while playing for the Rochester Americans, the Sabres farm team.If I had to guess where Tropp will be inserted into the lineup, it would be on the 4th line with veterans Matt Ellis and Cody Mccormick.  This would move Brad Boyes onto a line with Paul Gaustad and Nathan Gerbe and leave the top two lines alone.

Despite what people might think the Sabres besides the first seven minuets of the game played a solid game.  The Lenio-Roy-Stafford showed some sign of chemistry and where creating chances and pressure throughout the rest of the game.  Even though they didn’t find the score sheet I think if you keep this line together for some more time then 1 game you could see some great things from them down the line.  The top line up Vanek-Adam-Pominville continued there hot start of the season and will be looked at to continue it while the rest of the team has yet to hit there stride.

Players to Watch

Buffalo Sabres:

Robyn Regehr:  Regehr will get the chance to play his former team tonight for the first time.  Like most players he is probably excited to get out there and play against the team he spent his whole 11 year NHL career with before being traded over to the Sabres this past summer.  While Regehr has yet to find the score sheet as a Sabres he has brought something much more important to this team, and that is grit and determination.  Ask any player who has tried to squick past Regehr while entering the offensive zone, and they will tell you how hard he hits.

Calgary Flames:

Olli Jokinen/Jarome Iginla: Both Jokinen and Iginla are entering tonight game on high points.  In there last 4 games both Iginla(2G, 2A) and Jokinen(2G, 2A) have 4 points during this stretch.  Look for these line mates to try and continue there game from last night against Detroit today against the Sabres.  Combined the two forwards tallied 3 goals and 2 assists in the Flames 4-1 win.

Between the Pipes:

Tonight’s match up will feature two goalie seeing there 4th appearance of the season.  The Sabres will send out rookie Jhonas Enroth(2-0-0), while the Flames will feature Henrik Karlsson(0-1-1).  The advantage tonight has to go to Enroth who is posting a .955 save percentage in his 3 appearances thus far, while Karlsson has struggled posting a measly .881 save percentage to date.  If Enroth can continue his solid play the Sabres should skate away with the W aginst a less talented Flames Squad.

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Here we go Again

Tonight the Sabres will take on the conference rival, Philadelphia Flyers.  This game has importance for several reason, mainly showing that they can indeed play at home.  Since i last wrote (sorry got busy)  the Sabres have returned home for a stretch that has them play 7 out of 8 games inside the confines of  the First Niagara Center.  On the season the Sabres are a abysmal 1-3 at home, not only losing but looking terrible in doing so.

The Sabres will be looking to come out strong and put this behind them.  The Flyers are not in anyway a give me game, but the players should have the motivation to come out and beat the team that ousted them from the postseason last year.  An added bonus will be the abscencse of Daniel Briere from the Flyers lineup as he is out with an Upper-Body injury.  Briere has generally been the biggest problem for the Sabres since hes relocation to the Philadelphia, so this should help the Sabres in defending the Flyers offense.

Beyond the Flyers the Sabres should be looking to make a statement to the home crowd that will attend the game tonight.  The fans are not asking the team to win every game at home, we are just asking that you put the effort out there and play the game we know your capable of.  This is the earliest I can remember the team being booed at home in a long time.If the effort is put in and the team does not try to over do it on the flashiness there is no reason this team shouldn’t be winning at home like they are on the road.  Granted this has been a same sampling of the season thus far, but as everyone knows every singal point out there is important when it comes to the end of the season.

With all this in mind Lindy Ruff made some much needed changes to the lineup in hopes of creating a new spark in this team.  Marc-Andre Gragnani will take to the press box tonight and Mike Weber will take over for him on the blueline.  I have been asking for Weber to get his chance from the start, going back to last years playoffs he has been one of out better defense man.  From what i understand Weber will be pairing with Robyn Regehr.  All i can say is Philly forwards i hope you wear some extra padding tonight, this pair should hit everything in site and look for Weber to come out hungry after sitting in the press box since the start of the year.

