Archive | February 2010

Olympic Update: Where are they now? Buffalo Sabres and the Medal Round

The Sabres have a total of 6 team members involved in the Olympics, 5 of which are players. Let’s take a look at who is/ was playing and how well they played.

The Official Logo of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. Gotta love it.

Ok, that was a bit near sighted of me. Of all the Olympic players on the Sabres roster, only one is actually doing anything of note and it’s Ryan Miller. But still, we can still analyze everyone just for ghits and shiggles. Brace yourself it’s gonna be a long one…

Jochen Hecht – Germany – Hailing from Manheim, Germany is Sabres the Sabres third line center, Jochen Hecht. When you look at the German roster, it isn’t exactly hard to see why they have already been eliminated. Hecht is one of only 6 NHL players on the roster with others including Marco Sturm, Christian Ehrhoff and Marcel Goc. Hecht is one of the more notable players in this bunch. When Jochen Hecht is one of you most notable players, that should be a clue that you have a problem. They do have a sufficient number of guys named Sven (okay so they only have two, but that is two more than the US has) and even a guy from Kazakhstan.

With his 1 assist through three games, Hecht was actually one of the more productive Germans. The only players to amass more than point for the Germans were the Marcels: Marcel Goc (3) and Marcel Muller (2). Hecht was one of a handful of guys to pick up an assist. Another strong point for (chockin’) Jochen was his time on the ice. He was fourth among German players with  71:04 minutes. Way to be Jochen. Sorry you play for such a mediocre hockey country but at least you got to do that whole pride thing. Better luck next time?

Andrej Sekera – Slovakia – Don’t expect this to be the last time you Sekera donning the Slovakian national crest at the Olympics. Andrej is only 25 years old, making him the youngest player on the Slovakian roster. The Slovakian roster itself is actually pretty strong. It’s got a couple guys with the last name Hossa, a couple guys named Andrej, some Gaborik fellow and even Ziggy Palffy! Yeah! You heard right. Ziggy Palffy (insert overused joke about how he is so old he probably played in the original Olympics here). With their defeat over Norway yesterday, Slovakia is still alive in the gold medal rounds. None of that is really thanks to Sekera, though.

Trough four games so far Sekera has… well… nothing. No goals, no points, no assists, no cute female figure skaters. Nothin’. But that’s alright. He’s still young yet and has plenty of time to develop on an international level. Not to mention he plays defense and Slovakia is a very offensive minded team. They aren’t all about getting points from the back. Zdeno Chara only has 1 point himself. So, chin up Rejjie! Unlike Jochen, for you there will actually be a next time!

Toni Lydman – Finland – Lahti, Finland’sown Toni Lydman is more of a role player than anything on this year’s Finnish roster. Surrounded by the likes of both Koivu’s, Olli Jokinen and Teemu Selanne and offense and Joni Pitkanen, Sami Salo and Kimmo Timmonen on defense, it is tough to see exactly how Lydman found his way on to this roster. Yes, he is playing better this season than last but he isn’t exactly star caliber. That’s not to say that Janne Niskala who plays for Frolunda in the Swedish Elite league is but you get what I mean. Lydman has become a pretty forgettable player for the Sabres so I’m kind of surprised that Finland didn’t forget about him too.

There is one that sets Niskala and Lydman apart and it’s not just that one plays in the Swedish Elites and the other in the NHL. Contrary to Lydman, Niskala has actually done something this tournament. So have Kimmo Timmonen, Joni Pitkanen, Sami Lepisto, Sami Salo and Lasse Kukkonen. They have all gotten on the score sheet. The names I just listed make up the entire Finnish defense sans the name of one person: Toni Lydman. Of all the players on the Finnish defense, Lydman has yet to score, assist or even pick up a penalty minute. If he wants to help Finland succeed (tonight against the Czech), he needs to get involved more than he already is. Lydman is getting old and this may be his last shot relevance when it comes to playing hockey on a large scale.

Henrik Tallinder – Sweden – Unlike the rest of the players on the Sabres (that aren’t named Miller), Hank actually plays for a team that not only has a chance but is actually favored by some to win. With only 3 non-NHL players and (what seems like) half of the entire Detroit Red Wings, Sweden seems poised to do some work in the medal rounds. Sweden has an interesting mix up of young stars and seasoned veterans this year and that has made for quite an entertaining tournament so far. On one hand you have Daniel Alfredson who isn’t exactly getting any younger playing on the same roster as the Sedin Twins. In my mind, that is pretty awesome.

