The Snozzberries Taste Like Snozzberries

by Ryan

I was really hoping the Sabres would grace us with a game that was easy to watch and even easier to talk about.

Silly me for thinking wishfully.

I really have no idea where to start with this team. Yet again they come up short by a goal after starting off like garbage. They played with a lack of urgency on both ends of the ice and in front of both goaltenders. They were both outplayed by the opponent yet played better than said opponent for extended periods of time. They were good, bad and ugly, and Ryan Miller played 5 minutes and 40 seconds of hockey last night.

They were a conundrum.

That’s it. That’s the word to describe the Sabres right now, and that’s probably not a good thing. This team is a hodgepodge of awkward hockey interrupted by momentary brilliance, and Derek Roy flopping around like a fool. It’s a weird time, and I’m glad you’re hanging in with us while it’s going on.

This road trip seems so very important, but so far the last week or so of hockey has been a daze to me. The games are happening, sure, but I’m not really sure what they mean or where this team is headed.

Forget the start by Miller, that wasn’t all his fault. Like on Friday night against Minnesota, the goaltending performance was two parts defense and one part goaltender mistake; and the guy between the pipes always comes away with the most blame. Patrick Lalime played well in relief, partially because he isn’t as bad as most assume and mostly because the team decided to start backchecking.

I could keep going with the blame game, but it’s a mix of both sides, isn’t it? The offense wasn’t where you’d like but the goaltending was strong. The power play registered a goal but it was a softie. Tim Kennedy looked both good and awful.

It was a lot of things and not a lot of other things, and I’m tired of writing like Willy Wonka. All we know is that in a stretch run you want questions answered. So far all we have are more questions.

3 Comments

  1. Indeed. It’s hellish to hear the soundbites from guys 65 games in, talking about sticking to the system, yada, yada, yada. This is a first round and out team at the moment. So bloody inconsistent from shift to shift. If they give Lalime some help, he obviously isn’t the problem he has been made out to be.

  2. Mike

    They haven’t come ready to play to any of their games. We’d be on a six game winning streak if only the 2 last periods if each of those games had been played. But the good part about that is that they aren’t that far off. They never are. People who say the team doesn’t have enough talent are wrong. They have enough talent. What they lack and have lacked since I hate to say, Drury left, was the mental discipline that breeds consistency.
    And at least Ottawa lost. Always a silver lining. Although the way Montreal is playing, they’re scaring me right now.

  3. wch

    Someone in the organization is telling the boys to lay off. Whether it’s a player, or someone on high, I don’t know. But someone is imagining that once you’ve secured the three seed, you do as little as possible to keep it. Evidence will be from watching the Ottawa and Montreal scoreboards – the players see those scores, and exert effort accordingly. If it’s during a game, the attitude will be noticable. If those other two teams are playing before we play, then the game will be watchable from the onset. Every ounce of energy wasted will harm their endurance in the post-season, someone must think. Since injuries have decimated this team’s chances in other years, I can’t say I blame them for thinking this way. The trick is to do it without pissing off the fans who pay for the seats or waste their time in front of the TV. They believe that they can turn it on and off like a switch (as proven during the TB game), and believe they’ll never have an injury or other unforseen circumstance. The team that won all those points in the beginning of the year is still there, but they’re resting on their laurels. Despite the frustrated and neurotic fans (who have long memories about teams that coast into the second season), they must believe they should let everyone else beat their brains out just to make it to the playoffs – no need to get an important player hurt. Time will tell if this strategy will work, but my gut tells me Lindy is not in favor of it, and will smile every time he’s proven right. Bottom line is that for the Sabres, the Cup runs through Pittsburgh or Washington (just looking at defense and goaltenders), and no extra effort on the Sabres player’s part is going to change that. Conference finals, we lean on Miller, and if he steals that series, we’re home free. No one in the organization will admit that this is going on: you can’t undercut advertisers or season ticket holders by admitting you’re temporarily producing an inferior product. That’s my opinion/conspiracy theory, and it helps me get through until the playoffs begin.