By the Numbers

by Ryan

The Buffalo Sabres are 12-13-1 in 26 games this year.

Through 26 games last year, the Sabres were 20-4-2.

I think it is easy to say that something is seriously wrong with this team.

I’ve been looking at a lot of numbers over the past few days, but I think the difference in record from this year and last really does tell the tale. In hindsight, the Sabres had really freaking gaudy numbers last year, in every facet of the game.

Why that is not happening this year is anybody’s guess. It could be a lack of leadership or toughness. It could be a failing system. It could be injuries on defense. Take your pick and state your case, I’ve seen them all argued well.

It is important that we realize just how different this team is from last year. Those Sabres fans out there that can’t root for an ordinary hockey team should find something else to occupy themselves with during the next few months. We are mortal, a team with weaknesses that will lose games when the effort is not there.

The past two games that effort simply has not been there. The Anaheim game was a frustrating mess of everything the Sabres have done wrong this year, and their performance against the Kings was mailed in, plain and simple. It has been a long time since I had seen such little effort from this team, and it really does scare me.

When was the last time you had to play the “Which player gives a crap?” game with your friends? I had to on Thursday, and it wasn’t exactly a great time. For the record, Adam Mair, Paul Gaustad, and Nolan Pratt seemed to give a crap, and no matter how much I like those three guys that list scares the bejesus out of me.

Thing is, the only reason those three stuck out is because they went out of their way to hit some people, and that doesn’t mean they are exactly playing well. How many of those hits took them out of position defensively or led to a bad penalty? And what does it say about your team when your best D is the 32 year old that couldn’t find work in the NHL two months ago?

I guess the point of all this is the following: I have been watching hockey all my life and have no idea what’s wrong with this team.

Whatever the problem is, it still feels fixable. This season is still so young, and there is a lot of hockey to be played in December. Even so, this team needs to get something decent together to get some confidence back. They’ve had two major “tests” this year: nine straight against division opponents and a three game West Coast road trip. Record for these tests? 5-4 and 0-2 so far.

That… is mediocre, and our record reflects it.