Archive | October 2009

Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils


The (6-1-1) sabres are facing of the (6-3-0) devils who are currently coming off a 4-game winning streak. Look for both teams to be very physical tonight and definitely some fights will erupt. Look to see Andrew Peters vs. Craig Rivet (what a match up), and seeing Peters cry. OO i cant wait

Who’s Hot

Sabres:

Mike Grier- Currently takes the hold on having the hot seat with scoring 3 goals in his first 8 games this year. And last year only accumulating a total of 10 goals in the season. Thats a spicy dark meatball!!

Ryan Miller- Has a record of (6-0-1) on the season and has the second lowest goal average (1.69). Miller last game against the lighting stopped Vinny Lecaliver, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, in the shootout victory over TampaBay on Saturday

Devils:

“Z-Z-Pop-Line”-With Zack Praise having at least one goal in the last 4 games that he has played in. And Travis Zajac has 2 goals and 5 assists in his 4 game point streak. The last key player to this line, Jamie Langenbrunner, having accumulated 5 points in the past four games


Who’s Not:

Sabres:

Our lovely German Assistant captain Jochen (Choking) Hecht: Hecht currently has 2 points this season and should have way more than that. Jochen needs to start early by being physical and to make a play with mike grier on his right. He has a 4.5% shot percentage and a total of 22 shots. He needs to earn that A on his chest.

Devils:

John Oduya:O you don’t has no points and last season was a key defensemen. He needs to help out on the powerplay and make some impact in his own zone.

Brian Rolston:With a Plus/minus of -1 and having a total of 4 points for the devils 9 games. Rolston has 30 shots this season with a 6.7% chance of it going in the net. Brian Rolston needs to make a play becuase he helped the team out with powerplay points last season.

Notes:

Martin Broduer (the Veteran) is one shutout away from tying the all time record of 103 set by Terry Sawchuck. Martin has played all 9 games for the Devils and won’t be taking a break just yet.Brodeur has won three straight while allowing three goals and a sported a .968 save percentage

Ryan Miller

The games starts at 7:00 and should be on MSG.

Go Sabres!

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Let’s Break It Down: Sabres vs. Lightning – The Quick Edition


Hey kids, the LBID (Let’s Break It Down) segment for Saturday’s game will be shortened this week. Usually we will provide you with full game analysis but it’s just not going to happen today. Sorry. I think you’ll be ok.

Ok, so, first things first. You know how Tyler Myers made Mike Smith look silly? Yeah, that wasn’t the first time the public has seen that move. He did it in training camp on the final day. Let me provide a little preface to this: During the offseason of hockey (some call it “Summer”), I would get ridiculously bored and watch the little clips that the Sabres would put on their website. During training camp they would provide period highlights of certain events (drills, scrimmages, etc.). One such event was the shootout following the championship game. :52 Seconds into this video you will see the exact same move that Myers pulled on Saturday.

Here is the move from Saturday:

Wow. He just gets better and better.

Overall, the Sabres played alright on Saturday. They really should have dominated the Lightning though. On paper, the game was pretty evenly matched. They scored in the first period then we scored in the second period and both teams scored in the third.

The Sabres had a total of 32 shots while Tampa had 26. Both teams played pretty evenly and it didn’t look to me like one team dominated in regulation. Stamkos (remember that Fun Fact! about his first career goal) seems to have a knack for scoring against Buffalo. Tampa , however, has a knack for sucking and they certainly didn’t do that. The Sabres dominated overtime but failed to convert on a goal. It seems the finish just wasn’t there.

Thanks to the heroics of an unlikely hero (just like every good movie) the Sabres were somehow able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Oh yeah, and a tying goal by Drew Stafford with 10 seconds left didn’t hurt either.

Until next game…

Game Preview: Sabres vs. Lightning


The red hot Sabres (5-1-1) head to Tampa Bay tonight to face off against the newly recharged (get it?) Lightning (3-3-2).

Tampa Bay is fresh off of a Thursday night win over the San Jose Sharks. The Lightning’s coach Rick Tocchet did a fair amount of line shuffling in an attempt to energize the lowly team. Prior to the win against the Sharks, the Lightning were outscored 11-2 in their two previous games. Tonight marks the first game of a four game home stretch for the Lightning so they should be excited and ready to play at home.

