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