Tallinder falls closer to the spectrum of older players for this team. He isn’t as old as, say, Nicklas Lidstrom but he isn’t exactly Tobias Enstrom either. He’s on the verge of being on his way out. Like Lydman, Tallinder also hasn’t done much this tournament. Unlike, Lydman, however he can afford to not do much. With guys like Matthias Ohlund and Johnny Oduya picking up the slack, Tallinder can focus more on playing his game and not try to force it on the international stage. He’s also one of eight defenseman which is just ridiculous in my mind. So, Hank, I guess just have some fun, play some hockey and work your charm down in the Olympic Village. I know you’ve got it in ya.

Finally, we finish with the one and only. The Man, The Myth, The Miller. Who else was I going to finish with? I couldn’t honestly finish with a guy like (no offense) Lydman when I had the Miller card up my sleeve. Alright, enough babbel, I’ll get on with it.

Ryan Miller – United States of America – I read that in slow motion as I typed it. Just a heads up. Hailing from East Lansing, Michigan, the Sabres’s own Ryan Miller has been the talk of the Olympic hockey thus far. And he should be. Don’t get me wrong, Bryan Rafalski posting four points along with the monster games Ryan Malone has been playing are both good stories. Team USA has come out of nowhere and taken the tournament by storm. And why is that? Well let me quote myself:

While a good majority of the league’s goalies are resting, Miller will be working his ass off for a young, “Dark Horse” team that will need as much defense as it can get. He should be fine with that though, Team USA seems to be exactly what the Sabres are, young and Dark Horse-y (?).

Team USA is just a microcosm of the Sabres. It’s just a group of unproven, hardworking guys all rallying around getting the job done. If this were three years ago, the media would be clamoring to find a way to connect Patrick Kane’s work ethic to the fact hat Buffalo is a blue collar city.

Back to Miller. Ryan Miller is the heart and soul of this team and everyone knows it. Ron Wilson knew it ahead of time and that’s why he gave Miller every single start. There is no way this team would be where it is if it weren’t for Miller.

I’m about to smack you with some stats, you ready? Miller’s current goals against average is 1.67. Aside from a few goaltenders who have played odd time increments, that is one of the best in the tournament. Miller has saved 66 out of the 71 shots thrown his way. 71 shots in only three games. That’s pretty big. Jonas Hiller is the only other goalie I can see who has faced a similar number and he has played four games two of which have gone in to overtime. That’s almost like cheating.

But seriously, if Miller keeps playing well, Team USA can and will win gold. Canada and Russia (depending on who wins today) will both throw everything they’ve got but Miller can roll with the punches. If it is Canada then we will not only have to worry about skill but also vengeance. Team USA practically humiliated Canada at its own game on its own soil and it was mostly thanks to the man, the myth, the Miller.

Team USA plays against Jonas Hiller and the Swiss at 3 PM. Who knows what channel it is on because god forbid NBC give a damn about the sport that it owns the rights to. Oh well, that’s an argument for another day.

Until next time…



The Olympics? More like International Goalie Showcase! And Other Random Notes on the Olympics…

But seriously, between Ryan Miller (USA), Jonas Hiller (SUI) and the Canadian goalie controversy these Olympics have been all about the goalies.

I’m currently watching the Swiss play Belarus and can’t help notice how important the goalies really are. Hiller gave up a meaty rebound and the Belorussians were on top of  it faster than Jeremy Roenick when he sees a TV camera.

As it stands right now, the USA plays whoever wins this game between Belarus and Switzerland. For the sake of ease, I hope Belarus wins. Team USA is much better off having to play against Belarus’ mediocre defense than a team like the Swiss who have Jonas Hiller.

Not that it really matters though.  Because we have on thing that no other team has: The Man, The Myth, The Miller. Go ahead Canada, you can have your Marty Broduer and Roberto Luongo.  But Andy, Why don’t you want Roberto Luongo? Isn’t he the man? Well, yeah. He’s good but not for Team USA. Miller is the perfect goalie for Team USA. He can handle a heavy workload and can carry a team, even if they are full of unproven youngsters. Plus, Miller can do all this.

Y! Sports did a whole post about the goalie controversy in Canada now that Robby Luongo is taking the reigns. You should read it. Now. NOW.

But alas, I’m watching the end of the Belarus game and its time for the shootout so I will see all you TRW fans around Thursday/ Friday for the Weekly Rewind Re-find.

Go USA tomorrow!