The Sabres are coming off of a decisive 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers last Wednesday night. Buffalo exploded in the early minutes with 4 goals in ten minutes and then added another goal a few minutes later. Although the Panthers responded quickly, they couldn’t find their offensive spark and mount a comeback. Outside of the first period, the game wasn’t exactly exciting. The Sabres made good use of their new gritty forwards with goals from Mike Grier, Matt Ellis and Tyler Myers. The Sabres should try to continue their gritty play tonight while attempting to spark some offense.

In order for the Sabres to take advantage of the Lightning (and they can), they should pepper the net with shots. Both Antero Nittymaki and Mike Smith are playing very average right now. Nittymaki has a decent GAA of 2.70 but Smith is averaging 3.68 goals against a game. This game should also showcase a battle of young, hot shot defensemen. Last year’s second overall pick Victor Hedman is playing pretty decent with 4 assists for 4 points. Buffalo’s young defenseman Tyler Myers has 2 goals – one of which came last game – and 3 assists in his rookie campaign. It should be interesting to see these two square off.

Who’s Hot

Sabres

Patrick Kaleta: Honestly, who doesn’t love Patty K.? He’s the man. He hits. He pisses people off. He scores goals. He makes plays. He retrieves cats from trees for old ladies. He is all that and a bag of gluten free chips. Honestly, though, Kaleta has been a semi-silent force as of late. He picked up an assist last week on Matt Ellis‘ goal. He is also a plus 4 right now so good things tend to happen when he is involved. If Kaleta keeps up his offensive production as a compliment of his physical play, he will be quite an asset to this team.

Everyone: Ok, not everyone is hot. That being said, a good chunk of the team is. The Sabres have eight players that have more than one goal. This team is not being carried by one player. MacArthur and Vanek are leading the scoring but only by two goals with Myers, Connolly, Grier, Stafford, Pominville and Kaleta all behind with two goals. We’ll see what happens tonight against Tampa’s inconsistent D-Men.

Lightning:

Steven Stamkos: Remember Stamkos? He’s from the same draft class as Tyler Myers. Stamkos is starting live up to his massive potential. He scored two goals against San Jose last game and has scored 6 goals in 8 games this season. That’s very impressive for a sophomore. Stammer will try to take advantage of the young Sabres defense, especially Butler who sometimes makes poor decisions against high profile players. Stamkos has recorded a point in every game this season with the exception of one game.

James Wright: Wright, a rookie, scored his first career goal on the opening shift of Thursday’s game against San Jose. Wright has been moved up to the top scoring line as part of Coach Tocchet’s line movement. Wright wasted no time in taking advantage of this move by scoring early. Wright will try to extend his time with veterans Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis by playing intense, passionate hockey. Only time will tell if he does.

Who’s Not:

Sabres

Craig Rivet: The Sabres Captain has yet to record a goal this season. Although he is not a goal scorer, the Sabres need Rivet to contribute in every facet of the game. He has no goals and only two assists thus far. Also, he only has two penalty minutes. It’s good to avoid the penalty box but sometimes high PIM means a player is playing with heart and passion. Rivet is this type of player. He takes penalties because he plays intense hockey. Not so much so far.

The Sabres Penalty Kill: Although the Buffalo penalty kill allowed only one goal on seven attempts last game, the Sabres PK hasn’t been the greatest. Actually, the PK is ranked 24th. Ew. The Sabres need to step it up on the kill if they want to continue to win games. Enough said.

Lightning:

Vincent Lecavalier: Vinny has no goals yet this season. I repeat, NO GOALS. He Vinny fricken Lecavalier! He is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know he has seven assists but still. Come on man. He is probably the driving force behind Tocchet’s line shuffling extravaganza. Now that he has been paired with long time lover/soul mate Marty St. Louis, Lecavalier should blossom on the first line.

Alex Tanguay: Seasoned veteran Alex Tanguay also has yet to notch a goal this season. He has two assists but thats really it. One of said assists came on the powerplay (woo hoo!) but other than that, Tanguay has been fairly non-existent so far this season. He could be quite an asset to the somewhat young Tampa squad. If Tanguay can find his scoring touch he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Notes:

Mike  Smith is expected to be in net tonight for Tampa. He is coming off of a pretty solid win over the Sharks allowing only 2 goals on 34 shots. Smith can be deadly if he is on his game. However, he can also psyche himself out and has been known to have poor outings.

