Tag Archives: Mike Weber

The Injury Bug Strikes Again

So, while we head into the month of December, the Sabres find themselves with a slew of injuries, which even the best of teams would have a hard time overcoming. Let’s take a look at those injuries who is injured:

Ryan Miller – Concussion
Tyler Myers – Wrist
Robyn Regehr – Upper Body
Mike Weber – Upper Body
Brad Boyes – Lower Body
Tyler Ennis – Ankel
Cody McCormick- Upper Body
Patrick Kaleta – Lower Body
and following last nights loss to Columbus its being reported that a mystery forward is hurt and might miss tonight’s games. (UPDATE: Drew Stafford is reported to have a groin injury, according to WGR’s Paul Hamilton.)

Day-to-day injuries happen, and they are expected over the grueling 82-game season. The Sabres’ injuries fall mostly into the “wait and see what happens” category, with no real timetables for any player’s return. The only two players from the above list that have been skating in no contact drills are winger Tyler Ennis and defenseman Mike Weber.

To try to alleviate the pain from these injuries, the Sabres were forced to call up many players from the Rochester Americans. The Sabres must be relieved that they remade this partnership with the Amerks before the start of the season. So in case you’re having trouble matching the numbers to the names in tonight’s game here is a list of those players who were called-up:

54 – Zack Kassian – 1 NHL GAME – RW
58 – Paul Szczechura – 83 NHL GAMES – C
78 – Corey Tropp – 9 NHL GAMES – RW
33 – T.J. Brennan – 2 NHL Games – D
81 – Brayden Mcnabb – 0 NHL GAMES – D
31 – Drew Macintyre – 4 NHL GAMES – G

Hopefully the injured mystery player doesn’t prove to be too costly, and the Sabres can find a way to battle hard and pull out what should be a tough 2 points against a Washington team that is also in need of an important 2 points.


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 Preview: Defense/Goaltending

The Sabres defense is quickly gaining the distinction of being one of the top defense groups in the NHL on paper, and this is without playing a regular season game together.  They will be asked to defend the crease in front of All-Star, Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Ryan Miller, along with up and comer Jhonas Enroth.

Pairing 1

Tyler Myers – Christian Ehroff

This pair should find them selves on opposite sides of the blue line once the actual games begin.  This pair will be looked at to not only stop the other team, but to go and score, as well.  Myers will be entering his 3rd NHL season and is considered to be one of the premier defense man in the league.  Not only will his extended reach close down gaps in the defensive zone, he was able to realize his physical prowess and was not taking any nonsense from anyone, last season, Zdeno Chara included.  While not being known for his defensive dominance,  Ehrhoff is known as one of the top offensive defense man in the league.   It has been seen in the preseason that he is willing to join the rush and create offensive chances.  Both players will see time playing the point on the PP, with Ehrhoff most likely quarterbacking the first line.

Pairing 2

Jordan Leopold-Robyn Regehr

The former Calgary Flame teammates will find themselves reunited on the same blue line for the upcoming season.  Regehr has garnered a lot of attention since coming over from Calgary early in the off-season.  While not known for scoring goals, Regehr is known for dominating the defensive zone with his physical play and defensive skill.  One thing the Sabres have been missing is that defenseman who could out muscle most opposing forwards in the league, and that man has been found in Regehr.  Regehr will be a constant player on the PK, and should be paired up with Myers to go aginst the other teams’ top units.  Leopold is more known for his offensive play, but is capable of playing a solid defensive game.  Last season, Leopold was the second highest scoring defense man for the Blue and Gold and will look to continue this.  He could find himself on the second PP unit along with Tyler Myers, which could be a top unit on another team.

Pairing 3

Andrej Sekera – Marc-Andre Gragnani – Mike Weber

These three young man will to start the season finding themselves rotated between being in the lineup and in the press box.  To start the season this pair will likely be Sekera and Gragnani.  Sekera is one of the young defenseman the Sabres feel confident in for years to come after signing a new 4-year deal this off-season.  Last year was a year of streaks for Sekera.  There were times when Sekera was nearly unstoppable for opposing teams to defend his offensive ability.  On the other side of things, Sekera as had those moments where you wondered if he was really ready to make the jump to be a full time defenseman.  There will be a short leash for Sekera this season.  This can be done since the Sabres will have an NHL capable player up in the press box every night, barring injuries.  Gragnani will be entering his rookie season in the top hockey league in the world.  Up to this point he has amassed only 15 regular season games and 7 playoff games.  He will be looked at to produce on the offensive side of things.  In last season’s playoffs, I will flat out say Gragnani was the best Sabres player on the ice.  He did everything, from shutting down Philadelphia’s offense, play on both the PP and PK, and also lead the team in points with 7.  This season, Gragnani, when playing, should be paired with Ehrhoff on the first PP unit.  Gragnani should be able to put up decent number if he stays in the lineup for the majority of the season.  A 40 point season is not out of reach if everything falls into place.  At this point Weber will be pushing all the other defenders to play better,  because he will be chomping at the bit for any player to make a mistake and let their lineup spot fall to him.  Weber put up a decent rookie season last year putting up 17 points and showing  loads of grit and physical ability.  Not afraid to drops the glove with anybody, Weber will not be intimidated by any of the leagues power forwards, goons, and enforcers.

Goaltending

Starter- Ryan Miller

Once again, and to the surprised of no one, Ryan Miller will be entrusted to defend the twine for the Sabres for the majority of the games. Miller will be looking to return to his All-Star status this season.  This shouldn’t be a problem since the Sabres have surrounded Miller with a top flight group of defensemen.  Miller should get around 60 games this season, which would be on the lower side from past seasons, and reduce the amount of  both mental and physical fatigue.  This can be done with the emergence of Jhonas Enroth as a legitimate backup goaltender.  Miller should be able to reach to 40 win plateau for the third time in his career.  If Miller falters at all this year Enroth will be given a chance to play, which should lead Miller to upping his level of play because this will be the first time since Marty Biron in which Miller has a backup who could be trusted with the role of starter for longer periods of time.  (Editor’s Note:  That’s not to say that Jhonas Enroth could take Miller’s job from him.  Jeff is only pointing out that the Sabres finally have a guy that can be trusted to start in place of Ryan Miller if need be.)

Backup- Jhonas Enroth

Enroth will be looking to add to his numbers from his first serious stint the NHL.  In 14 games last season, Enroth was able to amass a record of 9-2-2-1.  Enroth will be the first serious backup goaltender for the Sabres since the presence of fan favorite Marty Biron.  I would not be shocked to see Enroth getting between 20-25 games, if not more this season.  He will be pushing Miller every step of the way, and if Miller were to falter at all Lindy Ruff should have no problem giving Enroth time to see if he is the real deal.


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