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hostile take over merger! Please check out www.buffalopp.com for the new site. Buffalo Power Play will include the same Bills and Sabres analysis along with in depth looks at the NHL and sports as a whole, and some references to pop culture.
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2010-11 Regular Season stats:
2011 Postseason stats:
Look Back: Fans were once again disappointed with the production of this year’s trade deadline deal. Boyes had 5 goals, 9 assists in his 21 games as a Sabre, which would be on pace for 55 points for a 82-game schedule. It was Boyes late season slump and non-existent presence against the Flyers that had fans irritated. To Boyes defense, the team asked him to play out of position down the stretch and into the playoffs out of necessity. Boyes is a more natural winger and as long as the team addresses depth at center this offseason, it should allow Boyes to work along the boards more and hopefully gets him close to returning to the two-time 30 goal scorer that fans are hoping.
Look Ahead: The Sabres roster seems to have an extensive list of players that could and should be scoring 20+ goals and 60+ points. This team needs Boyes to be one of those contributors. Many people, myself included, believe that the Boyes deal was much more about this coming season than last season. Given a full offseason to learn the system and a return to his natural position at wing, I have moderately high expectations for Boyes. The question is going to be what line should he play on? With Pominville, Stafford and himself, the Sabres have a number of right wingers. Does Lindy Ruff get creative or is one going to be moved out of position? If Tim Connolly is re-signed and ends up being the 3rd line center, it could be fun to watch Connolly and Boyes on a 3rd line, no?
Fake Darcy’s Take: Boyesy was arguably the greatest trade deadline deal I have ever made. He actually scored some goals. With that being said, I wouldn’t buy any green bananas if I were him. I would trade him for the flu right now. I’d love to free up the cash owed to him.
Twitter: @brianbund & @fakedarcy
Brian Bund is a Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills fan currently residing with his family in Syracuse, New York. He is a contributing writer at Hockey Heaven, Buffalo Wins and the author of the The Buffalo Sports Fan blog. You can reach him on Twitter at: @brianbund
2010-11 Regular Season stats:
2011 Postseason stats:
Look Back: Mike Weber was part of the of the ever revolving blue line that Lindy Ruff utilized throughout the 2010-11 season, but his development was an important step in this team’s development. He was second on the team with a +13 rating and seemed to gain confidence throughout the second half of the season. In his first full season on the parent club, Weber became part of the group of young defensemen that have many fans excited. As much excitement as there is amongst that group, Weber exhibited some ill-timed poor play in the playoffs that ultimately hurt the team’s chances of advancing. He’s just 23 years old and appears to have a solid NHL future ahead of him
Look Ahead: As solid as that NHL future appears, whether or not he stays with the Sabres remains to be seen. Similar to Chris Butler and others, the Sabres have a plethora of RFAs to deal with, including Weber. With Marc-Andre Gragnani, Chris Butler, Andrej Sekera and Weber all scheduled RFAs the likelihood of that entire group returning is small. The Sabres appear poised to make a run at least one top tier free agent veteran on the blue line and roster spots are going to be at a premium. The Sabres’ farm system is deep with several huge prospects on the blue line that will most likely push the efforts to add veteran leadership in that position. Whether or not that affects Weber’s future remains to be seen, but after the playoff performance of Gragnani he isn’t likely to go anywhere. The odd player(s) out remains to be seen.
Fake Darcy’s take: Good things always seem to happen when Websy’s on the ice. He was a +13 for us last year, and a +18 in Portland the year before that. The thing I really like is how he taunts Lindy about his -17 in ’88-’89. He once asked Lindy if he played without a stick that season. Funny stuff, good kid.
Up Next: Rob Niedermayer
2010-11 Regular Season stats:
2011 Postseason stats:
Look Back: Chris Butler struggled to find the lineup for most of the first half of the season. As he gained ice time in the second half of the season, he still did not contribute much offensively. Butler was a horse in logging long minutes down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs as he paired with Tyler Myers. His performance against the Flyers however seemed to expose some of the growing pains associated with young defensemen. He’s just 24 years old and should be able to take that experience and learn from it as he continues to develop.
