The Slackers and the Devils

by Ryan

So a commenter left a question for us that I’ve been meaning to talk about for a day or so now. I’ll let Slacker propose it and go from there:

With regards to three veterans post from a couple months ago…Do you take Connolly with 6 games and 7 points, or Max with 27 games, 10 points and a -12?

I honestly gave this a good amount of thought and asked around a bit, and I think I would take Tim Connolly. This may take a bit of explaining, but here goes. First of all let’s forget their cap hits, because there’s no way to take those off the books. Let’s look at this from a “guy you’d rather have on your roster” perspective.

For as much of a hard time as we give a guy like Tim Connolly, the fact of the matter is that when he’s in the lineup he performs well. Even in the six he’s dressed for Timmy has racked up over a point per game, and although that’s a minuscule sample size his other seasons have similar numbers. The major, major problem with him as a player is his propensity to get hurt, but when he’s on the active roster he only helps this team.

Maxim Afinogenov does not always help this team. That’s the main difference between the two players, and the reason why he’s not my pick. While Max can play brilliant hockey at times those instances are rare, and often you would assume him playing actually hurts your team. Where Timmy produces when able, Max flounders the majority of his games, producing less in a much greater period of time.

The positive with Timmy, which is sort of a backhanded one but still a positive, is that when Tim Connolly is not productive you have an open roster spot. Other players can step in when Timmy’s hurt and make up for it. When Max isn’t productive he’s still on your roster, turning over the puck and struggling mightily.

It’s sort of a ridiculous argument to have, but even with all the frustration and injuries Tim Connolly hurts this team less. If I have to throw somewhere between $2-4 million at a player I’m going to end up hating, I’d pick him. It’s a great question because it is in fact reality, and it’s interesting to examine two completely different kinds of underachieving.

I guess what we’ve learned here is that Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov are huge letdowns, but Timmy is clearly better at it. I’d love to hear what you guys think about this as well. Some other things about the Sabres and Devils, which I suppose this post should really be about.

– I don’t want to say something like “If this team had any balls they would go after someone because of the Gerbe hit”, but I’m pretty sure I feel that way. I’m not saying I expect anything to happen, but I’d love to see it.

– Somehow I’m going to this game. I literally have no idea how this happened, but I’m not complaining.

– I think the crowd tonight will be an interesting mix of midweek indifference and expecting excitement. That might not make sense, but if you’ve been to a bronze or value game this year you probably get what I’m saying.

– Speaking of pricing, this is the last game for some time that isn’t at least a silver. I know that a lot of people buy tickets as gifts and so the demand will be there, but couldn’t they wait one more game? Silver to see the Kings? Really?

Yahoo Sports has the game live if you live outside of the WNY viewing area.

– I fully expect Atlas to go off tonight.

I will have a bunch of things to talk about after this one. And thank you for the kind words about my “The Continental” post. I’ve literally had that idea in my head for two months now.


  1. buffalosportsfan

    Agree whole heartedly especially with where Portland is at right now. Afinogenov is a roster spot and huge cap hit. Connolly isn’t always there, but the problem with Afinogenov is that HE IS THERE! Both are not going to be wearing Sabres colors next year, but I agree with taking Connolly.

  2. dave in Rocha

    I’ve always loved how people regard Timmy’s injuries as a personal failing of his (not saying you are, but people in general). He COULD not have a broken rib, if only he WANTED it more. Sure, I get frustrated with his being injured all the time, but shit happens.

    That said, he’s an absolutely incredible player when he’s on the ice. It’s night and day comparing him and Max.

  3. Slacker867

    I wholeheartedly concur with your assessment, but I’ll rephrase it in a bit of a different way. Call it the Al Leiter scenario (ex-Jays fan here).

    Look at it this way – which one of these guys would be the Sabres worst nightmare when they’re playing them…and it’s definately Tim C. The minute they trade him…is when he gets healthy and every time they would play in the future, you know he’s notching two or more points. Everyone has seen Max’s flashes where he leaves everyone on the ice wondering what the hell he’s doing the rest of the time…but it’s Tim that would become a Sabres killer.

  4. Ryan


    Completely agree. Tim Connolly wants to play hockey. I think he proved that playing with broken ribs until the pain was unbearable. I’ll never question his toughness, he’s just… unfortunante.


    I think you’re spot on with Timmy there. If he gets the chance to play for another team he will stay healthy and excell. Max looks to be just a flash in the pan. Both are sad cases for the Sabres, but Tim is the more dangerous one.

  5. twoeightnine

    Max is worthless now. I have to wonder if anyone would even bother claiming him if he was placed on waivers. If his contract wasn’t what it is someone would take a shot but even prorated everyone is going to be hesitant.

  6. Anonymous

    max on waivers
    tim on the ice asap
    but we’ve been saying this for how long?