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Sabres struggling to remain afloat as injuries start to mount

Ryan O’Reilly has missed two of the last three games; Dimitri Kulikov the last three, Zach Bogosian the last 6. When you continually play games without your top forward and two of your top three defensemen, you aren’t going to win many games in the National League. With one NHL caliber line being rolled out there, scoring has been paltry and consequently the Sabes aren’t winning much. It’s not all doom and gloom for me at all, it’s just that it’s hard to expect to win when half your lineup should be in the American League.

On the flip side, we do look like we have some good young talent that in a year or two will be ready to make an impact in the NHL. Baptiste, Bailey, Carrier, Falk, Schneider, Grant and Nelson all look good, just raw and inexperienced in the NHL game.

The silver lining in this is that they are getting good experience now as youngsters which will only help the team in the future. I don’t think anyone thought that this would be our year, but I think a lot of us thought we had a chance to compete for a playoff spot; and I think we still do. The team’s overall health will improve and it is still only early November. We just have to make sure that we don’t go into a tailspin now and fall too far off the pace to be able to catch up.

Unfortunately, we have a kinda tough stretch coming up where points in the standings do not look to be easily attained. The next six games are as follows:

  • November 15 – @ St. Louis
  • November 17- vs. Tampa Bay
  • November 19- vs. Pittsburgh
  • November 21- vs. Calgary
  • November 23- vs. Detroit
  • November 25- @ Washington

The only positive I can see in this is 4 games at home and Calgary…uggh, that’s not much. I know the standings don’t really matter much at this point, but all of those teams except for the Flames have more points than us (at 14). However, three of those teams only have 17 and the Caps have 19. The dumb Penguins have 22 but they have Sidney Crosby, the greatest hockey player of our generation (gag me) so what should you expect.

Want to know how big of a joke the NHL is? Besides all of the home-barn calls that go against us, even in our home barn… Other than the ridiculous schedule they punished us with last year because of our undignified, non-league approved tank (as opposed to Toronto’s dignified, league-approved tank)… Aside from their attempts to eliminate fighting…

How are you going to market your young stars if you don’t have them on TV?

Last week, Conor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers took on Toronto and Auston Matthews (in Toronto). THE two top young stars of the league were featured in what should have been a prime-time national TV matchup. Was it on TV in Buffalo? Was it on anywhere besides Toronto and Edmonton? Nope. NBC Sports had bull riding and the NHL network (why does that even exist?) had their studio show updating games in progress and showing meager highlights. Paul Hamilton says the reasoning for this is that the NHL only nationally broadcasts games on NBC Sports when the larger media markets or their so-called “rivalry” games are on the schedule. While this may be true, it is not a good reason. How are you going to market your young stars if you don’t have them on TV? Even the NFL puts the Bills on Monday night football and Thursday night football to give us some national exposure. You think anyone would be talking the next day about that bogus hack job by the refs last Monday night if it weren’t a national game? I don’t think so.

National eyes matter and the NHL just completely doesn’t get it.

National eyes matter and the NHL just completely doesn’t get it. Paul Hamilton also says that he does not believe that there is a conspiracy in the NHL’s draft procedures by citing that if there were, McDavid would never have been allowed to go to Edmonton. I think this is mostly true and agree with most of what Paul Hamilton has to say. The thing that still irks me though is the league wide and Canadian media’s (US media doesn’t care about hockey) reaction to the Sabres tank vis a vis the Leafs’ tank. It’s just so annoying. Fortunately, the Leafs don’t look that great at 15 points and after Matthew’s ridiculous 4 goal start, he has come back to earth, with 6 goals and 6 assists in 15 games – nice stats for a rookie, but not the next Wayne Gretzky over here.

Tonight we are in St. Louis to take on the Blues. Kulikov won’t make the trip, O’Reilly will. Let’s hope he plays and leads the forecheck and power play to a win. We need to find goals from somewhere and we need him in the lineup to create them. I am also interested to see how Carrier does on the top line as he looks for his first NHL goal.

Go Sabres!

Sabres vs. Blues, Tuesday, November 15, 8:00 PM Eastern, MSG+, WGR 550

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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