When you find to many similarities between Sabres players from this year and last, a non-playoff year, that could be an indication we are in for more of the same.
Last year, the Sabres had long scoring droughts, players who took mental vacations, and players struggling to live up to big contracts. Sound familiar?
Sabre fans were treated to the spectacle of the once reliable and promising Dmitri Kalinin bumbling around the ice and mixing in the occasional head-scratching penalty.
Fast forward to this year and Tony Lydman is exhibiting these same tendencies. Lydman was a once reliable puck-moving defenseman, it seems that once he began to struggle in that area, his positioning and composure followed suit.
The scoring drought piece of the puzzle is quite evident this week, as the offense has one goal in the last six periods of play. And folks, nobody fears the mighty New York Islander defense and the brick wall that is Yan Danis.
Next is players living up to heightened expectations brought on by big money contracts. Jason Pominville is look mighty Thomas Vanek-like in this regard. Much like Vanek, Pominville produces points but anyone who watches a game knows that they struggle to be a factor.
Vanek obviously turned his fortunes around this year; hopefully we won't have to wait for next year for Pominville to do the same.
There is still time left, so Sabre fans cannot immediately reach for the panic button. There have been some recent bright spots.
Chris Butler has came out of virtually nowhere to become an above-average NHL defender in his rookie year. Andre Sekera also continues to improve.
This allows us to save money by parting ways with some of our aging blue-liners on March 4 or after the season.
Also Patrick Lalime has been more than adequate in the absence of Ryan Miller. His record reflects earlier struggles but recently it has been the team in front of Lalime that has come up short.
Hopefully, these factors coupled with normally reliable players bearing down will prevent Sabre fans from a nauseating case of deja vu at season's end.