Look Ahead: Butler is one of the many RFAs the Sabres front office needs to deal with. The former fourth round pick may be caught in a numbers game as other RFAs like Nathan Gerbe, Andrej Sekera and Mike Weber also need to be prioritized. With a lot of fan and media sentiment on bringing in veteran defensemen it is likely that one of these young blue liners will struggle to maintain their position on the roster. The fact that Butler didn’t contribute significantly offensively may be overlooked by the fact that he played alongside Tyler Myers quite extensively during Myers’ second half resurgence. The team may want to build around them, although that appears unlikely. We’re fast approaching July 1st.
Fake Darcy’s Take: A steal in the 4th round, I think Butler has a spot on our team for many years, as long as he keeps his salary requests in line with his value. One of his funnier bits is using the “Pioneer Paddle” on players in the locker room. That’s the value of drafting college players: those funny fraternity pranks.
2010-11 Regular season (Second line in Portland):
Look back: Mark Mancari was able to make his way up to the Sabres for roughly ¼ of the season and seemed to gain some favor with the coaching staff in the second half over Luke Adam. Mancari continued his excellent work in the AHL by leading the Pirates in scoring with 64 points in 56 games. Mancari’s play down the stretch on a line with Nathan Gerbe and Paul Gaustad provided the Sabres with a strong forecheck and solid checking. His 1 goal in the 20 games he was a Sabre is the main disappointment with his season considering he registered .57 goals/game in Portland.
Look ahead: The former 7th round pick is scheduled to be a restricted free agent this offseason and it seems extremely likely that someone is going to give him his opportunity at a full time NHL roster spot. He’s just approaching his 25th birthday with a 6’3” and 225lb frame, he has the size you want out of your right winger. The direction the Sabres decide to go will ultimately depend on all the other RFAs the team has to deal with. As much potential as Mancari has shown on the AHL level, his NHL potential may be realized while wearing another team’s jersey.
Fake Darcy’s Take: When you are 25 and have established yourself as an NHL player, you are considered young. When you are 25 and only have played a handful of games on the NHL level, you are considered a journeyman. We have to figure out if Marky’s an NHL journeyman or an AHL journeyman. Unfortunately for him, I believe he’s the latter.
Up Next: Patrick Kaleta
The Wall Street journal is reporting that the Buffalo Bills have a new city slicker interested in buying the team. Here is all you need to know about Jeffrey Gundlach:
He’s rich and he knows rich people. And most importantly, he’s from Buffalo.
Per the report, “It’s not an investment” Gundlach said, “It’s because I love the Bills.
I have said this before and I’ll reiterate it again, I do not think the Bills will leave Western New York. There are extremely wealthy individuals out there that have ties to the community and they will not allow them to leave. Go Bills.
More to follow.
This is the start of what will be an on going series on Buffalowins.com. Please take the time to check out a ton of additional articles and commentary over on that site.
2010/2011 Regular season
A Look Back: Matt Ellis played in 14 games for the Sabres during the regular season and registered zero points and -4 rating for the season, but is still looked at favorably among fans. He’s a gritty player who plays responsibly in his own end, but is limited offensively. In five NHL seasons, Ellis has played in a 201 career games with 13 goals and 20 assists during that time. He had a career high 72 games in Buffalo in the 2009-10 season.
A Look ahead: Ellis is 29-years-old and an unrestricted free agent this offseason. I think many Sabres fans would like to see Ellis make his way back to the organization as well as staying up on the Sabres roster. It is hard to imagine Ellis being much more than a fourth line player, but at the right cost to the team he understands the “system” and could help provide depth to the roster at that fourth line.
Fake Darcy’s Take: The kid knows his way around a press box. He’s exactly the type of player we need to steer clear of if we think we want to win the Cup. Matty and players like him are a dime a dozen.
Up Next: Luke Adam
Reactions to Game 1.
- Ryan Miller was much better than pretty much anyone anticipated. He still seems out of position to me on times behind the net and moving laterally, but when he sees the puck coming from the edges or the point it’s usually pretty tough to beat him. Miller ‘stole’ game one and will like have to remain one of the team’s best players night in and night out.
- Where were the Sabres’ thirty goal scorers? Most of the problem is a result of the penalties that the Sabres took in the second period, but hopefully that’s all that it was. Each had a couple good shifts, but I would like to see them assert themselves this series.
- Mike Grier played a good veteran checking line game. Couple big hits, drove to the front of the net and was responsible in his own end. I’ll take that every night, however I wish he was a just a little faster….just a little.