Ryan Miller should get the nod tonight for Buffalo. He is playing consistently well and has yet to have a very poor game. Miller has only allowed a total of 10 goals this season. The Sabres will try to go to Miller as much as possible over the coming weeks because we have five straight back-to-back games in the next five weeks. Every single back-to-back will occur on a Friday and Saturday. Miller will be crucial during these stretches.

Fun Fact!: Steven Stamkos netted the first goal of his NHL career last season in the first meeting between the Lightning and the Sabres on October 30th, 2008. The Lightning 2-4-2 against the Sabres the past two seasons.

The games starts at 7:30 and should be on MSG.

Go Sabres!

The Ruff Writers: Course Syllabus


Welcome to Buffalo Sabres 101, kids! Here in this oh-so-lovely course syllabus (who doesn’t love that word) we will break down future plans for this blog.

Game Previews: We plan to preview every game on the day of the game. Analysis similar to last game preview will occur. We’ll break down who is hot and not, who the starting goalies are, how well each team has played as of late and other such things.

(In) Game Recaps: We’ll try to provide in game recaps similar to the first period break down John provided the other day. If this is not possible, then we will at least provide a full game recap the following day (except last game, oops). This section will be entitled “Let’s Break It Down”.

Player Analysis: Occasionally, we will try to bring you player analysis. If a player is doing something particularly special (like scoring a lot or something, I guess), we will provide a breakdown of whatever it is he is doing.

NHL talk: Sometimes we’ll talk about the other teams that exist. Like those guys in toronto. This will usually be linked back to the Sabres, though. There is no need to get in depth about other teams if it really doesn’t touch the Sabres. We will also try to breakdown the ever-changing always exciting Northeast Division. Because who doesn’t love the good old Northeast?

But wait, there’s more!: It’s our blog. We’ll write whatever the hell we want. You’ll deal with it. You’ll like it too. Because we said so. And don’t even try to stop us.

So, uh, no texting in class, don’t be late and no shenanigans.

Let’s Break It Down: Period 1


First Period Assessment:

I guess I can start it off with saying welcome back Mike Grier.  Overall It’s very impressing to see the physicality presence on every shift the Sabres had had in the Period. With goals from Grier (Tim Kennedy, Jochen Hecht), Jason Pominville (power play) (Tim Connolly, Chris Butler), and Paul Gaustad (Patrick Kaleta) within the first 5 minutes of the Game. Talk about Blow Out. The Panthers lacked the offense plan and they need to focus on making an attack early in the 2nd. I mean for god sakes you gotta make some offense and not be giving up a 5-3 powerplay. I can tell that  most of the people in the areana have already left after a 5-1 lead with Tyler Myers  (Henrik Tallinder, Derek Roy), scoring the 4th goal and Steve Reinprecht  (Michael Frolik, Rostislav Olesz) scoring the 5th and scoring the, weird pushed in 6th goal, was Thomas Vanek (Drew Stafford, Steve Montador). Overall Miller has been playing on his head this first period with a “grab the puck behind me” save and many others.

The Sabres Penalty Kill percentage for the first period is 100%. This the  biggest weakness for the Florida Panthers with not being able to control the puck in the Buffalo Zone. I think I can predict what Peter Deboer (Florida Panthers Head Coach) is saying in the locker room. Are you serious??

Game Preview: Sabres vs. Panthers


Tonight the Sabres (4-1-1) travel to Sunrise, Florida to take on the lowly Panthers (2-4-0).

The Sabres have won their only road game this season and Florida is 1-2-0 at home this season (ironically they are also 1-2-0 on the road as well).

The Panthers recently snapped a four game losing streak with a win over the Flyers. After allowing two first period goals to Philadelphia, Florida rallied in the final 40 minutes to score four unanswered goals and capture a much needed victory.

The Sabres are coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. The Sabres tried to find their scoring touch late in the game but couldn’t retaliate after a late game tally by Max Afinogenov. The Sabres did not look the best and it was kind of a boring game.

