Tag Archives: Nathan Gerbe

Game 3: Immediate Reactions

In a y pivotal game 3, the Sabres appeared to be a team content coming home with the split in Philadelpha while the Flyers possessed the determination and desperation to take back control of the series.  Now with the series 2-1 in the Flyers’ advantage, game 4 will present an opportunity to completely take control while the Sabres need regain their composure and not let this slip away heading back to Philly.  Long and short here are some thoughts about the game:

  • The Sabres forecheck didn’t create nearly enough pressure on the Flyers who seemed to be able to take the puck out of their zone with a lot of ease.
  • Conversely, the Flyers really stepped up their pressure in the second period and forced the Sabres hand, especially on the Briere goal on a good play by Hartnell. 
  • The Zherdev goal to put the Flyers up 3-1 was terrible defense.  Montador was left with a two-on-one that seemed to last forever allowing Richards to pick his spot and dump an easy pass to Zherdev.
  • Marc-Andre Gragnani led all Sabres with 23:51 of ice time.  It is hard to really see how next year will pan out for the Sabres, but you have to think he’ll be a part of the future.
  • Ryan Miller needs to be better than he was tonight.  He wasn’t terrible, but if he’s the rock of this team it needs to show up more consistently
  • The Sabres have too many “offensive” defensemen where their offensive production seems to not compensate for their defensive problems.
  • Although both had over 20 minutes of ice time, if Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford really want big time money this offseason I would like to see more from them offensively.  Connolly’s penalty killing is important and will bring value, but they are setting their market value for this summer.
  • Nathan Gerbe has been the Sabres best and most consistent player 5-on-5 and more so than Connolly makes Stafford’s price have a ceiling to stay in Buffalo.
  • Stupid penalties hurt the Sabres early with Kaleta’s poor decision and then there were still too many moments of questionable decision making.  Game 4 may be decided on the Sabres ability to maintain their composure.
  • The Flyers are so much stronger down the middle with Briere, Carter and Richards and it is showing how much the Sabres miss Derek Roy.
  • The Flyers defense played a real solid game in front of Boucher and minimized the Sabres attack
  • Did anyone else think the last ten minutes of the game seemed irrelevant to the Sabres?  They seemed to lack an urgency and had a lot of trouble generating any sort of rush.
  • The atmosphere inside HSBC arena was a disappoint
  • The atmosphere outside HSBC arena was a beautiful sight
  • Boucher taking off his helmet was unfortunate, but not malicious
  • I missed Doug Allen for the national anthem

There were a lot of different aspects that went into this game and could be broken down to every microcosm, but the Sabres seemed overmatched and outworked which is a bad combination going forward.  I expect Lindy to work them very hard on the off day and to come out extremely energetic in Game 4.  Not using the cliché of must wins, but the Sabres need to avoid putting themselves in a hole heading back to Philly.  The Sabres ‘stars’ need to elevate their game and carry this team to a victory and tie the series.

Follow me on Twitter: @brianbund

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Devils @ Sabres Preview

Rematch of Saturday night’s game and even though Gerbe is out, at least Kaleta will be bringing his energy back for the Sabres. I would expect that Miller is going to play after the long lay off and should be ready to go.  This is a big game in the standings for the Sabres and they need to stay in the thick of the race and you have to beat the teams you competing against. The Sabres (15-12-3) are two points behind the Devils (16-9-3) and have played two more games.  The biggest part of Saturday’s win was that Lalime was in net and improved on his 1-4-1 for the season.  The Devils are still a hot team and with Rivet out for the game I need to see both Sekera start putting together some games.  He’s really struggled at times this year and they’re going to need production out of him going forward. 

(courtesy of Getty Images)

(courtesy of Getty Images)

Hopefully the Sabres can put together a solid 60 minutes tonight.  They played a great first 37 minutes on Friday and ended the game well on Saturday.  I’ll obviously take another effort like Saturday if it results in a win, but I’d like to see them play well after several days off and New Jersey having just played an OT game last night.

 There’s a good article on Chris Butler and if there are more injuries on the blue line it’ll be interesting to see what Lindy does. 


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How the hell?

I can't believe he made the Pro Bowl

I can't believe he made the Pro Bowl

Ok, now I a full fledged believer that the Pro Bowl is the biggest joke in the history of football, sports and the world.  I just got a text that fat slob that is Jason Peters made the Pro Bowl.  Seriously, no lie it’s from the Bills.  That’s so unbelievably awful.  I’m not sure if it’s the fans or what that voted him in, but I know Buffalo fans didn’t vote him in.  He was awful for the first 4 games and bad for the next 4 and has finally started to play better the last 5 or 6 games.  This is a joke.  That fat, lazy bastard better not think he can hold out again next year or I’m going to….well probably just give myself an ulcer, but still. 



On top of that Nathan Gerbe’s hurt, but at least we get Kaleta back.  


