Call it a “taste of defeet.”
Ouch. Sorry about that. Moving on. We’ll return to that thought, and the GIF, after a nice dose of BSN Kool Aid.
The Sabres drubbing of the hated Boston Bruins last night had many #SeedsOfGreatness moments, and has some media actually – officially – pondering the Sabres slim playoff hopes. Welcome to my Kool-Aid stand, media!
The Sabres' streak has their free-fall frozen in time. How much of a miracle is needed to save these guys?
The Sabres run to 93 points remains on track. They now need to go 19-7-3 to get to that magic number. Can their recent momentum carry them that far? Possibly, but very unlikely. Still, it again got one game easier last night.
Here are some of our #SeedsOfGreatness from the game:
- Kaleta continued to show that he’s back to his old self, and was an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick. While his fight against Lucic didn’t go too well, he took him off the ice for 5 minutes. Kaleta for Lucic? Advantage: Sabres. Beer earned, Mr. Kaleta.
- Ennis was putting the Bruins’ heads on a swivel, and scored a dandy. It’s nothing new for Tyler, though. In 2010, he had 4 points in 6 playoff games against the B’s. He had 4 points in 6 regular season contests last season. He scored the shootout winner on 1-1-11 against them. The diminutive winger just seems to find a way to beat these big bad Bruins. Keep him on the squad, Darcy.
- The loss was Boston’s worst showing since March 6, 2008 (a 8-2 loss to the Leafs). The Sabres had been playing the kind of games that get a coach fired. Last night they played the kind of game that turns a season around.
- Ville Leino has finally arrived. He’s become outspoken in the news, is having fun, and claims he’s now comfortable with his teammates. His swagger is now noticeable on the ice, on the scoresheet, and all over Tim Thomas’ face. This is the guy the Sabres signed up for.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Some more Kool Aid:
- The Sabres are currently the only team from 6th to 12th in the East with a winning streak. (They’re in 12th, 9 points out of 8th, where the Sens sit in a free-fall of their own.)
- The Sabres improved to 8-4-3 against their tough NE Division opponents. (We’ll conveniently ignore how they’ve gone 6-7-1 against the terrible SE Division.)
Whether they’re on their way to a miracle run, or simply pausing on their way to regular season oblivion, the last few games sure have been a heckuva lot of fun. Enjoy the ride and the Kool Aid while it lasts, folks.
Oh, and the Dixie cups are free.
I’m finding it very hard to write about the Sabres lately. It’s hard for a blogger to get pumped about things and all you want to do is just type, “they suck” and be done with it. But I need to break out of my slump as much as the Sabres do theirs, so I’m forging on.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. When Pegula rode in to town on his majestic Pegasus (Pegulasus?) and waved around his magic cash wand, the Sabres were supposed to take the league by storm. It was an amazing “what the hell is happening!?” time when the Sabres were actually spending big-name free agents like Regehr and Ehrhoff. “So no Richards” then happened and the Sabres missed out on a top-line center. That was ok, as the Sabres added Ville Leino, a guy somewhat mysterious but it sounded like he had a lot of potential. And of course millions of little things were done around the arena and millions of dollars were spent on the improvements.
Maybe we'd do better if we renamed the team the Pegasuses? (Or is it Pegasii?) This is dumb, but I needed two pictures on this post. It's a personal quota thing.
But I should spare you the history lesson. You’re a Sabres fan (most likely) if you’re reading this site and you know all too well that things haven’t gone according to plan.
We can blame injuries, the coaching staff, the new additions or the old core. But it doesn’t matter. We just want the team to do well. Dammit, Pegula said we would win the Cup, so where is the team that will bring it to us?
I’m sick of being Mr. Positive. All year I’ve said to be patient, to hang in there and we’ll get through these injuries. “Let’s not do anything drastic here, let’s stay the course and let the ship right itself”, I said. I was probably one of the last holdouts on the positive train. After this long, I’m now convinced that it can’t right itself.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I do have faith in one thing: the ownership. Ted Black and Terry Pegula are at least willing to do whatever is in their power to have a winner here. At least we have that going for us, and that’s more than some other teams can say.
Another thing; we have a lot of pieces in place, a lot of players that are worth something. Maybe we don’t have the right mix but I don’t think we’re that far off. Maybe the answer is a new coach, maybe it’s trading Miller, Roy, Stafford or someone(s) else.
Something has to change and something will change. I’m not too down because I know change is right around the corner. This may only be the prologue in the Pegula era, with the third act finally bringing home the Cup, but for right now it plain sucks.
Oh yeah, before I forget… #DoSomethingDarcy
The Sabres have yet to win a home game.
Well, that’s not technically true. One of their games in Europe was marked as a “home game” on the NHL schedule, but that’s ridiculous. If it ain’t your building, it ain’t your building. Those were away games for all teams involved.
In any event, the Sabres are 5-1-0 in the infancy of the 2011-12 NHL regular season, their only loss coming at home, against the hated Carolina Hurricanes. The Buffalo News’ headline of that game read “Hurricanes Spoil Sabres’ Homecoming.” Fair enough, but consider the fact that the boys in Blue and Gold allowed two short handed goals in that game, and they really spoiled it for themselves.
So far, the best way to beat the Sabres, actually the only way, is to have them beat themselves.
Here’s some early season portents of success for the march towards the playoffs:
- The Sabres have 10 points out of a possible 12.
- They lead the NE Division – Toronto is one point behind (having played only one road game), Boston and Ottawa trail by 4 and 6 points respectively (and both have played seven games). Montreal is in the basement, with an épouvantable 1-4-1 record.
