The big news on a snowy Saturday in Buffalo is absolutely the UB Bulls knocking off a ranked team for the first time in history. I promise Chris will have plenty to say about that sometime this weekend, but the other big story today is the fruition of the Nathan Gerbe Experiment.
I have to admit I’m worried about Nathan Gerbe tonight, but not because he’s wearing pink. (he kind of seems like a pink polo shirt kind of guy anyway…) I’m worried about Gerbe because the Sabres have a lot of holes in the roster right now, and making the team even smaller may not be the best of moves.
Trust me, this isn’t about Gerbe as much as it is about who’s missing. I trust Nathan will play well and I’ve seen him play well above his height in the past, but he is going to take a significant amount of abuse in his time with the Sabres and you need people to defend him when that happens. As of right now our toughest player is Adam Mair and, no offense to Mair or even Goose, but that’s not good enough.
Peters and Kaleta both being hurt is a big deal. You can argue that their impact is minimal based on ice time, but we all know that what Peters and Kaleta bring to the team is much more emotional. Going out there without the guy who will drop and the guy who will run someone through the boards is a lot harder then it seems. Suddenly you realize that there’s no one to back you up, and it’s much harder to get that spark when you need it.
So yeah, I’m worried about Nathan Gerbe. The first shift he sees on NHL ice is going to be an amazing experience, but sometime tonight someone is going to give him a shot. Rookies get tested, and undersized rookies get targeted. If this team has any value in him they need to step up and make him feel a part of this team. First impressions are everything.
As far as his impact? Meh. Mancari wasn’t the problem, and Gerbe won’t be the solution.