Until next time…

TRW’s Weekly Rewind Re-find: We suck.

Hey there, Hi There, Ho There! Why the overzealousness, you ask? Because it’s Thursday! And being in college, Thursday marks the start of my weekend. So thus I have decided to provide you, the loving fans, with what I shall call (cue introductory music) TRW’s Weekly Rewind Re-find. I named it such because I’m going to rewind the events of the past week and re-find some articles from other blogs/ media outlets that help pull together the thoughts of the week. See what I did there. I’m clever. I’m gonna rewind and re-find. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.

Seven years of college down the drain.

That will be part one. In part two I will provide so much foreshadowing it would make Quentin Tarantino cry. To translate that to english, Ima look forward to the events of the weekend.

Away we go…

So, what the hell happened this week? Well, we lost. A lot. And it sucked. A lot. The Sabres decided to lose to Carolina on Friday, Columbus on Saturday and then Boston on Tuesday. Not cool, man. Not cool at all. We’ve now lost 5 games in a row and have only won 2 of our last 11. Awesome. Ottawa has official caught us in the race for the Northeast but luckily we have 2 games at hand. With only two games left before the Olympic break, something needs to be done.

Other notable things that happened were: Tyler Myers took a puck to his gargantuan neck, Adam Mair attempted to do something with his life and fought Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille decided to show up for the first time all year, Drew Stafford scored some goals and we got shutout by a team that just fired their head coach. What a great week.

That’s the week in rewind for ya. Now let’s re-find some stuff.

  • Over at the Willful Caboose, Katebits had a very simlar reaction to the Bruins game as myself. And by very similar I mean that she wrote some letters, just like me. As always, teh giggles ensued. [The Willful Caboose]
  • My favorite Sabres writer for the Buffalo News, Mike Harrington, snagged a great interview with the man, the myth, the Miller and chatted him up about the Olympics and the slump. Funny to hear him open with saying the Colts lost. Always a great interview. [Sabres Edge]
  • Honk If You Love Justice asked it’s fans what the best hockey movie of all time was. Not surprised that it was Slapshot with Miracle in a close second. I wonder if this little guy had anything to do with it… [HIYLJ]
  • Tamara from The Coldfallo Train was… er… unlucky enough to travel to Columbus to see the Sabres travesty Game. Seems like quite the trip. [The Coldfallo Train]
  • Finally, a killer read (as always) by guys over at Die By the Blade about what the Sabres need to do at the trade deadline. I refuse to pick up Owen Nolan unless every goal he scores is this. Other interesting names include Buffalo’s own Lee Stempniak, Steve Ott and even Fernando Pisani. You must read it. Now. [DBTB]

There ya go. Those are some good reads for ya.

Now, we look foward to the weekend. What do we have this weekend?

Tonight the Sabres faceoff against the Carolina Hurricanes for the second time in seven days. Saturday the San Jose Sharks travel to Buffalo as the Sabres try to avenge their loss from three weeks ago. Both games are on at 7:00.

We have to come out of this weekend with 4 points. That means two wins (for those who aren’t so good with math). A win against the ‘Canes shouldn’t be too hard despite their recent surge but I’m more worried about the Sharks. We need to get back on track before the Olympic break (which is a whole other bag of tricks) and this weekend will decide that.

Weekend Poll: This weekend’s poll deals with where the Sabres need the most help from trades. Vote away!

Song of the Weekend: As some of you may know, I’m really really really really really into music. If I ever find a girl that can tell me who her favorite player in NHL 94 is AND what her favorite guitar is, I will marry her. On the spot. So thus, I bring you the song of the weekend. Sometimes I will connect this song to the Sabres and sometimes it will just be a good song that has been on mind. This week’s deals with the latter. I’ve had this song stuck in my head for like two weeks. This week’s song is:

Some Postman by The Presidents of the United States of America. An all around catchy song that totally gets ya grooving, this song has been in my head for what seems like forever. I love. And you should too. Have a listen:

I love this band. So 90s.

Have a great weekend guys, I’ll be back soon.

Go Sabres!

Until next time…

Get Well Soon Mike Robitaille!

The Ruff Writers would like to wish Sabres commentator Mike Robitaille a speedy recovery from surgery on his back.

Robitaille suffered a severe back injury after being rear-ended in his car and is listed at Millard Fillmore Gates as in serious but stable condition. Robitaille will hopefully return to the booth after the Olympic break. Read Yahoo! Sports’ story about Robitaille here for further details.

