With eight games remaining the Sabres hold a three point lead over the eighth and final playoff spot. It’s really not that complicated at this point… win the games you NEED to win and your golf clubs can stay in the closet a little longer. Carolina is on the outside looking in and they have the same number of games remaining as Buffalo. Buffalo don’t look at what Carolina is doing, it doesn’t matter! All you need to worry about is winning your games. YOU CONTROL YOUR POST SEASON DESTINY. It’s that simple.
With that being said. It’s our jobs as fans and journalists to worry about the stuff outside of the Sabres control (and people in Buffalo do that so well). Looking at both teams remaining schedule, Buffalo has a clear advantage with the easier opponeants. The next eight games the Sabres will play New Jersey on Saturday at home, and since the Devils have returned back from their unreal winning dream, have been 5-4-1 in their last ten. Then we take on the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Capitals before a big meeting with the ‘Canes in Raleigh. That’s not horrible. Then they finish with Tampa Bay, Philly and Columbus. I know right now that might not seem so easy and you may be asking how in the world can I say we have an advantage. Stay with me…
The Hurricans on the other hand have the Lightnight twice along with the Capitals, Habs, the Islanders, the already mentioned Sabres, the Red Wings and Thrashers. I like Buffalo’s schedule more. I wouldn’t want to play Lighting twice along with Washington, Montreal and Red Wings who are all battling close for playoff seeding.
The Sabres can be a dangerous and it’s no secret why… Ryan Miller. We’ve all seen it, every once in a while Miller goes unconcoius and just decided to not allow any goals. People have seemed to forget about him just because he wasn’t an All-Star this year (and as much as I loved the new format I think the NHL wanted to get new faces to the fans this year). He’s played 62 games (which seems fake) and he still has 32 wins, with a 2.62 GAA. Those numbers are even more impressive when you think at times his defense has look liked it couldn’t stop a pee wee hockey team. Ryan Miller can single handedly get hot and stop everything from pucks, traffic, and evil villians for two weeks and carry the Sabres to a deep play off run. He’s still the defending Vezina Trophy winner until someone takes it from him. Oh yeah and he’s played in some pretty big games before… and I don’t think whoever gets the number one seed in the east is better than team Canada… just saying watch out.
Hey Sabres… Keep your blinders on and take care of your business and you’ll be playing in mid-April.
Terry Pegula made this city a promise when he purchased the Buffalo Sabres. He said that the team would exist to win Stanley Cups, NOT to make a profit, a welcoming change from the Golisano regime. The first move was to waive Captain Benchwarmer, Craig Rivet, later claimed by Columbus. The second move and most interesting was to offload a second round draft pick to St. Louis for forward Brad Boyes. Boyes is listed at two different positions depending on the site you use. ESPN has him listed as a center, but Yahoo! has him listed as a right winger. For Buffalo’s purposes, he will be used as a winger.
A few fun facts about Brad Boyes for you to snack on:
-The Sabres are Boyes’ 5th team, with previous stints in St Louis, Boston and San Jose after being drafted by Toronto.
-He had a career best 43 goals back in 2007-08 with the Blues, and had 33 goals in 2008-09. However, his production has since dwindled and he only amassed 14 goals and 42 points in 2009-10, and prior to coming to the 716 had netted only 12 goals.
-He was born in Mississauga, Ontario.
-He played with Steve Montador and Tim Connolly on the Erie Otters of the OHL.
-He grew up as an Ottawa Senators fan (according to a Canoe.ca interview from 2008).
-He was previously involved in a trade with the Sabres dealing with Jeff Jilson, Curtis Brown and Andy Delmore.
Game 1 of the Post-Terry-Pegula Trade Deadline was against the New York Rangers to start a 7 game road trip, the longest of the season. He was to the right of Tim Connolly and Tyler Ennis, a pretty good move on Lindy Ruff’s part because Boyes and Connolly played together in Erie a long time ago. In the middle of the second period, at the 13 minute mark, on his first shot, on a powerplay, he scored on what ESPN.com called “a pretty feed from Paul Gaustad.” (At this point on Twitter, @FakeDarcy was going insane because he actually thought he did something productive). And in hallway I was in, the cheers were abundant. It was pandemonium…which quickly left because they gave up another goal 45 seconds later; but order was restored and the Sabres walked out of MSG with a 3-2 victory.
Last night, the Sabres skated into Carolina looking to tie the Hurricanes for 8th in the conference. After a shot from the point from Andrej Sekera hit goaltender Cam Ward, Boyes picked up the rebound and knocked it in giving the boys in blue a 2-1 lead…one which they would relinquish less than 2 minutes later, and eventually the game was lost a mere 26 seconds into OT. The loss leaves Buffalo 2 points out of 8th place, thanks to the Minnesota Wild defeating the Rangers.
All is not lost in the world, Sabres fans. Being 1-0-1 with 3 points is a good start to this road trip. If Miller can learn to stay in the crease, we’ll all be better. And if Mr. Boyes continues his goal a game click, he’ll hit 33 goals. I’d take a goal a game for a second round pick any day of the week. And the best part is that he’s signed for another year at a modest $4 million. It’s not a 17 game rental!
It’s a move for the long term. Congrats Darcy on FINALLY breaking the cycle.