- Chris Butler was AWESOME. I don’t want to overstate his play but he was the one that constantly face washed Flyers for getting in the crease, he won numerous battles along the wall and seemed to me to be a part of every well timed defensive stop.
- Gerbe and Gaustad played great including on the winning goal. I said at the beginning of the series that the Sabres best players need to be their best players and although Miller was it was nice to see that the third line continued their productivity. Gerbe’s motor is going to serve the Sabres real well.
- Steve Montador….ugh. He….UGH….nevermind
- I thought Myers played well, but his tripping penalty was bad. Outside of that I’ll take it.
- One point I think the Sabres struggled with was the Flyers forecheck. They are going to need to make sure they do a good job this entire series (and playoffs for that matter) of getting the puck out of the zone.
- I had a bigger issue with Mancari coming out of the lineup for Grier more than Kaleta, but in hindsight I don’t care because both played solid and we won. Period.
- My favorite part of the telecast was seeing Ted Black and company celebrate the goal with what I assumed was the undressed players and some other management. Ted Black may officially be my idol.
- 3 stars for me were Miller, Butler and Gerbe (With Kaleta and Gaustad close)
- The non call on the interference behind the Flyers net was brutal.
- The Sabres are 9-2 under Lindy Ruff in road Game 1s….How is that possible? He’s awesome.
- For the record I hate a 5pm Saturday start….it’s awful for people with kids and just a weird time.
A win’s a win and it was a pretty solid road game performance, but it’s not like the Flyers played bad at all and the Sabres are going to need to take advantage of a great opportunity to get back to Buffalo up 2-0. Hopefully the top two lines are able to make a couple more plays and I think Vanek’s poised for a great game 2. It’s a great chance for this team to really continue to foster their confidence heading home and I expect them to be ready for it, but I also expect to see a pretty desperate Philly team.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Follow me on Twitter: @brianbund
With everything that is going on in Buffalo and sports I’ve been having a burning desire to start writing about all of these issues and finally thinking it may be time. I just had my second child so the timing is probably about as bad as it could but I’ll write when time permits.
These changes going on with the Sabres are something out of a dream more in the fact that this leadership appreciates the details that will hopefully have an positive impact on the fans and the players. Ted Black and TPegs seem to be building a culture within the organization that does make a meaningful impact on employees (players).
Where this goes none of us know and for this season getting to the playoffs is and should be the goal. Get there and see what happens and then lets see what the summer can bring. Like everyone I know it is an exciting time to be a Sabres fan but the Buffalonian in me knows this is the honeymoon stage (see Lawyer Milloy’s first game). Being a sustainable contender and winning a cup is the aspiration. I can’t wait to take the ride.
I’ll hopefully try to share many more thoughts on a wide variety of sports topics but the main focus will be Buffalo sports. Tell your friends and let me know your blogs and I’ll be sure to check them out.
Check out my twitter @brianbund
So the game last night was something I was hoping to see. The Sabres needed the two points more than they needed to look good. They’re heading onto the road for 8 of their next 9 and even though they have played well on the road, getting a win against a conference opponent that is slipping back to the middle of the pack was important.
Ryan Miller was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic and really have been ever since Lindy called him out minus a couple long shots getting past him. But last night he got them a game that they didn’t deserve to be in for two periods. Rob Ray said it that the Rangers played a great road game last night and were the better team. The Sabres looked slow and careless at time and Lindy pointed it out in his post game conference that they’d make turnovers that prolonged their shift and then would have to dump the puck and have the Rangers roll right back into the zone. That’s why Ryan Miller was great tonight. He was in position all night, he looked comfortable and seemed to like facing a lot of shots because he wasn’t in his ‘thinking mood’. Even the goal he let in wasn’t a bad one, Roy was shoved in front of him to screen him off.
I’m still not sure why they play that poorly at home and don’t really understand it. This game was like the Toronto game from a couple weeks back where the Sabres were the better team that night, but a late 2nd period goal rallied the Leafs, luckily they were on the right side of this decision with Detroit coming up. Detroit’s Detroit and it’s going to be difficult to go on the road after that game last night, but it would be nice to start this road haul off positively. I’d like to see the special teams take advantage of their opportunities and get some production from those second and maybe third lines and see if they can sneak this one out.
On a football note: I’m extremely excited to watch Ed Reed play today. He’s fantastic!