Archive | December 2009

No Preview Today… Sorry.


No preview today guys. I don’t have time to put one together because I have to go work. I’d rather have time to really create a well done done preview than try to half ass one now.

Head over to Yahoo! Sports if you want a preview that covers both sides in a pretty generic way.

Game is on at 7:00 on MSG. Go Sabres!

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Christmas Update #1: The Ghosts of Christmas Past


Merry Christmas Eve (even though it’s almost Christmas technically)! This is just a quick little update for you Ruffians out there.

Merry Christmas! I wonder what's in that stocking...

Soooo, let’s take a look at a couple things in regards to the Sabres.

Upcoming Schedule:

This is a crucial weekend for the Sabres. They play the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night and then the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. The Sabres have yet to beat the Senators this season in two games so far. With only a four point lead over the Boston, the Sabres need to add two more points to further pad their lead. If the Sabres drop two and Boston wins two (I’ve heard about some outdoor game against the Flyers) then it’s a completely new division in the Northeast. Ottawa is just barely in the playoff hunt as of right now at 7th in the east. They need these two points very badly seeing as Montreal, who is in 9th, are only down by one point. It’s worth noting that the next opponent for the Sens after the Sabres is Montreal. If the Sabres lose this game, it could be the foreshadowing for a drastic shift in the Northeast. Ottawa is in 3rd in the Northeast with 40 points and Buffalo is in first with 47. If we lost, Ottawa would have 42 points and we would still have 47. If we lose again on Sunday, we would still have 47 points and Ottawa would be breathing down our necks at 44. That’s a win and an overtime loss away from a tie in the East. And that’s not counting the Bruins who play on Sunday and Monday just like Ottawa. That’s a potential for 4 points for a team that is currently 4 points outside of the #1 slot in the Northeast. This all may be a bit of a stretch but it will definitely be quite and interesting stretch after the Christmas break. As I always say, only time will tell.

Step Up/ Stay Up:

Certain players need to Step Up. They are Craig Rivet, Toni Lydman, Matt Ellis (as much as I love him, it’s time for him to shine), and Adam Mair. IM DONE WITH MAIR ALREADY. PLEASE GET RID OF HIM. Guys who need to Stay Up with their high level of play are Tyler Myers (3rd in Assists on the team), Derek Roy (1st in  team points, assists), Clarke MacArthur (1st in goals which is pretty big for him). I would put Ryan Miller in the “Stay Up” category but he is above up. So, because of that, players that need to stay God-like are: Ryan Miller. There we go.

That’s all I’m really going to say about that.

Beware the Ghosts of Christmas Past:

The Sabres got a little funky (cue “Cha Cha Slide”) last year going 9-3 in January and looked to be making quite a push to the playoffs. They had a mediocre February going 5-6-2 and began to slowly and steadily run out of gas. An injury to Ryan Miller seemed to be the last blow to a team clutching to the lower half of the playoff race (despite the best efforts of new goalie Mikael Tellqvist). 2008, however, was a much different story. The Sabres went into the Christmas break feeling relatively mediocre going 5-5-1 before Christmas. They came out of the Christmas break feeling, well, even less than mediocre. The went 4-9 in January and just didn’t look like any of the words that are generally associated with “good”. January and February are the months that set up the points cushion that allows the Sabres to push to the playoffs. The past two seasons, the Sabres have needed to scramble in April because of relatively poor/ mediocre January’s and February’s.

This season, leading up to the Christmas break, the Sabres look a bit better than the past years. They went 7-5-1 in November (not bad, I guess) and went 7-4-1 (pretty good) leading up to Christmas in December. The Sabres need to come out of the gate roaring in the New Year. They can’t rest on their laurels. Looking at the numbers of the past, I’m nervous that this team isn’t exactly in it for the long haul. I hope they prove me wrong.

So, Buffalo Sabres, heed this waring: Beware the Ghosts of Christmas past.

Sabres vs. Capitals: Post Game.