Look for the Panthers to try and come out strong tonight and attempt to carry the momentum from the last game into this one. Florida has received much criticism about its first line of David Booth, Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton. Horton and Booth have both been disappointing in their careers. Booth excelled on an inconsistent basis as a second and third liner but now has to face the pressures of playing against the top D-men in the league.

The Sabres will try to regain their offensive footing tonight hoping for big numbers from its top two lines. Thomas Vanek makes his return to the lineup and look for him to try and make a statement early. Physical workhorse journeyman fourth-liner (I was literally trying to cram in as many adjectives as possible) Matt Ellis also returns to the lineup tonight. He will most likely take the place of the recently departed Paille on the fourth line. Ellis brings a veteran presence and work ethic that often goes overlooked. I like seeing him back in the lineup.

Let’s take  a look at who’s hot (and of course “not“) for both teams:

Who’s Hot:

Sabres:

Clarke MacArthur: C-Mac has been on fire as of late. Everyone (and by everyone I of course mean me) has been waiting for MacArthur to offensively explode and this season may just be that time. He took advantage of his time on the first line while Vanek was injured scoring in three consecutive games. C-Mac has possession of the team lead in goals with 4 and points with 6 (that means he has 2 assists for those of us who aren’t quite mathematically inclined). What a guy. He’s been on a tear as of late and he’ll no doubt try to continue his torrid scoring pace tonight against a weak Panthers defense.

Tyler Myers: The rookie defenseman has been playing with maturity beyond his years. He has collected 4 points so far this season with 1 goal and 3 assists (look out Pominville!). His plus-minus is also +5 which is second behind Henrik Tallinder. This is most likely influenced by the two 6 goal games the Sabres have had but that is still an impressive statistic nonetheless. Watch for Myers to jump into the rush tonight (something he loves to do) and try to create some scoring chances in an attempt to spark some offense. The players always seem to love it when Myers and other young defensemen (namely Sekera and Butler if he decides he feels like it) get involved in the rush. Good things just seem to happen when Myers is involved.

Miller is also playing pretty well with a quiet 1.59 Goals Against Average. Keep it up Mr. USA.

Panthers:

Well… No one is really hot for the Panthers. Except Nathan Horton’s girlfriend. But there are a couple guys who are playing decent for them.

Stephen Weiss: Weiss is currently tied for the team lead in goals and points with an astounding, wait for it, 2 goals and 4 points. Wow. What an offensive machine. But seriously, Weiss has played well the past few games and has provided a much needed offensive spark for his Panthers. Atop the first line along side Horton and Booth, Weiss has quietly made himself into one the better young players in the league. Watch out for Weiss tonight. If he doesn’t score he will get his name on the scoresheet somehow. He makes plays and is a great compliment to Horton (who has needed someone to make plays for him his entire career).

Radek Dvorak: Dvorak provides a veteran presence on  a fairly young team. He is also a phenomenal asset to penalty kill with 2 shorthanded goals this season. Florida is tied for second in shorthanded goals in the league with both of Dvorak’s tallies. The Sabres have already allowed one shorthanded goal this season (only four teams have allowed more than one thus far) so Dvorak should be looking to strike tonight. Its a long shot but shorthanded goals are back breakers.

Who’s not:

Sabres:

Jochen Hecht: Choken Jochen only has one goal so far this season. As a self proclaimed lead by example type of person, Hecht has yet to really do any leading this season. He also is considered a two way playmaker but has no assists yet. Hecht needs to step up tonight and be the veteran leader that this offense needs.

Panthers:

Everyone: If the Panthers are going to be a playoff team (Ha!) like they continually say the will, they need to win. Because last time I checked winning is how you make the playoffs. I may be wrong though, who knows how this post lockout, Bettman enforced NHL works. Anywho, every member of the Panthers needs to start producing if they want to stop being laughed at… I mean be contenders. I know the season is young but the type of play that the Panthers are showing is unacceptable.

Other notes:

Scott Clemmenson will get the start in goal tonight for Florida. This is most likely due to the fact that he won last game and doesn’t have a GAA of 4.10 (ahem, Mr. Vokoun).

Miller will most likely get the nod for Buffalo because he is rested, ready and doesn’t suck like Lalame… I mean Lalime.

