After their performance against Florida last week, I thought about writing an angry article, ripping the team and explaining how they are going nowhere. But then I reconsidered the fact that they came back from three goals down.
That was the biggest thing I took out of that game. It wasn’t the fact that there was no call on the Myers trip or that Buffalo couldn’t manage to tie the game up again. It wasn’t even that Miller couldn’t come up with “the big save”. They overcame a three goal deficit, which is what I took out of it.
A couple days later, I became aware of how bad this team really is. With the announcement of Derek Roy likely out for the season, it came as a no-brainer that this season is over. Roy was easily the Sabres most consistent player this season.
He had 35 points in as many games (10 goals, 25 assists). If the Sabres were struggling with Roy in the lineup, what are they going to look like without him? Here are some things to ponder about as we prepare for a Sabres team without Roy.
The Sabres are 14-16-4 and have 32 points. That has them in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and eight points out of the playoffs. The Sabres had a rough start, but they never completely turned it around.
The biggest problem on this team has to be the scoring—on starting goaltenders. First off, the opposing team has started a backup goaltender against Buffalo 17 times out of 35 games. Obviously, some of those may have been because of injuries, but for the most part, they were planned. Other teams see Buffalo as a good opportunity to start the backup goaltender.
In those games, the Sabres are an encouraging 11-4-2 against backup goalies..
That’s just the problem. When the Sabres play against an opposing starting goaltender, they are a dismal 3-12-2. That doesn’t give you much confidence now, does it? All but three of the Sabres 14 victories this season have come against a backup goaltender.
(Alex, who writes for Black & Blue & Gold recently posted a number of interesting stats about the Sabres this season. Click here to view his post.)
To make things worse: During the first period of the Anaheim game, fans in HSBC Arena were chanting “Jonas” as in Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. They had all the right to do so, especially since he allowed three goals in the opening period. The only problem was backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney was in net. Oops.
Many fans are off the bandwagon already, abandoning all hope in this Buffalo squad. Some would prefer the Sabres to struggle this season only for a better chance of seeing changes in management.
Personally, I can’t wait for Terry Pegula to buy the team. I think he will be able to make some much needed changes, giving the Sabres a spark, and bringing back the lively HSBC Arena that we have missed since the Briere/Drury days.
As for this season, I will continue to believe in the Sabres. All it takes is to make that eighth spot. Look at what Philadelphia did last season. Yes, the Flyers may have a much better team, but anything can happen come playoff time.
I’ll be rooting and supporting them. Will you?