A Post Previewing the 2009-2010 Buffalo Sabres

September 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Buffalo Sabres, Chris Butler, Dan Paille, Derek Roy, Frostee Does Predictions!, Henrik Tallinder, Jason Pominville, Jochen Hecht, Mike Grier, Nathan Gerbe, Patrick Kaleta, Paul Gaustad, Players, Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Thought-provoking Stuff, Tim Connolly, Tim Connolly must be made of toothpicks and chewing gum, Tim Kennedy | Leave a comment

So. The time has come to prepare a post previewing the Sabres. Where to begin? The Sabres were a mess last season, to be perfectly honest. Playoffs two years in a row, then no playoffs two years in a row, then they beat the Red Wings and the Caps in the preseason. Yes, I know we lost Drury and Briere, but seriously, dudes? Get over it. They weren’t the only players on this team.

The thing with these Sabres is that I can never decide if any of them have individual talents, or games like that 10-2 win over Edmonton are just a complete fluke. Yes, Thomas Vanek is good at putting the puck in the net. Yes, Tim Connolly is fabulous when he’s not lying in a hospital bed in a full body cast. Ryan Miller is frustratingly inconsistent, but when he’s on, good grief, is he on. Patrick Kaleta isn’t half-bad at throwing hits. Sir Christopher has a bright future ahead of him.

But I’m not sure if these Sabres are good enough to take the next step. Yes, if Gomez hadn’t taken out Miller we probably would have made the playoffs. But after seeing how the other teams played in the postseason, there’s an excellent chance that the Sabres would have been slaughtered in the first round. It would have painful, and it would have been ugly.

Darcy promised big changes this summer, so he let my Caveman go and signed Steve Montador in his place, and he brought back Mike Grier. Woo. Way to go, Darcy. Grier will (hopefully) be able to keep the whiny brats on this team in line, but that’s about it. He also signed about 27 enforcers and “gritty” players, so, you know, watch out, league. (I actually have a theory that Darcy watched Slapshot one too many times before free agency started and he wanted to be like the Chiefs and just beat up every team. If it’s old time hockey we’re going to be putting up with, I at least want a Killer.)

One thing Darcy didn’t do that we were all expecting was dump some of our dead weight. Yes, Max is gone, but we still have Hank and Jochen. Man, did those two frustrate me last season.

You know who else frustrated me? Jason Pominville. Jason effing Pominville. He was all cute and adorable and point-producing two years ago and then last season he completely sucked. It was awful.

Thomas Vanek was on track for fifty goals last season (remember when I was all freaked out that he would score more goals than Alex? Heh.) and then he broke his jaw. He’s definitely our best goal-scorer and I’d appreciate it if he could keep that up this year. I’m also counting on Derek Roy to be our best point-producer. Come on, Royzie. Do it for Kyle.

I’d really like some of the Portland kids to get a chance up here, but I’m not sure if that’ll happen or not since we don’t exactly have loads of roster space to give away. Gerbe and Kennedy might be ready to make the jump, but it really depends on who plays well in training camp and who else undergoes surgery right before the start of the season. Adam Mair.

Another concern is the Olympic Break. Yes, it will give some of our guys a chance to rest up, but not Ryan Miller. It became rather apparent two seasons ago that our fragile little goalie can’t handle playing a long season. The Olympics are kind of intense, and they’re going to exhaust him if he ends up being named the starting goalie.

I’m not going to make any predictions about this team, because I honestly don’t know where they’ll end up in the conference. What I do know is that they really are quite similar to the team we saw last year, and that team didn’t do a whole heck of a lot. Out of the playoffs is out of the playoffs, no matter what place you’re in.

Just a few personal letters to some of the players:

Dear Paul,

You just keep doing what you’re doing.

With Love,

Frostee

Dear Timmy,

Don’t break.

With Love,

Frostee

Dear Jason,

Come back.

With Love,

Frostee

Dear Jochen,

We gave you that contract extension because we believed in you, but you were kind of awful last season. Let’s just put the past in the past and move on. You can play better than you did. I believe in you.

With Love,

Frostee

Dear Mike,

Keep the little bastards in line.

With Love,

Frostee

Dear Sir Christopher,

I decided to make you my project this year, which means I love you even more and pay extra special attention to you. Not that there’s any pressure, I promise. I thought you were chivalrous and great player last year, and with even more time to grow and develop, you’ll get even better. Good luck, my young knight. May the force be with you.

With Love,

Frostee

Dear Danny,

Don’t forget your toothbrush on the road trips, sweetie!

With Love,

Frostee

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