Fun Fact: Dominic Moore (remember him? No? Really? He played with us after we acquired him at the deadli… yeah nevermind.) plays against the Sabres tonight for the first time after the Sabres did not resign him. He signed with the Panthers on October 5th and has only played one game with them. We’ll see what happens.

Game starts at 7:30 and is on MSG network.

Go Sabres!

Check back tomorrow where John will have a full analysis of the game.

Breaking Down the Paille Trade


As many heard yesterday, Daniel Paille was traded to the Boston Bruins for a third round pick and a conditional draft pick. This is a pretty average return for a pretty average player on a very average trade. As much as I loved Paille, he was continually underwhelming in his career as a Sabre.

Paille was a member of the roster on and off for the past 5 seasons (starting in 2005-06). His career numbers include 35 goals and 42 assists for a total of 77 points. His best year was clearly the 2007-08 season where he played in 77 games and amassed  a total of 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists). It was around this point in his career that the organization hope he would continue this steady incline in offensive play.

However, such was not the case. In 2008-09 he had 12 goals, 15 assists for 27 points. During last season he was pretty much invisible. He did not make much impact on a team full of underwhelming players (See: Roy, Derrick and Pominville, Jason). Lindy spoke on numerous occasions about young guys stepping up and playing with more maturity and Paille was one of these players.

At the onset of this season, Paille was already in the doghouse. Lindy and the organization felt his effort in training camp was lackluster and his play this season perfectly complimented their feelings. He might as well have called the Bruins himself and told them he was coming. He only played in two out of the six games this season and got an assist (woo!).

A third round pick is a pretty decent pick up for the Sabres. After all, NHL standout and superstar powerhouse of awesome Keith Gretzky (did he have a brother?) was drafted in the third round of the 1985 draft. So hopefully next year when we use this lovely pick, we can get someone as illustrious as 1997 third round draft pick Jeff Martin (drafted the same year as some Maxim guy). But on a more serious note, both Clarke MacArthur and Andrej Sekera were third round picks and so far they are working pretty well for the Sabres.

Only time will tell though.

Peace Out Paille.


The Sabres announced today that they have traded Daniel Paille to the Boston Bruins for a third round draft pick and a conditional draft pick. The organization (and by organization I mean Lindy) must have finally lost faith in him. Hurts me to see him go, he was full of potential that was perpetually never met. Further analysis tomorrow (and by tomorrow I mean today because its technically 2:41 am and I clearly have nothing better to do) along with a game preview of Sabres vs. Panthers.

The Ruff Writer Biographies: John J. Wild


Hello world, My name is John Joseph Wild and currently I am 18 years old and I attend State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse). I live in Buffalo for all of my live and have been an avid fan of the Buffalo Sabres since I was a wee lil’ toddler. Also I have played hockey since i was 5 years old and currently play roller hockey for Syracuse University. My Father and my 2 brothers exposed me to the sabres each hockey season and made me root for the Inconsistent Sabres. Even though the Sabres haven’t  won a stanley cup (even though when they played the Dallas Stars and Brett Hull cheated us with his “no goal” in 1999), I still put alot of hope into the team.

Andy recently mentioned about starting this blog and I was very intrigued by the thought. So now here I am to clamor and joke about the season. Lets go Buffalo!

The Ruff Writer Biographies: Andrew Meyer


I, Andrew Meyer, am the primary writer for The Ruff Writers. This blog was my brain child and much of its success has come at my hands. I am, however, quite excited to be adding new members to the Ruff Writers family.

Currently I am a Sophomore Journalism major at State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. Having grown up in Buffalo, New York, I have been a Buffalo Sabres fan for as long as I can remember.

My inspiration for blogging comes mainly from Y! Sports’ Puck Daddy blog (edited by Greg Whyshynski). It was the first hockey blog I ever read and is one of the best in the blogosphere. I hope to provide insightful information in regards to the Sabres and the NHL here at The Ruff Writers with a little bit of humor sprinkled in here and there. My other interests (if you care) include playing guitar, acting and listening to music (contemporary and classical).

On a different not, my favorite line in the history of the Sabres (excluding the French connection) was Pat LaFonatine, Alexander Mogilny and Dale Howerchuck. They were nearly unstoppable and were clearly the best line in NHL 94.

My goal is to give solid analysis of the actions of the Sabres while also providing a different perspective on the doings of the NHL.

Enjoy!