[Source, AP]

See you later for the first ever Ruff Writers week rewind!

Letter to the Sabres.

Dear Sabres,

Stop trying to force the play. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be in the net. Thanks.



(Kinda) Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins

Tonight, the Boston Bruins (24-22-11) faceoff against the Buffalo Sabres (32-18-7) in Buffalo. The Bruins currently lead the season series 2-1.

Alright, listen up kids because I’m only going to say this once. Today’s game preview will be a little shorter than the usual because… well… because I said so.

Let’s get down to business.

The Bruins last game 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens.  Marco Sturm potted two goals with Patrice Bergeron getting the primary helper on both goals. Tukka Rask got the shutout as Timmy Thomas has been on a decline as of late. Like a big decline. Like trade rumors decline.

The Sabres last game was a 4-0 loss to the… ahem… Columbus Blue Jackets. Yes, the same Columbus Blue Jackets that just fired their head coach. You don’t want to talk about it. The Sabres don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it. ‘Nuff said.

I’m trying to muster up the energy necessary to put together a well done game preview but I just can’t today. I’ve got too many distractions. Between studying, Facebook and talking to my roommate about the escapades of Syd Barrett it’s too difficult to post a good one today. Also, I’ve only been able to watch like one game in the past week and a half so it is difficult to decide who is hot and who isn’t. Stats can only do so much, ya know?

However, despite this bad news I do have some good news. This Thursday I am going to start a new series of posts that will be a week rewind and a weekend preview. I have yet to find a clever name for it yet but I’m sure I’ll think of one.

Back to the game preview. What do we need to do tonight? Win. Seriously. That’s what we gotta do. Shoot. Stop making the pretty play. Just shoot. Pass to the open man. Shoot the puck. At the net. DON”T LOSE. That’s what we need to do.

Alright. Game starts at 7:00 on MSG. It’s Tuska Rask vs. the man, the myth, the Ryan Miller tonight in goal.

See you either tomorrow or Thursday. Go Sabres!

Until next time…

I’m Back, What did I miss?

…wait. What? Seriously? The Sabres lost to the Senators? I thought the Senators blow… No? They don’t blow? They’re on an 11 game winning streak? Brain Elliot has won 9 straight and set a team record… Who let that happen?!

And Dion Phaneuf got traded to the Leafs from the Flames? Along with J.S. Giguere from the Ducks? No, you’re messing with me. Stop it. Seriously. Alright this needs to stop. There is no way that the Atlanta Thrashers would trade Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils along with Anssi Salmela in exchange for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors and Patrice Cormier (the controversial captain of the Team Canada Jr., ya know, the one that one the SILVER medal at the WJHC). There is no way all of that happened.

There’s more? Aren’t you done yet? So on top of all that, Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust were traded from the Flames to the Rangers in exchange for Chris Higgins (Sir!) and some guy named Kotalik? Heh, that’s funny. Both Kotalik and Jokinen were dealt at last year’s deadline. Trade a guy who’s become pretty much a journeyman for a guy who always should have been one. That’s killing two birds with one stone! Wait, you’re still not done? Ken Hitchcock was fired from the Columbus Blue Jackets as head coach (4 months too late)? Wow. I did miss a lot.

All that and Ovechkin did this? With one hand?!

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit covering hockey…

So listen. I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long. It’s been a tough week here at school. I’ve been dealing with trying to get back into my groove. What with my classes, my singing group and trying to have a good time there isn’t much room for hockey. God, it kills me to say that. It’s tough to follow the Sabres here at school but I’m going to do my best. I hate to admit it but I haven’t been able to watch a full game in nearly a week. That changes tonight. I’ll be traveling to Albany tomorrow for an a Capella invitational (don’t judge me) so I most likely won’t be going out tonight. That means that It will just be me and the Sabres (and hopefully some pizza). Awesome.

But seriously, the Sabres need to get back on track. I’m not too upset about a two game losing streak but the fact that we lost every game on the west coast aside from the game against Phoenix is very disheartening. We need to kick it into high gear for the next five games prior to the Olympic break. If the Sabres want to show everyone that they are legit, they need to play like it. Because if they play really strong and then don’t follow through, then what are they really? Well… They would be the Colorado Avalanche but that’s a different story.

I just hope that now that I’m back the Sabres will start to play well again. I miss those days. Ok, so “those days” were like last week. But still.

That’s all for now. I might hit you up with a game preview later (time permitting).

Until next time…

Go Sabres!