An attempt to be humorous and logical about the Buffalo Sports Scene.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sabres Preview part 1

"That One"

Well its almost here boys and girls, Sabres Hockey. On Friday the Sabres will match up with the old hated rival Montreal, hated on my end, and kick off this 82 game shindig. I have been really ambivalent to hockey of late, but lately interest is ramping up. Todays preview will be devoted to the forwards.


The former strong point of the club, but the talent declined with the loss of Drury and Briere and the constant injury status of Tim Connolly. But still the Sabres weren't terrible at Center, even though they lost a lot of scoring punch. They still had a ton of talent. Hecht and Roy turned into very good centers, Mair and Gaustad turned into adequate centers and now with the return of Connolly, we can move one of the guys to wing, more likely its Mair. Last year was a real learning year. The old take a step back before you take a step forward. This is a team thats going to be in most part together for a while. Roy, Hecht, Gaustad are going to be here for some time.

So the Sabres better be sure that they are happy with these centers. Roy and Hecht are top line talent, All Stars? No. But they will bring in consistent offense. And both are excellent in their own end. Both are great on the penalty kill as well. Gaustad is that great 3rd or 4th line center. Doesn't have hands of stone in the offensive end, won't be a liability on the backend and is killer on draws. Tim Connolly is the wild card. If he's healthy, you may want him to center Roy and Vanek, with Pominville, Paille and Hecht as your number 1 or 2. The guy is a master with the puck and with two excellent scorers he could make a unstoppable line.


Ahh the wings. Where the real scorers lie. Well kinda. But Thomas Vanek is ready no doubt to make up for his terrible start last year, a year where he still had over 30 goals. Jason Pominville is more then likely the new captain at the end of today. Plus the two big question marks on the season Kotalik and Afinogenov. With their contracts ending will they sulk, score or turn into trade bait later in the season? Then there will be the guys sitting a majority of the time, Peters, MacArthur and Ellis. Then there is Drew Stafford. Who everyone was high on. Now, I don't expect much from Drew Stafford. They could trade him away at this point and I wouldn't blink an eye. Nathan Gerbe has way more upside then Drew in my opininon. Dan Paille is a better player then Drew Stafford. But if he has any heart, he'll fight his way up the food chain. Finally theres "The Kaleta" who is nothing more then a skating hitting machine, who doesn't need a stick. I like him a lot.


For about a 1/3 of the Sabre forwards, this is a make or break year. The 3 next big free agents, Connolly, Afinogenov and Kotalik. We've seen all the upside and all the downside. They may all walk at the end of the year. And it may not be a bad thing. The Sabres have budding talent in Portland and is ready to replace with cheaper, maybe better players. But with the opportunity to score big in the next offseason, these players may help the Sabres now. Imagine if all 3 have career years. They are hungry, play every night, play like their future is on the line. (Which it is) If this happens the Sabres are one of the teams in the East to contend with. If 1 or 2 turn into a cancer, it could derail the entire year. Unless Darcy can ship them out for some hockey sticks. Drew Stafford is also going into a RFA year. And if he wants to maybe get poached with a outrageous contract, he'll have to bring it this year. He has struggled since his rookie year. He to is a player I wouldn't be surprised to see traded at the deadline. If the Stafford we've seen comes back this year, to cash in, the lineup on the forward end, would have zero to little holes. 60 minutes of hell.

Potential Lines

Well the lines are the most important aspect of the team and I've thought about it, how I'd like to see them lineup. But Lindy Ruff is a much smarter Hockey man then me. But these are the lines I'd like to see.

1) Paille----Hecht-----Pominville
2) Roy-----Connolly----Vanek
3) Kotalik---Gaustad---Stafford

But of course Goose is out, soooo we'll shake those up for the starting lines to begin the year.

1) Paille Hecht Pominville
2)Afinogenov Roy Vanek
3)Kotalik Connolly Stafford
4)MacArthur/Ellis Mair Kaleta

That doesn't seem too bad, doesn't it. Thats a solid lineup. Well if all the players show up every night, which we know with this Sabre team isn't a guarantee.

Tomorrow Denfense

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Buffalo, NY, United States
A Stay at home dad, who has more hot takes then your average stay at home dad.