2 penalties when down by one goal. Craig Rivet, blatant hook. He’s the captain. Really? REALLY MAN?! And then Goose. What the hell? Could he have stuck his leg out any further trying to trip Fleischman. Just not cool, guys. You don’t do that. You can’t do that. Suddenly it’s a five on three and the Caps score. Then a five on four and Ovie comes through with a snipe.

That’s all I’m going to talk about.

Sabres vs. Capitals: Period 2


Ok. So. Period two has come to a close and the score is now 3-2 in favor of the Capitals. Overall a much, much better period by the Buffalo Sabres. Let’s talk about why:

What we’re doing well:

Shots: Our shots drastically improved this period. Roy set Gaustad up with a great pass and the Goose put it away. Steve Montador took a CLEAN shot from the point and it went in. What can I say? I know my stuff. Kinda. But seriously though. The Sabres went from having 4 shots on goal in the first to taking 20 shots on goal in the second. And what do ya know, we came out with goals. I hate to say it (not really) but I told ya so. Ok, aside from this self congratulatory crap, the Sabres have new found energy because they are getting pucks to the. If they can continue to pepper Nuevirth then they will eventually crack two, maybe three more goals.

What we need to improve:

Defense (still): The Sabres D is still struggling to shut down the high energy offense that is the Washington Capitals. Obviously with guys like Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and Greene they are going to have scoring chances but the Sabres can easily shut these guys down with some physical play and by thinking about their passes before making them. Miller was solid yet again only allowing one goal on 14 shots on a play that, quite frankly, wasn’t his fault. Granted, Morrison did pull a nifty through the legs shot (a move which isn’t exactly impossible) but Miller was pretty much hung out to dry. The number of high opportunity scoring chances that the Capitals are getting is a bit too much for my taste. The defense needs to lock it  in in the 3rd and shut ’em down. I have faith.

The third period comes down to continuing shots and finding an answer to the Caps offense. If I was Lindy, I would be pretty pissed at the lackluster, flatfooted-ness of the Sabres backcheck. We need to shut them down to guarantee a win. I really want to win in regualtion too. Make it happen boys.

See you after the game!

Go Sabres!

Sabres vs. Capitals: Period 1 Analysis


So I forgot to write a game preview today. Sue me. Well don’t, actually. That wouldn’t be very nice. To make up for this, I have decided to break down each period after said period has occurred. For the sake of time, let’s get down to business.

What we’re doing well:

Ryan Miller: Millsy has been able to stop 13 out of 15 shots. That’s not bad considering most of those chances were very high opportunity shots. Alex Semin would have at least two goals if it wasn’t for the solid play of Mr. Miller. If he can continue to stay solid, I’m sure the Sabres will be able to put one past Neuvirth.

And that’s really all that went well last period. We kicked it in to damage control after the second goal but that won’t cut it.

What we (really) need to improve:

Shots: We need to take better shots. Not more shots, but better ones. I try to pride myself on not being the guy that yells shoot during every single power play.  A low opportunity shot is likely to get blocked and those usually result in turnovers and odd man rushes back the other way. It’s not a good idea to force the perfect play. The Sabres need  to stop worrying about being fancy and just settle down and get GOOD pucks on the net. When cycling the puck they need to put it through the middle (to the guy in the slot) and try to get some shots closer in. Michael Neuvirth has played 8 career games. 8. We really need to pepper this guy with shots ON goal, not shots AT the goal. The Sabres only had 4 shots hit the net in the entire period. That’s not acceptable. Shots equal goals. It’s basic math.

Defense: The defense just needs to step it up. Plain and simple. Miller can only do so much (and much he has done). If the Sabres can settle down the game and not allow the Capitals to keep their high intensity of play, they will be fine. There is no reason we can’t dominate this team. Especially tonight on the road. If the Defense does their job, we will be fine.

This game provides an opportunity to gain an even greater lead in the Northeast over the Bruins. Only time will tell.