Up front Ruff will be moving Ville Leino back to pivot where he will join the top line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.  Not to say Luke Adam was doing a bad job on this line,  this move is clearly just trying to get Lenio going and no better way then to put him on a line with your two highest scorers this season.  When asked about Lenio, Ruff had this to say:

“We’re trying to be patient, let him try to make some plays and it doesn’t mean he’s going to fit right where I’ve got him, right now, but I know he’ll fit. It’s no different from when Danny Briere got here and Danny didn’t want to play center, he felt wing would be his best spot and I thought it would be center and eventually he ended up and center and that would be his position so I’ve got lots of experience to rely on.”

Look for the rest of the lineup to stay pretty much the same, except for the powerplay which will now be sans Gragnani and see Derek Roy take over the point on one of the units.

Players to Watch

Buffalo:

Matt Ellis: During his 3 games with the Sabres thus far,Ellis has been one of the Sabres few bright spots during that stint.  Hes hard work earned him a spot on a line with Roy and Drew Stafford midway through the Panthers game.  While registering 1 assist this season Ellis wont dazzle you with his point production, but will with ability to play Ruffs system almost to a tee.

Philadelphia:

Scott Hartnell:  Hartnell is on a real hot streak as of late, During his last 4 games he has amassed 9 points( 4G, 5A).  Hartnell is not afraid to play the body physical in both the offensive and defensive zone.  He is well know as being one of those players you love on your team and hate on the other team.  Defenseman should be on the look out and ready whenever Hartnell is on the ice because he is as much a physical threat as he is a offensive threat.

Between the Pipes:

Tonight’s Goaltending  matchup will find Ryan Miller(4-4-0) vs. Ilya Bryzgalov(4-4-1).  Both former Vezina finalist will be looking to get there season back on track after facing early struggles.  How these goalies play tonight will go a long way in determining which of there teams will be leaving the First Niagara Center tonight with the W and the important 2 points.


Player Previews: Offense

Heading into the 2011-2012 season, expectations are high in Sabres Nation.  With the addition of Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino, plus the return of first line center Derek Roy, the Sabres should be contending for the Northeast Division title, if not the Eastern Conference title.  Without further introduction, lets jump right into the offensive previews:

Jason Pominville- No better place to start then the player who was just named captain.  Pominville will be entering this year  after a season that was started and ended with injuries.  In the October 11th game vs. the Chicago Blackhawks, Pominville suffered a concussion which held him out for nearly a month.  After returning Poiminville struggled to find the score sheet only registering 4 points in his first 15 games back from injury.  Finding the score sheet is something Pominville will be asked to do more often even though his PP time might be lowered due to additions who could take over the QB spot, but more on that later.  Pominville should find himself on the first line with Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy, two of his assistant captains.  With that kind of  offensive talent Pominville should have no problem returning to the 70 point range.  Another thing  Pominville will be asked to do is be one of the team’s top penalty killers.

Thomas Vanek- Despite losing his perennial line mate 35 games into the season, Vanek has developed into a player who no longer has to rely on his center to carry the puck the majority of the time.  During Roy’s absence Vanek was able to put up 45 point in 45 games, often time playing with players who normally are not considered first line players.  More importantly than the points however, Vanek developed confidence in his game, a skill that can not be taught.  During this period he trusted himself to carry the puck more and not give it to line-mates.  He showed that he is capable of not only scoring, but passing the puck as well.  Besides Ryan Miller, Vanek is the player this team lives and dies with during the game.  Often times when Vanek is on his game, the rest of the team is, as well.   It would not be surprising to see Vanek topple some of his career highs this season, especially if both line-mates Roy and Pominville stay healthy for the majority of the season.

Derek Roy- Roy should be ready to start the 2011-2012 season where he left off the 2010-2011 season, barring the shoulder injury Roy has been nursing throughout the Pre-season.    The biggest question for Roy this season in my mind is if he can stay healthy, not if he can produce.  Over his career Roy has averaged .81 points per game.  Along with Pominville, Roy should also be asked to help in killing penalties.  It would be no surprise if Roy produces at a point-per-game pace, and having Vanek and Pominville flanking him will lead to many opportunities for all three of them to have success.

