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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sabres Oilers Preview

Hey its the rare Alberta back to back. That's exciting right? Or are you like me, and these games almost seem like a exhibition, and really if they win or lose, you don't really care. Because really its nice when they win, but teams like Edmonton, Calgary and Anaheim, don't matter in the Sabres World. Maybe the old scheduling has made these teams foreign to me after all these years. Well after the lockout I mean. I use to love the Edmonton games, they seemed like they were playing a real hockey team and it wasn't the usual suspects. But now they seem like they are in a different league and this is some cross promotion. Thanks NHL for almost killing half the league to me. Especially those farther west and north.

Anyway, the Oilers are pretty hot right now. Winners of 5 of their past 6. Sitting in 6th spot in the West, though two points less then the Sabres. So these are pretty two even matched teams. Plus with a week off, they are heavily rested teams. But there is a glaring difference, defense.

The Sabres are banged up, going from healthy to not in what seemed a week. MAG will be in the lineup tonight (thats short for Marc Andre Gragnani) Who might get some minutes tonight. But we all know Lindy isn't very sure of the rookies. Edmonton is pretty healthy on the blueline, and they do something that Buffalo defenders don't do. Produce Points. They have 4 defensemen above 20 points. (Souray, Visnovsky, Gilbert and Grebeshkov) The Sabres have only 1, Jaroslav Spacek. The Sabres get more points up front, then the Oilers do. So you have watch out from the blue line, because the puck will be coming tonight. And Miller loves giving up those long ones.

The forwards aren't slouches. Ales Hemsky is coming off a great week and leads the team in goals and points. Shawn Horcoff is is centerman for Hemsky and has 32 points on the year. Speedster Andrew Cogliano has 25 points on the year and the somewhat disappointing Dustin Penner has 23 points on the year. Erik Cole and Ethan Moreau round up a pretty decent lineup of forwards. You can't take a shift off against the Oilers or they will hurt you.

The one weakness, besides their 29th rank penalty killing unit, is the goaltending. They haven't got real solid netminding from anyone this year, especially the well paid Dwayne Roloson. His 2.73 GAA and .917 sv% is alright. But really is preventing the Oilers from shooting up higher in the standings. If the Oilers get solid goaltending, they could be a team to watch come April and May. If not. Its one and done for Oil Country.

Well the game is on tv, but it will be the Sportsnet West coverage. And who knows how good that is. Enjoy the late one, should be over by the time Letterman comes on. Me, I'll be asleep, maybe. Maybe I'll stay for this one. I used to before I became old.

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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.