The Sabres Observer
“Not surprised to hear Enroth is starting in goal for Sabres tonight. Ruff needs to give him regular starts and not fall into his old habits.” - Jerry Sullivan, Buffalo News
Sadly, opinion columns from our trusted local reporters in Buffalo will amount to less entertaining reading this season, thanks in part to the reality that Lindy Ruff’s ongoing media facewash over his management of goaltenders will likely be on indefinite hiatus.
We’re only a few weeks into the season, and folks here are already treating Coach as if he returned from summer counseling sessions determined to finally change his ways. Because we all know it’s his fault that Patrick Lalime couldn’t stop a beach ball during the Buffalo portion of his career.
Jhonas Enroth will make his second start of the season tonight for the Sabres as they face Columbus, and Ruff in turn will be getting the ole’ “atta boy, it’s about time” treatment from everyone who has waited so long for the leader of their beloved team to finally listen to them.
Should Buffalo’s star forward be spending more time on the ice?
Thomas Vanek (6 goals, 4 assists in 7 games) is fourth in the NHL this season in points per game, but his ice time lags behind other players who are off to hot starts.
16 players have 9 or more points in the early season scoring race, and Vanek has averaged less ice time minutes (17:10) than all of them except for Tyler Seguin. The NHL’s top scorer thus far, Phil Kessel, has played 20:32 per game.
Sabre forward Ville Leino was benched during last night’s win over the Canadiens in Montreal, registering just 2 shifts in the 3rd period. After signing a rich 6-year contract in the off-season, Leino has gotten off to a slow start with 1 goal and 0 assists in 5 games. He knows that he needs to step up his game.
“I don’t know if it’s the system or whatever, but I’m sure that I’m not happy with how I’ve played. I’m sure Lindy isn’t happy either. I’m just trying to work here and get things working.”
The Sabres are in Montreal tonight and will try to deny Carey Price his 100th career win. The Habs goaltender is off to a rough start, giving up a few too many five-hole style goals early this season.
Buffalo will go with the same lineup they used in Saturday’s win at Pittsburgh. That means Brad Boyes will at least temporarily avoid the fourth line. There was some talk that Mike Weber would be put into the lineup to replace the struggling Marc Andre-Gragnani on defense, but I’m glad to see that Lindy Ruff is giving him one more chance and letting him try to right the ship in his hometown. They have won 3 out of 4 with the kid playing, and I still like the look of him and Christian Ehrhoff manning the points on the power play. If tonight is another disaster for Gragnani, however, then all bets are off.
Ryan Miller will be in net for Buffalo. Keep an eye on Derek Roy, who revealed to the media yesterday that he’s playing with a hamstring injury.
Six power plays resulting in two goals. Not too shabby.
Unless both goals are scored by the other team, that is…
• If it weren’t for a Ryan Miller save on an Eric Staal breakaway and a goalpost save on Brandon Sutter, it would’ve been four shorthanded goals for the Carolina Hurricanes in rainy Buffalo last night (Canes won 4-3). I get that the Sabres want to be aggressive with the man advantage, but unless they miraculously figure out how to hit on 25% of their power plays, then thirteen shorties against last season and two given up last night are way too high a price to pay.
Yours truly was among the group of media and bloggers attending an open house showing off the Sabres new locker room facilities.
A few reporters who have been in pretty much every locker room in the league say they’ve never seen anything like this.
I added a few notes to each photo based mostly on what they were telling us while giving the tour of this
Some Sabres hockey thoughts from here in frigid Buffalo, where we’re all trying to make it through a sunny and 76-degree day…
• Well, that’s about as good a European trip as you could have. I’m guessing a big question that Sabres fans had in the back of their minds going into the season was whether or not this team could outlast Boston to take the Northeast division. After scoring 8 goals in two games against a dangerous Anaheim team and a Stanley Cup contending Los Angeles club, I have a pretty good idea at this point of what their answer is.
From The Buffalo News,
The Sabres’ refurbished dressing room was on display after the team’s practice. An official unveiling will take place later in the week.
via Sabres tweet,
Congratulations to Jason Pominville, the new #Sabres full time captain.
regarding assistant captains,
Assistants for the year are Vanek, Stafford, Gaustad & Roy.
For the attention span impaired, here are some quick notes on the Sabres as they prepare for their season opener in Finland Friday against the Anaheim Ducks:
• At least for now, it appears that Ville Leino has found a home. After toying with different line combinations, coach Lindy Ruff apparently struck gold when he put his new center with Tyler Ennis and Brad Boyes. “He was worried about his production for awhile,” Ruff said of Leino. “It’s not easy to fit who he’s going to play with.”
About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]