Drew Stafford- Stafford is coming off a season where he put up career high in both goals and points in a season he played only 62 games, his lowest since his rookie season.  Stafford should find himself on a line with Tyler Ennis and Ville Leino to start the season.  Stafford will be looking to prove that he has earned his newly sign contract and prove his worth to the City of Buffalo.  I believe that last season was no fluke and Stafford will add on to his previous totals.  He showed up this off-season focused and willing to do anything he could to improve his play.  If this line continues to click like they have in the preseason,  there is no doubt in my mind the Sabres could have their first multiple 40-goal-scorers in a long time.

Tyler Ennis- In his sophomore season Ennis  should be given a more prominent role in the offense.  Ennis last season ranked in the top 7 for rookies in most offensive statistics.  There is something I see in this kid that I just can’t put a finger on.  Often, I have said I see a lot of Daniel Briere in Ennis.  Despite their short stature (Briere is 5’10”, Ennis 5’9″), they are both willing to go to and around the net where they are constantly up against larger opponents.  Ennis will be looking to add to his rookie numbers,  This is doable if he sticks to playing his game, which is avoiding defenders and either getting open or getting the puck to the open player.  Ennis should see time on the Sabres second PP unit.  Last season Ennis put up 5 PP goals and 9 assists.  This season on the upside Ennis could put up 60 points to be conservative, If he hits the all too mentioned sophomore slump, 40 points would be the low-end of the spectrum, but I for one don’t see that happening with this kid.

Ville Leino- Rounding out the top 6 forwards will be newcomer Ville Leino.  Leino is joining the team as a premier free-agent signing, something the Sabres have been reluctant to do in the past.  Leino will be asked to play center, a position he has yet to play while in the NHL.  The Sabres are hoping that Leino will be able to renvert back to the position he played for his entire career before he came to the NHL.  While there are legitimate concerns on whether Leino can be a consistent top-six forward,  I believe the transition back to his natural position will produce a great deal of points.   Don’t forget, Leino was brought into the league by the Detroit Red Wings, who have shown us that when pertaining to scouting European talent, they are one of the best.  Leino is another player I wouldn’t be surprised to see have a career year this year.  Only time will tell if Leino can live up to the expectations that have grown for him in his short time in Buffalo.

Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta – This line will be used as the Sabres Third line.  At the end of the season this line really clicked and was doing everything all over the ice: hitting, passing, shooting, defending.  You name it and they were doing it.  During the playoffs this line often looked as though they where the best line out there.  Continuing on the Success from the late part of the season, these three guys took it upon themselves to develop their chemistry together.  They did this by meeting during the off-season and working off their success.  If this line sticks, they will often find themselves out there against any team’s top line.

Fourth Line-  The fourth line for the Sabres this season will often be a mix and match of multiple players this season.  To open the year, it looks like rookie Luke Adam will take the pivot with Cody Mccormick and Brad Boyes flanking his wings.  Other players who could find time him are Jochen Hecht once he returns from injury and Matt Ellis.  The line as it stands now is capable of putting up offensive numbers.  Adam and Boyes both are offensively gifted players.  Adam should be exciting, he has been labeled the center for the future, and the future starts now for this kid.  If he puts up solid performances, he could find himself skating on the top 6 by mid-season.  Mccormick will continue his role as the enforcer on the team, and dropping the gloves when it is required.  Mccormick is capable of putting up some points, last season he put up 20 points, which in my opinion is all bonus coming from your enforcer.

Stayed tuned.  Defensive and goalie previews are coming up.


Lindy Believes In The Core

Today, Lindy Ruff and the Buffalo Sabres announced their captain and alternate captains for the upcoming season.  To the surprise of some, Jason Pominville was announced as the 15th full-time captain in Sabres history.  His assistance for the upcoming season will be long time teammates Paul Gaustad, Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek, and Drew Stafford.

All of these players have been playing together on the Sabres since the 06-07 season,  Pominville, Gaustad, and Roy playing together since the 03-04 season (Sabres and Americans).  In this day of free agency and the trade deadline frenzy, its rare for groups of players to play long amounts of time together.  It has long been used as an excuse for past events, saying things like we believe in our core group of players and that the loss of former players wasn’t going to be a problem.