Also, here’s a good piece on Hockey Jersey etiquette although I think WGR and myself would add a couple to this rule:


  1. Couples should not wear matching players jerseys (although it may be acceptable if they were wearing home and aways?)
  2. Blank jersey (They do this a ton in Canada so it’s probably debatable, but I like making a commitment to a player and the team, but this is substantially better than the people who personalize their jerseys with their own names)
  3. And it mentions wearing an Islanders’ Satan Jersey?  I nix that rule.  Team first, player second.  I don’t think too many Jets’ fans are wearing Pennington jerseys in Week 17 this year nor will Dolphin fans be wearing a Jets’ Pennington jersey?


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Sabres @ Devils Reaction

I’ve been doing something a little different which is why this might read a little different.  I’ve been writing notes while watching the game so it’s more of a running recap.  I had a family function last night so I DVRd the game and avoided my phone and all other things until I watched it and luckily don’t have Kramer as a neighbor to walk in and ruin it for me.


-That first goal was what I needed to see, just a hard working, full fledged attack that resulted in Vanek putting it in the goal.  People may call those garbage goals, but to me those are the goals that win games and they didn’t get on Friday.  I thought that Pominville should be playing with Vanek and Roy, but I think having Hecht in the center gives them a little more stability.  Even though Roy is a better player I’m really enjoying watching that line play.


-A side note on garbage goals, to me those types of goals aren’t garbage.  Bad bouncing pucks are garbage goals. Those are the result of hard work and putting yourself in the right position which is what Vanek does more often than not.


-What a great shot by Elias and great play by Gionta for taking two Sabres with him right before then.


-Langenbruener totally elbowed Gerbe on that play in the neutral zone right before their second goal.  I can’t stand Bobby Holik, not sure why I just feel like he always kills the Sabres.


-I’m glad that Nathan Gerbe finally got on the score sheet.  He’s had a great couple of games and deserved to get there.  What I like about his game right now is he’s just keeping it simple and threw the puck to the net.  Also was very glad to see that Drew Stafford found the wide open net this time.


-Mair’s fight with Leach was beautiful.  The thing I like about Mair, Gaustad and Kaleta as opposed to just Peters is that all are ready to throw down, but aren’t total liabilities out there and allow us to roll the four lines we need to.


-Harry Neale’s color commentary cracks me up.  Example, end of the second where he was ‘fairly certain’ it was too many men on the ice and it was an offsides.  That stuff happens, but just seems to happen to Harry some where between 2 and 1,037 times a game.


-Great play by Vanek at the beginning of the third where he back-checked and prevented a point blank opportunity for Gionta.  Just another perfect example of how much better he’s gotten in his own zone


-Just when I rip Harry Neale he made a great call on Stafford who played a great game last night and took that penalty that led to Roy’s goal.


-After Roy’s goal he made a great play that led to Vanek’s goal. How many multi goal games has Vanek had this year?

-Overall, very solid performance by Lalime also which is what we needed.  Also nice to see them win the second game of a back-to-back and bounce back after Friday’s loss.  As a fan this was the type of game I was hoping for and they provided.  Leading up to Wednesday’s rematch I can still feel good about the way the Sabres have played over the last 5 games and get excited.  But through past experience will definitely not get too excited.


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Toronto @ Buffalo Preview

I’m so excited about tonight’s game.  I love the way the Sabres have played the last 3 games and think that there’s going to be that little extra energy in the building tonight.  I think it’s a big game for the Sabres to continue this ride and get another game over .500 and plus I hate the Leafs.  


There’s an article today on Thomas Vanek and it is really more just a numbers piece and not so much an article, but it points out just how valuable Thomas Vanek has been to the Sabres.  He’s scored 28.9% of the our goals, not including anything in shootouts.  That’s absurd.  And where you want to attribute that to the lack of others scoring to support him that’s fine, but this team plays better when Vanek scores and need him to keep doing so tonight in is a pretty big game.  If you really want a good Vanek piece go check out Top Shelf.


I’m hoping that Pominville’s three points from the other night carries over.  He quietly had a great game and probably made the play of the game keeping the puck in the zone that led to Vanek’s second goal. 


I’m also interested in seeing how Nathan Gerbe does again tonight. I think it’ll be interesting for him in his second home game in a divisional rivalry with a sea of Toronto fans in the 100 level.  I’m not so worried about his goals right now.  I like that he’s skating around hard, finishing checks and creating chances.  I know it’s premature, but watching them play Tampa Bay the other night and Martin St. Louis felt like he could turn into that type of player. I just don’t see how they’re going to send him back to Portland for long, if at all.  


Jerry Sullivan wrote one of his quibbling back and forth articles yesterday that wasn’t my favorite but brought up some relevant points.  This team needs Ryan Miller (and Thomas Vanek) to be their best players on a night in and night out basis.  There’s times when that happens and they look unstoppable, but at times they’re beyond frustrating.  I love Ryan Miller, but at times he is a microcosm of this team and city.  He does let in soft goals and get out of position in weird time and needs to elevate his play to a high, consistent level.  I believe he will as this team continues to get of age in front of him.  Vanek has gotten so much better of being that model of consistency. Even in the Penguins game when the announcers were killing him; he was working hard, playing hard and those are things I can live with.


