john madden:

Silence is Blue and Golden


Things are quiet. Too quiet.

The dust has settled after the UFA storm, and the pace of news out of the HSBC Arena has slowed to a near halt. Aside from the signings of Colin Stuart, Derek Whitmore, and Drew McIntyre for the Rochester Americans, there isn’t much buzz goin’ on right now.

But there are things going on.

  • The Sabres still have to squeeze Marc-Andre Gragnani and Jhonas Enroth into contracts and stay at least no more than 10% over the cap.
  • Shaone Morrisonn wants out of town, so Regier has to find some NHL team willing to take on his contract and the horse it rode in on.
  • Our beloved Mike Grier is still an UFA, still unretired.
  • The Associate Coaching void left by the departure of Brian McCutcheon has yet to be filled.
  • Joel Armia is not in the Sabres development camp, an unfortunate victim of the Finnish mandate that players have a month off to bask along the shores of their 187,888 lakes and heal up. 416w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

Hmm. I wonder if they listen to Jimmy Buffett in Finland.

Fans are bored. They are so bored, that at least one blogger over at “Hockeybuzz,” a website dedicated to rumor mongering and hearsay, has therein said that the signing of McIntyre could – gulp – signal a trade of Jhonas Enroth in a package for a #1 center. Stupid as that is, it at least has given fans something to argue about on message boards.

Oh and trust me, folks, Enroth isn’t going anywhere. When Miller succumbed to injury/fatigue last season, it was Enroth that carried this team into the playoffs. McIntyre is a good goalie, but Enroth is NHL proven, and more importantly, is stalwart in a crisis. If Miller is injured again this season, not having Enroth would likely mean not having a part in the playoffs. He’s too big a piece of the puzzle, folks.

Anyone remember when fans were so taken aback by Enroth’s play, that we stormed the team Twitter account to force the Sabres to honor him in song? 300w" sizes="(max-width: 622px) 100vw, 622px" />

Yea, that was fun.

They “called him Jhonas” at the HSBC. That’s the kind of stuff we miss talking about.

Well, we can always talk about that nagging “we have way too many defensemen and defensive prospects and not enough centers” issue.

Fans are still clamoring for a trade for Paul Stastny, or Evgeni Malkin, to fill that #1 center need. The problem is, our money is already spent. It’s likely that the Sabres are all but done adding names to the 2011-12 roster, unless a serious shake-up trade happens that helps to dump salary.

Roy-Leino-Gerbe/Adam-Gaustad are our likely starting centers for October 7, but there are a couple names that still could be added that would improve the team down the middle, and they’d come on the cheap: Brendan Morrison, and John Madden. 512w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

No, not the John Madden that comes with a bus, video games, and a freezer full of turducken. He's retired.

Madden is 38. Morrison is 35. Both centers are 5-11, so they wouldn’t add anything to that glaring need for size down the middle, but both skate very tall on heart. Both would bring a heavy dose of leadership and mojo to the lineup. And perhaps most importantly, they’d come on the cheap. How much gas do they have left in the tank? I can’t tell you that, but I can say it’s worth at least kicking the tires on these guys.

Rob Neidermayer has signed on with some team in Switzerland. Grier is likely done. Adam and Gerbe (and all the other center/wing hybrids) would use more time either developing or staying put on the wing. Heck, even Leino could use some time on the wing, and a Madden/Morrison addition could give Lindy Ruff the leverage to use Leino where he fits best.

This, of course, is all just speculation, “Hockey Buzz” style.

But at least my style makes some sense.

For now, download some Jimmy Buffett and head on over to the beach and enjoy the waves. I’ll let you know when the silence is broken.

Go Sabres.

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