- Hey – since Pegula took over, the Sabres are 21-5-4 in the regular season. Talk about a smart investor buying in at the right time.
- Or is it that the players are the ones buying in? In 10 games, Thomas Vanek has 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists). He’s not known for fast starts – could this be one of his best seasons? Jason Pominville has 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) – and as Sabres PR staffer Ian Ott pointed out last night, Pommers has 19 points (6+13) in his last 23 games, dating back to 3/25/11. To top that, he added that Vanek “hasn’t gone two games without a point in those last 23 games.”
- More from Ott: “Vanek is now 5th in Sabres history with 36 GWG, two behind Andreychuk for 4th. His 210 goals are one shy of Mogilny for 10th. That’s Miller’s 23rd career shutout. Second in Sabres history to Dominik Hasek (55). Miller’s now nine wins from tying Hasek’s total (234).” Any complaints about Vanek and Miller right now are laughable.
- Let’s not forget rookie “Cool Hand Luke,” who has put in 6 points (3+3) in six games between Vanek and Pommers.
- Buffalo trails only two teams in points in the NHL standings, let alone the Eastern Conference standings. The two ahead of them, Washington and Pittsburgh, are at the 12 point mark (though it’s taken the Pens 9 games to get there).
- The Sabres goals for/goals against ratio is tops in the NHL at 20GF/10GA. Take away those two dreadful shorthanded goals against in the Carolina game, and we’re looking at a ratio of 20/8. (Washington is 23/13, Pittsburgh 26/21.)
Remember, the Sabres are doing all of this on the road. As Harry Neale said just before puck drop last night, coaches “find about a lot about their team on the road.” So far, Lindy Ruff is learning some very good things about his boys.
Joel Armia, the Sabres #1 pick in 2011, has been busy.
Well, at least in Finland. As he preps for his second season for the Aces in the SM-liiga (the men’s “Finnish Championship” league), the 18 year old sniper is in for a big test. From Jatkoaika.com:
Aces attack has lost four players. The biggest loss is probably the team captain , Matti Kuparinen escape of Kuopio. In addition to him went to Tuomas Huhtanen lock, Tommi Huhtala, Blues, and Pasi Salonen, you ignorant. They place a heavy-handed goal machine was purchased Radek Smolenak , which is expected to maaliahnetta players, and from time to time in Rauma, Finland pledges raised Nico Aaltonen , who was still a couple of years ago the young team’s standard equipment.
Pori with certainty the composition of the side of defender Ryan Caldwell and attackers Joel Armia , and Patrick Yetman.
We’ll see how he does with even a bigger role on the Aces this season. Meanwhile, on a lighter note, MTV3.fi provided a quick profile on Armia, and what he likes to do in his spare time.
“I’ve been to a couple of times a horse races in Pori. Kuninkuusravit event is of course just megapixel range, and nice to be here in a game with my friends… but it has not yet come to profits.”
“I have at least the coming season Ässissä. Self-service summer training ends this weekend. After starting workouts with the team. I have acquired in their training increases strength and agility, especially the legs. Next week we leave (for) the national team camp.”
Fox Sports did a quick piece on Finland’s National Team Camp. Armia will look to improve on this year’s World Junior Championship:
Armia, a 6-foot-3, 192-pound right wing, was taken by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 16 pick of the 2011 Entry Draft after a strong season with Assat in the top Finnish league. He had 18 goals and 11 assists in 48 games while playing on the team’s top line. He had just 1 assists in six games at last year’s tournament.
The camp runs Aug. 6-13, at the Olympic Center, and will feature exhibition games between the United States, Sweden and Finland.
Finally from Ilta-Sanomat comes an article entitled “Leino, a Finnish Paint Gun wants to Buffalo – Buffalo Sabres’ Ville Leino hopes to soon be up beside a young Finnish paint gun.” (It’s safe to assume “paint gun” loosely translates to “sniper.”)
Leino planted in Buffalo in the central place of the attacker. Armia bangs again paints a winger, so the Sabres in the future may be seen as a real suomalaisduo.
“I hope he is seen, after one year there (in Assat),” Leino nods. “After all, it is a pretty good equation,” Leino, laughing, “places paints, then everything works. Buffalo Sabres begin next autumn term in Finland.”
Twice the Stanley Cup finals had Leino believes in good faith team championship opportunities. “That is what we strive to source. Next season is the next opportunity.”
In other words, Leino is looking forward to playing with Armia, acknowledging he’ll have to wait for a chance to do so for at least one more season. Meanwhile, Leino is anxious to win the Stanley Cup now, and then enjoy some fine paint gun time with Armia when he likely arrives in Buffalo for the 2012-13 season.
Translation services were provided by Google.
What’s in a number?
A Leino by any other number, is still the same. Right?
Abandoning the #22 that he wore for Philadelphia, Leino made the curious decision to don #23, and for that, I could not be happier. Whether he meant to go on this mission or not, he’s now out to finally rid this fan base of the greatness that once wore that number – our Hockey God, our Captain, our indefatigable leader, our Chris Drury.
Leino may find that #23 is a heavy load to carry on his back throughout this coming season, and I cannot help but speculate on the reasons why he chose to take it upon himself. There will be comparisons between him and Drury all season long – perhaps longer – by fans, bloggers, and media, should he falter or flourish.
Of course, #22 was already taken by Brad Boyes. Leino wore #21 in Detroit, #22 in Philly, so #23 just makes logical hockey sense. Right?