Ruff is putting all of his confidence into the core right now. With this move he, is telling them this is your team now lead us to the goal.  In the past a veteran player who developed in another organization would have been named captain.  The last Sabres captain that was drafted by the team was Mike Ramsey.  Ramsey was last captain back in the 1991-92 season.  Ruff could have easily named new veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr as captain and most would have been alright with this.  Instead, Ruff is putting this team on the back of the core group of players he has developed.

I couldn’t agree more with this move.  It is finally time to show the faith you have in these players and not just talk about it. Let this group prove you made the right decision in investing in them (35% of the cap hit).  This group will be entrusted in leading a group of players with high aspects for the upcoming season, along with mentoring possible future leaders like Tyler Ennis, Nathan Gerbe, Luke Adam and others currently on the Rochester Americans roster.


Sabres Name Pominville Permanent Captain

The Buffalo Sabres announced today that Jason Pominville was named captain of the team. Along with Pominville, four players have been named alternate captains: Paul Gaustad, Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek, and Drew Stafford.

While I thought that for months, the team was prolonging the inevitable of naming the team’s best scorer, Thomas Vanek, as captain, I’m not surprised by this move at all. Jason Pominville has always had a voice in the locker room, he is always willing to talk to the media, and he is a guy that the Sabres can rely upon on the ice.

It should also not be forgotten that Pominville was the last captain of the rotational captaincy era before Craig Rivet took on the permanent role in 2008, when he was traded over from the San Jose Sharks.


Offseason Needs: NHL Draft 2011

It’s been a while, angels, but as I sat at home last night, scanning the many tweets coming from the bloggers attending the Sabres Summit, it dawned on me that school had ended, and I’ve had plenty of time to write. The Sabres have been out for a while, and a Stanley Cup has already been awarded. However, it’s not too late for me to join in the game.

Hell, with the draft coming up, it’s probably a good time for me to get into the swing of things. July 1st isn’t too far off. It’s time for me to put my mind to the word processor and assess the Sabres’ needs heading into next Friday’s draft.

First of all, our furthest need for the draft is to grab a defenseman, at least not in the first three rounds. For years, our biggest need has been center (at least the past two). For years, I’ve seen the Sabres draft a defensman or a winger in the first round, two things that this team is in absolutely no need of.

It’s time for this team to start stocking up on what they’ve been needing for a long time: a first- or second-line center.

The Sabres truly missed Derek Roy last year. Buffalo’s #1 center was having one of his most promising years as a Sabre until a terrible knee injury took him out for the rest of the regular season. After that, our center depth was Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad, and a bunch of wingers that had significant dropoffs in their play as fill-in centers.

Bear with me, here. We all know that Jochen Hecht is a winger forced to play center. Rob Niedermayer was more or less… himself. I can’t even say a ghost of his former self because, to be quite honest, he’s been mediocre his whole career, living in the shadow of his older, much more talented brother. While Nied’s presence as a “leader” was nice, his lack of talent along with the rest of the team at the center position was just daunting.

So, the Sabres center depth as of right now is as follows: Derek Roy, Paul Gaustad, and again, wingers forced to play center because of our poor center depth.

Traveling northeast to Portland, I see that we have the ever-promising, AHL Rookie of the Year Luke Adam, who in all honesty, seems to have the potential to maybe be a third-line center until he improves upon his speed. Paul Byron gave a little bit of a spark before he was sent back to Portland. Matt Ellis is the captain of the (insert future minor league team here) and shouldn’t be moved out of Portland anymore. His efforts as a leader are more valuable when spent teaching the rooks in (insert future minor league location here).

Who else… Brian Roloff? Travis Turnbull? Mark Voakes? At least I’ve heard of the first two. Roloff had 24 points in 76 games in Portland. Turnbull had 9 points in his 20 games with the Pirates.

I just don’t trust the center depth with this team, and that is obviously the most glaring need both on the big club and in the system.

So again. Let me stress. We want CENTERS in this year’s draft.

Why no defense?

First of all, we have only three defensmen signed. However, of the five that are unsigned, four of them are restricted free agents.

Of those that are restricted, two can easily be retained with the standard, one-year qualifying offers. Butler and Grags will be the ones to do that. Say what you will about the amazing Marc-Andre Gragnani, who was named the best defensman in the AHL this year on top of leading the Sabres in scoring in the playoffs. However, I need to see him play across an entire NHL season first. If anything, he might require a $1M offer, but please, nothing more.

