Sabres Lose in a Slushy Excuse Fest, Remain Rightfully Mired in 10th Place

We must all be a bunch of suckers.

In his post game interview, Derek Roy was quick to point out a couple big reasons for the Sabres’ shootout loss to the Florida Panthers last night:

  1. The ice was “chippy”
  2. Brad Boyes hit some posts in the shootout

 

OK.

The ice might have been a bit slushy in Sunrise, Florida, at this time of the year. And I am not sure anyone can calculate the odds of Boyes hitting the post and the crossbar in the shootout, on a shot that would have won the game. I’m pretty sure those odds are double-infinitesimal.

Still, neither of these things accounts for taking only 5 shots in the 3rd period. Make that 4 shots for Buffalo, and 1 for Florida. It also doesn’t account for 0 shots in overtime. Make that 0 shots for Buffalo, and 0 shots for Florida.

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The Sabres' effort was there. In the stands.

Both teams seemed content to play it safe and earn the gimme point for this one. Instead of a playoff dogfight, fans were treated to hockey played as if it were out in the open air Everglades. The game was mush. The ice was a swamp.

Maybe Roy did have a point about the ice after all. But in hindsight, it wasn’t the ice that made this game what it was. The Sabres joined the Panthers in a contest featuring two teams playing too careful for fear of a loss in a tightly wound playoff race. Fear, or just playing too damn careful, turned the playing surface into a woeful retreat from the front of the net, from the offensive zone, and turned the neutral zone into slush (go figure if the neutral zone was sloppy, since that’s where most of this game was played).

The Sabres skated out like it would seem with what they wanted. They played not to win, but not to lose, and moved on to Tampa Bay after drawing the 50/50 loser point. Lindy Ruff wasn’t happy over the game shootout either in his post game interview:

“Any point you lose right now is a lot. If it was a half a point it would be a lot. It’s disappointing. The points in the shootout are big points. I picked one good shooter and six bad ones tonight.”

Yea. It was those six bad shooters in the shootout. We’ll just forget about the 18+ guys who couldn’t even put a shot on net during the actual game itself.

Yea.

We must all be a bunch of suckers.

Epilogue: Of course, it’s not all bad news. The Sabres are now just 2 points out of 8th, tied with Winnipeg at 76 points. The Caps sit in eighth, with both the Caps and Jets having one game in hand over the Sabres. Ten games left.

May the best team not lose.

Go Sabres.

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