The point is that this team needs to find consistency and I think it starts with tonight in a big divisional game.  I just need to see what I’ve seen the last three games.  Good physical play, sound defensive plays, killing penalties, a good forecheck and scoring opportunity goals.  Those things win hockey games and I think this team is finally starting to know that an ugly goal and a pretty goal still put one on scoreboard.

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Sabres take third in a row

Outside of the first 10-15 minutes of that game the Sabres really grinded the game out and played well enough.  Couple thoughts on some of the big plays of the night, but overall very happy the Sabs have put together a nice little 3 game run and hopefully they can continue it on Friday against those from up north.


Terrible turnover by Stafford on that first goal.  Too many turnovers in our own zone this year. 


Awfully juicy rebound on the second goal by Miller.  It dropped about 5 feet in front of him and no one seemed to know where any Lightning players were.


That should have never been a penalty on Gaustad for the check that led to the fight.  Clean hip check and he had just dumped the puck.  And after a scuffle, nice couple blows by Gaustad



Nicely done by Stafford who’s really playing well the last couple of weeks and enjoying playing with Roy and now Gerbe.


21st for Vanek!  Don’t you feel like they’re always going to blow a break away?  Great goal to tie that one up.


Then the 22nd and it was a sick back hand on the power play.  What a play by Pommer to keep the puck in and Roy to get the puck down to him. Phenomenal goal.


I thought that was an awful call at the end of the game.  Kotalik was letting up and barely had his hands on the guy who slammed into the boards.  Nonetheless great job on the penalty kill and being able to wrap that game up.


I really want to see what they’re going to do with Nathan Gerbe because I don’t want to see him back in Portland.  I think he’s going to be a very good hockey player and soon.

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What should the Sabres do

This Sabres team is at a cross roads and they need to something rather than later.  Nick Mendola of WGR wrote a great piece on what they should do.  I agree with it all and probably then some.  The Sabres need new blood and they are holding onto the team from a couple years ago that really ended the day Danny Briere and Chris Drury (who coincidently is now friends with my brother-in-law’s brother) left.  More than that how much do you think this team needs a JP Dumont? 



This team isn’t going to be able to unload their dead weight, but they better do their best to do so.  I just assume all but give away Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov, but getting someone to take on his contract for the rest of this year and then he’s gone, probably back to Russia to play.  It goes deeper than that though and although I don’t think it’s crucial, I mentioned before that no one on this team should be safe minus the 4 or so guys they’ve given the contract extensions to.  This team needs Nathan Gerbe to become a Patrick Kane and why can’t he?  I’m sick of this staying in the AHL when other teams are benefitting now from their young talent.  We need to unload the Kotaliks, Afinogenovs, Connollys, and some of those defensemen and bring new life to this organization and hope, just hope that it works. 


Darcy and the front office get so set that they don’t make the wrong decisions and giving Afinogenov and Connolly extensions have not paid off and did not work out.  I still think Connolly is as good as anyone when healthy, but HE’S NEVER HEALTHY.  We have the players down in Portland that need to experience life in the NHL for better or worse and there are some players on this team that would probably need and love a change of scenery.  We need change and we need it sooner rather than later.





I understand why they gave Rivet the ‘C’, but I think this team needs, right or wrong, Vanek or Pominville to step up and be the leader of this team.  Crosby got the ‘C’ way younger than Vanek, but Vanek is ready.  He worked hard to be a better two way player and more responsible in his own end.  Maybe I’m crazy, but the best player usually needs to be the leader too.



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Reactions: Thrashers 5- Sabres 4 (OT)

Last night’s Sabres game may have been an NHL dream because it was 5-4 with an overtime goal to win it, but that was not a pretty game at this from this Sabres fan’s point of view.  There’s a couple things I like from last nights game and a few that I don’t:


         First Ryan Miller struggled last night letting in a couple of awkward goals and a big rebound that landed right in front of the net on that game winner.  I wouldn’t liked to see Lalime last night and have Miller in net, but either way Miller did have a handful of really good saves and the Sabres still got a point.

         I like the move to point Kotalik on the Roy-Vanek line.  Putting a sniper slapper and wrister on a line with those two should generate plenty of scoring opportunities.

         Thomas Vanek is definitely growing into his own.  The goal they wiped away was an unbelievable show of skating and puck handling ability.  He also and more importantly has allowed me to relax when he’s in the defensive zone.  He’s doing a great job of using his body to shield the puck and creating havoc on the forecheck and backcheck. 

         Glad to see Afinogenov get a goal finally.  Very nice play and you could tell how excited he was to watch that go in.

         This team needs a healthy Tim Connolly to be a legitimate competitor.

         The hooking calls have gotten out of hand.  How many players do you see put their stick in for the puck and the offensive player just tucks their arm down on the stick.  Look at the last penalty from last night. 

         The Sabres did not skate well last night and still had control of that game and let it slip away and the penalties they took late gave Atlanta a chance, hopefully they’ll play better tonight in Boston.


Side note:  How exciting is it to see Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy slowly work over the AHL, it’s nice to know that there is some depth down there and that will obviously play into some of the decision Darcy and Larry will make down the road.

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