Of the other two, Sekera and Weber may be a bit more difficult to retain. Sekera has his ups and downs last season, but it could certainly be counted as his “break-out” year. He’ll probably get a two-year deal in the $1M-$1.5M range. God help me if it’s $2M. Weber should command about the same, maybe a bit more. His toughness was exactly what this defensive corp needed, and could fill in as at the very least, a solid 2nd pairing defender.

When I look down to Portland, I see TJ Brennan (sick name, bro), Alex Biega, Nick Crawford and Dennis Persson, who have all shown some improvement since they’ve been drafted. The jury’s still out on Persson, though. 17 points for a guy drafted to be a puck-moving offensive defensman is unacceptable at this point of his career.

When I look at the juniors, I’m thrilled with the years both Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb had. McNabb is coming off a career season for the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. The team’s captain, McNabb lead the team within a game of reaching the Memorial Cup Finals. He had 72 points in 59 games in 2010-11.

Pysyk improved his play tremendously for the Oil Kings. Increasing his production to 40 points in this past season, Pysyk also vastly improved his dreadful +/-, going from a -19 in 2009-10, to a +29 the year after he was drafted.

And please, Buffalo. Whatever you do, don’t draft a winger, when you know damn well that you have about 10 wingers and 2 centers in the big club. Oddly enough, the Sabres have the same problem in the minors as well.

Wingers back for the 2011-12 season include Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, Brad Boyes, Jochen Hecht (I will forever refer to Hecht as a winger. A center, he is not), Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis (at the moment. I think he has potential to be a top 2 center), Patrick Kaleta, Jason Pominville…am I done yet?

You get my point.

Taking a look at the system, we have the big, bad, bruising Zach Kassian waiting to recklessly kill somebody in the NHL, and Marcus Foligno waiting to be his tag-team buddy, and they’ve barely thrown a (insert minor league team)’s jersey on at this point.

On top of that, we’re still not sure if the Sabres are going to waste the space on yet another year for AHL All-Star (and I use that term very loosely, somewhat sarcastically) Mark Mancarri, who has proven time and again that the NHL is just not for him, but keep him in the AHL and the guy explodes.

However, on a bright note, I love what I’m seeing from guys like Derek Whitmore (47 points last season), Corey Tropp (40 points), and Dennis McCauley. There’s going to be more too, with the Sabres’ junior prospects waiting to make the jump to the AHL after their eligibility for juniors is out. All-in-all, the Sabres are solid at winger, although it seems that maybe a new draftee or two wouldn’t hurt.

Finally, I get to the goaltender’s position. Honestly, I view goalie to be the second most important need on this team. While Jhonas Enroth all but secured his spot in the NHL next season as Ryan Miller’s RELIABLE (I’m being ecstatically serious, there) backup, the Sabres should really do David Leggio the favor of resigning him back to the Pirates.

Leggio did phenomenal for the Pirates this season, posting a 22-12-3 record across 36 games, with a 2.8 GAA and a .911 save %. Those are solid numbers for a goalie who is probably going to be a career AHLer. That is, of course, if a coach like Peter Laviolette doesn’t come across him, because we all know Pete loves his mediocre Stanley Cup caliber goalies!

That leaves us short another new up-and-comer to at least give one of our goalies some trade value if and when the time comes that we’ll need to go that right (and come on, the way the Sabres draft/acquire goalies, I don’t understand why this never happens.) Take a guy with a 6th or 7th rounder a la Ryan Miller. It can’t hurt.

So… who should Buffalo take when pick #16 comes along? Well, first of all… a center.

But really, if Buffalo really wants to find a good center, what good prospects are available?

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is almost assuredly going #1 overall to the Edmonton Oilers, who are eventually going to be amazing, by the way. Stock up enough Top 10 picks, and yeah, you’re on the fast track to at least getting closer. Look at the Penguins.

Mark McNeill is the first player I see that has a chance of lasting until #16. McNeill had a nice year for the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, scoring 32 goals to go along with 49 assists, good for an 81 point season in 70 games. McNeill stands at a height of 6’2″ and weighs 210 pounds.