See you after the second period!

Go Sabres!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…


Hey there Ruffians (that’s what I’ve decided to call you fans of TRW), you may have noticed that there have been a couple changes around here.

First off, if you opened your eyes (which I really hope you did), you would notice the new look! Woo! Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the old look of the TRW but I felt a more “professional” look was in order. Who am I kidding, this blog is nothing but profession. A girl can dream though, right? I am also in process of working on a custom header for the top of the page. Stay on the lookout for a few more possible aesthetic changes around here.

Second, I am very happy to announce that we are now on Twitter! To get updates on new posts, Sabres news and the occasional laugh follow us! Follow us here: “@TheRuffWriters”! Hooray for technological integration!

Keep your eyes peeled for a more constant stream of posts over the next few weeks. I’m on Winter Break and now have more time to make wonderful analytical posts about the Sabres and possibly even the rest of the Northeast Division. Coming up later we will have a post about goalie Ryan Miller and his epic statistics.

See you later, Go Sabres!

Buffalo Bills: My Mom vs. Dan Dierdorf


Ok. Something weird today. The other Buffalo team, the lackluster Bills, are playing today against the Hatetriots… I mean Patriots. The real story of today’s game though is the fact that CBS decided to put known Bills hater Dan Dierdorf as color commentator for the game. Why is this so intriguing, you ask? Because my mother, who I get to see now that I am on winter break, hates Dan Dierdorf. With a passion. A fiery passion of intense hate. INTENSE HATE. I’ve decided to document the best quotes of my mother from the game for the first time in history.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is going to be epic.

And away we go:

Dierdorf: “The worst part of this drive is that the Bills are kicking a field goal. It’s very disappointing.”

Mom:  “Why is that a bad decision Dierdorf? Because we’re winning? Because the Bills scored? Is that why it’s bad? Because we’re winning the game?”

Now, just to let you know, my mom usually can’t stand to listen to Dierdorf and puts on everyone’s favorite duo of Kelso and Murph. Today, however, is different. We’re sticking with Dierdorf for the sake of  of The Ruff Writers. Woo hoo.

Mom: “Well, so far we won the quarter…”

A common quote seems to be:

Mom: “Get him! Get him! Get him! Oy vey…”

Dierdorf: “Buffalo is statistically the worst run defense in the league.”

Mom: “Gee thanks Dierdorf! Thanks for pointing that out!”

Upon seeing Donte Whitner swipe and hit Randy Moss’s man candy in slow mo on the long pass interference:

Mom: “He grabbed for the biggest thing on the field!”

After Pats touchdown:

Dierdorf: “Well how good was that!”

Mom (impersonating Dierdorf): “Oh! Oh! How great! The team I’m rooting for scored! How wonderful!”

Just as a side, what the hell is up with that friggin clown on that Garmin commercial?

And what’s with the dude who can’t get it up and is talking to himself in the reflection of window? Stuffs just weird man.

Temporary loss of feed of the game… Time to put on the radio…

Murph (on the radio): “Alright the touchdown, how did Randy Moss get so open?”

Step-dad: “Uh… He ran down the field?”

Mom: “And he’s playing the Bills?”

TV feed is back just in time for a commercial break…

Ok, My Step-Dad just put what looks to be half of a pine tree in the fire place… Lovely.

Step-Dad (pointing at player’s hand warmer): “Look at his fanny pack!”

Mom: “It’s a hand warmer”

Jamie (my  20 year old sister): “Why the hell would they need a fanny pack for on the field?”

Mom: “To keep their lip gloss in!”

End of the half and there is little going on. The bills are losing yadda yadda yadda.

Mom (on ensuing kick off, at player with dreads): “Get him! Pull his hair! Yank his dreads!!”

Dierdorf: “I”ll give ya two stats about Welker: 5’9, 185.”

Mom: “Why don’t ya give us your stats, Dierdorf? His mouth is the biggest thing on him…”

Mom: “Get it to T.O., what do we even have that guy for?”

