I interrupt my studying to bring you a few thoughts regarding some of the comments I have seen since the Sabres lost to the Bruins on Saturday. Some of these thoughts pertain to the events that transpired on Saturday, while others pertain to more prolonged issues that must be addressed. I hope that some of these will bring some perspective to my readers.
– Tyler Myers
Tonight Tyler Myers will find himself in a position that he has never before been in during his three year NHL career. Myers will be watching the Sabres game against the Canadiens from the comfort of the Bell Centre press box as a healthy scratch. His play of late has more than earned him a night in the press box, but some of the things Sabres fans are saying are nothing short of infuriating. I am never surprised at how fickle people can be, especially Sabres fans, but I am astonished with the speed at which some fans have turned on him. I have seen everything from comments saying that he is terrible, to comments suggesting that the Sabres trade him or pair him with a goon. The latter of which the Sabres [thankfully] do not have in their organization.
People need to relax and let the kid work out his issues. There are enough defense coaches and veteran players on this team to help Myers address any issues that he has. And there is, of course, always professional help if necessary. I would not be at all surprised if Myers’ struggles are related to a lack of confidence, as Alex at Black & Blue & Gold suggests. Take a step back and relax Sabres fans, Myers will work his way out of this slump eventually.
After Saturday’s embarrassing game against the Bruins, I wrote a less than stellar piece addressing the softness of the Sabres. This is a softness that permeates throughout the organization that is nothing short of embarrassing for both players and fans alike. I will address this more in my next issue, but I do believe that this is something the Sabres need to fix. I am not saying that they need to be running around the ice hitting everything that moves, as that is not smart hockey. I am merely suggesting he organization find a way to address any mental toughness issues that this team may have. Perhaps this is one of those times where having a soft-spoken captain is a hindrance to team morale. Then again, perhaps only the fans see the soft-spoken side of Jason Pominville.
– Zack Kassian
Repeat this after me Sabres fans: Zack Kassian IS NOT the answer. Does Kassian project to be a Power Forward? Yes, and he should be developed accordingly. Should he be called up to run Milan Lucic when the Bruins visit the F’N
Thunderdome Center on 11/23? Absolutely not, as Kassian is not a goon. Yes, he has had disciplinary issues at the junior level, but that do not mean that he is a goon. If you have been to a Rochester Americans game this season, then you will not argue with me when I say that Kassian is noticeably conservative in his physical game this season. It is likely that he is working on his offensive game at this point, and will leave the physical aspect for later development.
The goal is not to hit everything in sight, but to hit with intelligence. Someone in the organization has put Kassian on a leash, or so it would appear. I’ve noticed that his physical game steps up when there is a lead to protect. To me that is a sign of the potential to play an intelligent physical game. We cannot have him hitting or fighting with reckless abandon. It is that attitude that develops a player into a goon. This is real hockey and not Slap Shot. Remember this the next time the thougth crosses your mind Sabres fans; Zack Kassian IS NOT the answer and he IS NOT a goon. He may ultimately develop into the Sabres version of Milan Lucic, but he is not yet there.
Matthew Coller at WGR 550 did a wonderful job at addressing the issue of calling up Zack Kassian for his toughness.
I hope reading this will influence some Sabres fans to think twice before making inane comments, accusations, and demands. As a fanbase we should be disappointed, perhaps even a little embarrassed, at the softness displayed on Saturday. We should not, however, believe that this team is incapable of turning their mental and physical toughness around and become something better. We should also not believe that Tyler Myers will never develop into the defensemen we all yearn for him to become.
In Tylers we trust?