I would mention Victor Rask (does that count as a mention), but he’s European and plays in Europe, who we know the Sabres don’t go near nowadays. But, let’s humor Darcy Regier just for a second. Rask, who has no relation to the Bruins’ Tuukka, by the way, is a Swedish J20 SuperElit center from the Leksand J20 team. Rask scored 41 points in 39 games and added another 5 points in 5 playoff games. Rask is 6’2″, 194 pounds.

That leaves us with Daniel Cantenacci from the OHL’s S.S. Marie Greyhounds. Cantenacci scored 71 points across 67 games for the Greyhounds this past year. The only thing that turns me off about him is his size: 5’10”, 180 pounds. Yikes. Just what the Sabres need. Another small fry center.

All that said, the Sabres options are thin at center, and they’ll have to hope Mark McNeill falls to them. He seems like the big, powerful scoring center they’ve been looking for for a while. If not, my gut is that they’ll still at least go with a forward. One can only hope, at least.

Odds are, though, that the player the Sabres draft will be at the very least productive. The Sabres have had a very good decade of first rounders come through. Thomas Vanek and Tyler Myers lead the charge, followed closely behind by Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis. The jury’s still out on a few, but hey! One of them just won a Stanley Cup (Dan Paille).

We can only hope the next first rounder follows suit in the beginning of this new decade.


Gamenight 10/11/10: Patrick Kane Returns Home

BUFFALO SABRES (1-1-0)
BUFFALO SABRES (1-1-0)

 

 

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (0-1-1)

 

 

 

 

VS.

 

 

 

Buffalo’s own Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks roll into HSBC arena tonight to take on the Sabres.  The Blackhawks are hoping to collect two point and their first win against the Sabres, who gave a pitiful effort against the New York Rangers this past Saturday.

BUFFALO

The Sabres lost on Saturday simply because they were being way too fancy with the puck.  The bump and grind that worked so well against Ottawa apparently wasn’t good enough for them to try it again on Saturday.  There were way too many cute plays trying to be made when an easier option was obviously available.  The Sabres should stop worrying about being fancy in front of the home crowd and just grind out a win just like they did to the Senators.

Who’s hot?: Derek Roy scored again on Saturday, giving him three goals on the season.  Tyler Ennis has assisted on all of Roy’s goals.  Jordan Leopold netted two on Saturday as well.
Who’s not?: Thomas Vanek is a huge culprit of trying to be too cute, even in Ottawa.  He’s trying to put it behind his puck off of a shot, or make an impossible pass.  What does he have to show for it?  A goose-egg in the points column.

Buffalo Powerplay: 2/10 (20%), T-10th in the NHL
Buffalo Penalty Kill: 8/8 (100%). T-1st in the NHL

The Sabres Will Win If: They don’t try to impress anybody with sweet moves, and instead impress the fans by grinding out a win.  Getting shots to the net will be key against the Blackhawks’ rookie netminder.  Making the pass is only acceptable if a shot is unavailable.  Basically, just follow Jordan Leopold’s lead.

CHICAGO

Chicago may be regretting not making a little bit of room for Antti Niemi on their roster.  Marty Turco is showing that he’s still the same Marty Turco who played last season.  Puck Daddy blog has a running joke about Turco’s gaping five hole.  Unfortunately for the Sabres, Turco will not be in the net tonight.  Instead, Corey Crawford gets the nod.  On top of that, Chicago is hurting without the role players that helped them win a Cup, and I expect that to hurt for a little while until everyone gets used to each other.

Who’s Hot?: Marian Hossa has three points in two games for the Hawks.
Who’s Not?: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each have only one point and are a combined -3.  Marty Turco has a dismal 3.41 GAA and a .896 save percentage.  His stats make him jealous of the stats Patrick Lalime has over the past two seasons.

Chicago Powerplay: 3/12 (25%), T-8th in the NHL
Chicago Penalty Kill: 5/7 (71.4%), T-24th in the NHL

The Blackhawks Will Win if: They can get production out of Kane and Toews, and solid goaltending out of newcomer Corey Crawford.  If Buffalo is cute with the puck, Chicago can take advantage of that with odd-man rushes that usually are the outcome of the Sabres getting too fancy.

 


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