David: “Blogging and that lovely T.O.’s cereal which is only $1.50 a box.”

My mom is calling for Brohm… 2 quarterbacks down, 1 to go I guess. We’re done with Fitz and Edwards, time to try out the last option?

Speak of the devil, Perry Fewell has pulled Ryan Fitzpatrick and put in Trent “Tree Stump” Edwards. Here we go again.

Mom (after seeing a Peyton Manning commercial): “Watching Trent Edwards only makes my love for Peyton Manning greater…”

Mom (seeing Trent carted off): “Oh, bye bye Trent. Go watch the Colts game and she how a real quarterback plays…”

Mom (on fourth down): “Fake the pass and go for the field goal!” She would like me to clarify that she was clearly joking, in case you couldn’t pick that up (which you probably could because, come on, you read The Ruff Writers and thus you are super awesome and better than everyone else).

Mom (directed at Dierdorf): “IT’S LEE EVANS NOT JOSH EVANS, YOU MORON. GET IT RIGHT.”

Alright, that will pretty much do it. No real excitement in this game but it was a good time with the family, as it always is. It’s games like these that make me glad to be a Sabres fan. Oh well, what can ya do.

Quote of the day:

Mom: “I’m your mother and I’m still in charge.”

Jamie: “…no matter how much you want to blog about me.”

Anywho, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Go Sabres! See you tomorrow for a game preview!

Hiatus? Yeah I hate us too. Lame.


Hey all. I’m sad to say that The Ruff Writers will be going on a brief hiatus. It’s exam week coming up so I need to put all of my focuses on my studies. Sorry everyone, gotta at least try to stay in college.

Here is the Sabre’s schedule for the next week:

Fri, Dec 11th, 2009 Chicago 07:30 PM HSBC Arena
Sat, Dec 12th, 2009 at NY_Rangers 07:00 PM Madison Square Garden
Mon, Dec 14th, 2009 at Montreal 07:30 PM Bell Centre
Wed, Dec 16th, 2009 at Ottawa 07:30 PM Scotiabank Place
Fri, Dec 18th, 2009 Toronto 07:30 PM HSBC Arena
Sat, Dec 19th, 2009 Pittsburgh 07:00 PM HSBC Arena

This is the latter portion of a 10 games in 14 days type of stretch that will make a break the Sabres. A good December could finally prove the Sabre’s as being legit contenders.We will see.

On a more positive note, after this week I will be back home in Buffalo and will have more time to devote to this here blog! Woo! Expect a post at least every other day for 5 straight weeks! Awesome?

Anyway. Go Sabres!

See you in a little over a week!

Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils


Tonight the New Jersey Devils (19-7-1) travel to Western New York to take on the Buffalo Sabres (16-8-2). The Sabres are smack dab in the middle of a 5 game home stand this being the 3rd game in said home stand. The Sabres are on a one game losing streak whereas the Devils are trying to maintain a 2 game winning streak.

The Sabres are coming off of a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers. New York’s Chris Higgins kicked off the scoring with his 3rd of the year. Ryan Callahan notched a goal midway through the 3rd period and that was all the Devils needed. With :55 seconds left, the Sabres attempted a comeback off of the hot stick (we’ll get to that later) of Jason Pominville.  Tyler Myers assisted on Pommer’s goal.

The Devils are fresh off of a Saturday shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings. Jersey allowed the Red Wings to score to straight third period goals in the 3rd period to tie the game at 4. Shootout goals came from Elias and Parise to propel the Devils to victory.

Both the Sabres and Devils are quite stingy on the defensive end. The Devils have returned to their old pal Jacques Lemaire and his trap-esque style of play. The Sabres have a more physical style of shutdown defense as opposed to the strategic style of the Devils. The Sabres are 3rd in the NHL in Goals Against per Game allowing a ridiculously low total of 2.27 goals. The team directly ahead of them (in 2nd)? The New Jersey Devils. The NJD have only allowed 2.22 goals against per game. Damn that .5! I think it’s safe to say that this will be quite the defensive tilt. You can make the comparison for yourself.

