1Posted by John Monahan on May 19, 2011 at 10:25 am
Position: Defense Shoots: Left Number: 34 Height: 6′ 1″ Weight: 200 Hometown: St. Louis, MO Birth date: 10/27/86 Drafted: By the Buffalo Sabres, 2005 NHL entry draft, 4th round
Chris Butler is still a bit of a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Super Mighty Burrito for the Sabres. With an up and down year in 2009-2010, many expected him to take a big step forward in 2010-2011. He didn’t at first and was benched for a large stretch from December through early February.
Butler seemingly has all the tools but sometimes lacks the mental fortitude and quick decision making to be a great D-man in the NHL. But Butler worked on his flaws during the benching and came out ready to play. He improved greatly, enough so to eventually be paired on the top line with Tyler Myers, getting lots of time on the penalty kill unit as well.
1Posted by John Monahan on May 13, 2011 at 11:01 am
Position: Center Shoots: Left Number: 42 Type of player: Unique mix of mostly Grinder & Sniper Height: 5′ 5″ Weight: 178 lb. Facial hair: Pork chops and mustache (possibly since shaved) Hometown: Oxford, Michigan Birth date: July 24, 1987 Drafted: By the Buffalo Sabres, 2005 NHL entry draft, 5th round
Nathan Gerbe is a feisty, quick, hard-working forward. He’s listed as a center but as of late for the Sabres has played wing. Towards the end of the 2011-2012 season he played on a line with Paul Gaustad and Mark Mancari. It was a line that embodied hard work and ended up starting most games by the playoffs.
Gerbe’s small size has likened him by The Willful Caboose as a Honey Badger. Despite his diminutive stature, like the honey badger, Nathan Gerbe does not give a *%$! and will do whatever it takes, including going into corners to fight for pucks or taking on players a foot taller than him, including the towering Zdeno Chara.
Nathan Gerbe’s rapid growth in the second half of the 2010-2011 season endeared him to many fans. Gerbe has a knack for making things happen and putting shots on goal. He has a surprisingly fast wrist shot. His timely ascension was crucial to the Sabres making the playoffs.
This clutch spin-o-rama goal came against the Flyers in the 2nd to last game of the regular season. It was the last home game (the alumni game) with much at stake and the win clinched a playoff spot.
He is known as the Tasmanian Devil, Mighty Mouse, Nate “The Great” (or is it the grate, as in he grates on you?), as well as “The Answer”. (This due to his wearing #42 which is said to be the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything. Of course I might be the only one to ever call him that. I like typing a lot in parenthesis.)
Gerbe’s hockey role models include Danny Briere and Martin St. Louis.
Won the rookie of the year award in the AHL in 2008 (aka the Dudley “Red” Garret Memorial Award. (Which the Sabres apparently own now that they’ve won it 3 years in a row.)
As Dan Carcillo found out in round one of the playoffs, patting Gerbe on the head serves to further incite him and increase his power meter.
In a crucial game during the stretch run of the 2010-2011 season, the Sabres were doggedly trying to hold onto a slim 1-0 lead against the Montreal Canadiens. With under thirty seconds left, the Canadiens had an extra attacker and were applying massive pressure in the Sabres zone. A scrappy Gerbe was badgering (see what we did there?) opponents and finally knocked the puck loose whereupon he recovered it and scored an empty net goal.
He’s a restricted free agent this year but it’s expected that the Sabres won’t let him run off. Of course, some other team could conceivably come in with a big offer based on his 2nd half performance.
Gerbe is the type of do-it-all player that every team would love to have. He could be given an alternate captain tag, or a couple years down the road possibly a “C”. You never know since he has the ability to inspire other players with his all-out mentality.