Buffalo - March 16, 2015 - Following every Sabres game, we’ll be taking a little look at the previous night’s action with a little segment called “good, bad and ugly”. Expect a loooooooot of ugly.
After stealing a point from the Leafs, who are an awful circus both on and off the ice, the Sabres were right back to the tanking grindstone with a 2-0 loss to the Metropolitan-leading New York Rangers
Can we get goaltending coach Arturs Irbe some kind of award for the work he’s done this season? From the group of Jhonas Enroth, Michal Neuvirth and Anders Lindback, not one of those names screams “bonafide #1 goalie”.
Still, Irbe has managed to get two of them traded out of town thanks to their stellar performances and he’s helped Lindback look like a competent NHL goaltender after years of being a questionable backup. Maybe it really is true that goaltenders have an easier time facing more shots, allowing them to get into a rhythm, which would make Buffalo the perfect destination for just about any netminder. Still, to have so many different goalies perform well throughout the year, we should start talking about the work of the coaches.
They might not be setting NHL records (in the good way, anyway), but this Sabres’ season could be a lot worse if not for the stellar play they’ve typically gotten out of the crease. Tap of the pads to Mr. Irbe for his work this season.
How many different ways can you say “this offense sucks” before you just say “this offense sucks” over and over again?
Well let me tell you, this offense sucks. There are very few times in any game where they manage to generate much in the way of scoring chances and they did even less than that against the world’s most obvious EA Sports-generated goalie in Mackenzie Skapski. If only the Sabres were capable of pulling off the dreaded cross-crease, they would have had his number.
I know I’m not an NHL coach, though I could probably do a little better job than anyone in Edmonton or Toronto, but why is the mantra on offense not “just throw it at the net and hope”? Seriously, what do they have to lose? They’re not having an easy time carrying it across the blue line, their dump and chase game is awful and they don’t have the skill to be a possession team in the offensive zone and create chances that way. Why not just pepper the net with as many shots from as many angles as possible? I just don’t get it.
Let’s be positive here for once. Everything about this season is worth lamenting and it’s just getting harder and harder to do that. After all, we’re right where we want to be midway through March and the tank is nearly complete.
Having said that, for as awful as they’ve been of late, the Sabres have been playing some close hockey. It was still a game with the Rangers on Saturday until Marty St. Louis’ empty-netter finally ended it and any lucky bounce could have extended this one (thank goodness it didn’t).
The one thing I really do quite like about Ted Nolan is that his teams fight and they hustle regardless of how outgunned they are. This team knows going into each game that they’re woefully outmatched on paper, but time and again they’ve had opportunities late to tie things or take the lead. When the talent arrives and things start to mesh, those opportunities are going to get taken advantage of.
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