With  that, let’s get down to business, shall we?

Who’s Hot:

Buffalo

Jason Pominville: Remember the foreshadowing from earlier? Wham! I Quentin Tarantino-ed ya! How you like them apples? But seriously Pommer has been hot lately. He’s got 3 points in the last 2 games. He also scored the lone goal in the aforementioned loss to the Rangers. Hooray. That’s not all though! He also peppered the net with 7 shots in that game and the team in shots the game previous to it. Pominville currently second on the team in goals with 7 and is leading the team in shots with 75. It’s about time Jason stepped up and became a big player. We’ve only been waiting like, 3 seasons. He probably won’t score tonight but I venture he gets 2 assists. Just a guess though.

Ryan Miller: He’s all that and more. That is all.

Ok, I’ll give you more if you want. He’s (still) leading the league in save percentage with .936 and goals against with 1.85. Awesome. He’s also tied for the lead in shutouts with everyone and their brother at 3. But because Miller is pretty much the coolest thing to ever happen to the history of ever NHL.com has him listed at #1. Awesome Blossom. Extra Awesome.

New Jersey

Zach Parise: Zach P. is pretty much tearing it up right now. Like to the max. He scored one of the two Devils’ shootout goals. Parise is currently leading the team in goals with 15 and points with 31. Good things happen when Parise is on the ice. Really good things. He’s leading the league in plus-minus at +17. That’s the best in the entire NHL. Fellow linemate Travis Zajac is in the top five for the NHL at +15. That line is on a roll for sure. Finally, just to put the icing on the epic cake that is Zach Parise is one more statistic: Shots. Parise has consistently been in the upper echelon of players when it comes to shooting. Last year he was in first for most of the year and finished third behind Ovechkin (who had 528) and Eric Staal. This year he leads the league in that very category. I’m scared, to be honest with you. He’s waiting to break out one of these games.

Who’s Not

Craig Rivet: Rivet has no points in the three games since is return. He’s not really on top of his game right now. He needs to step up as captain. He can do it. I have faith.

Andy Greene: Though, Greene is not exactly an upper class player, he hasn’t been playing well as of late. He is one of those lower level players who helps support the rest of the team. Think Chris Butler but more New Jersey Devils-ish. We’ll see where he goes tonight.

Notes:

Miller gets the start tonight for Buffalo because he’s pretty much the greatest thing ever. Have I said that lately?

Marty Broduer gets the start because, well he’s Broduer.

Game is on at 7 on Versus. So if you have DirecTV like we do at Fredonia then you won’t get the game.

Go Sabres!

The Not So Preview Game Preview: Sabres vs. Rangers


Hey guys, really quick post this week as the game is about to start.

The Sabres play the second game of their five game home stand tonight against the NY Rangers. The Sabres are coming off of a 5-2 win over Montreal on Thursday night while the Rangers haven’t played since at 5-2 loss against Pittsburgh last Monday.

Buffalo is currently in the midst of a four game winning streak while the Rangers have lost 4 straight. Watch for the Sabres to try to dominate a weaker Rangers team through gritty physical play. Grier has played pretty well as of late so he should one of those gritty players. Also, as has been alluded to in the past, Miller is unstoppable. He’s playing his best hockey yet and he doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon.

The Rangers, however, not so much. They are looking to end this skid by any means possible. Look for their newest addition of Erik Christensen to try to spark some offensive help. Also, Henrik Lundqvist has really sucked as of late and it doesn’t look to get better any time soon.

Word on the street is that the Sabres are blasting “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen because no one can stop them, now. Ok, I made that up but they totally should be playing that song. Not on because the Brain May guitar solo ridiculous but because they really are playing as though they are unstoppable.

Game is on at 7:00 (right not) on MSG.

Until next time…

Go Sabres!