If Only To Be Above Average

by Corey

The Buffalo Sabres are kind of uninspiring at home. In fact they have been uninspiring since they stole a game in Montreal last month. This, if not corrected over time, could develop into a ‘thing.’

What has kept the train from going completely off the rails has been the play of Thomas Vanek and Jason Pomminville, along with timely goaltending from Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth. Vanek has been playing MVP type hockey, controlling the play whenever he steps on the ice. He has been a catalyst for scoring. Pomminville has been rock steady on that first line as well.

Hockey Rhetoric has a quality take on Luke Adam, and the potentially big decision to swap him out of that line for Ville Leino.

I’m not big on this for a few reasons. I’m completely unimportant in this, so if you’ll indulge me by continuing to read, you have my thanks.

Leino is a puck possession guy. He will, at least in the few games we’ve seen him, been inclined to help plays develop by waiting until the opposition gets out of position, however long that may take. The problem I see with this its that Vanek its also a possession guy.

He’s been a beast lately because he’s willing to force the issue with the puck, beating opponents one-on-one. Vanek’s possessions have been very aggressive. Leino’s have been more passive, out around the perimeter.

My fear is that Leino will set the tempo more than Vanek will. This could tank the only two productive players offensively on the team. It could be bad news.

If it goes south, not only do you turn off Vanek and Pomminville but you also have now moved Leino a bunch of times with no result, and worse, direct evidence that he makes his teammates worse. High stakes indeed.

If it works? Everyone scores and the Sabres win.

Also, we need to have a conversation about Tyler Myers and how awful he has been. Let’s wait until after tonight for that.