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Ruff says Sabres in "scary category" with youth at center

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10-02-2012, 12:36 PM
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Sabretip
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Ruff says Sabres in "scary category" with youth at center

Good ol' Lindy at it again:

Quote:
Should the lockout end, the Sabres' top two centers -- Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson -- will have a career average of 115.5 games played. That's less than 1 1/2 seasons.

The youth and inexperience at such an important position has been noted by coach Lindy Ruff.

"We’ve taken a step that has put us in a little bit of a scary category because we’re young there," Ruff said.
Sounds like a bit of an indictment from Ruff about what management has left him with - but, worse of all, is his anticipated solution:

Quote:
It sounds as if the Sabres will go "center by committee" to help their 22-year-old middle men.

"I think there’s where we have a little versatility with Ville [Leino]. We’ve got some versatility with Steve Ott in the middle of the ice," said Ruff, who was OK with giving up Derek Roy's skill in exchange for Ott's grittiness. "You can say the emergence of Tyler playing center ice probably made the move possible, with Cody looking to be right in there in a 1-2 spot and Tyler the way he played trying to get him that same type of ice time, and Ott playing on the third line or in that situation, or even playing in our top two lines as being a grittier-type winger or centerman
http://blogs.buffalonews.com/sabres/...ruff-says.html

Sounds eerily like how the Sabres have been band-aiding their chronic weakness / lack of depth at center for the past 3-4 years, using wingers reluctant/uncomfortable in a center's role (Hecht, Boyes, Leino) or depth players (Ellis, McCormick) in elevated duties to make due. Ennis and Hodgson have each talent and potential but Ruff's honest appraisal needs to be heard by Regier when the season gets underway.

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10-02-2012, 12:38 PM
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Given the circumstance I am not sure what else you can do. Put on the band-aid and see if it holds.

I imagine that Tyler and Cody will get plenty of chances at center but if it goes South Lindy is setting the precedent that he would not hesitate to use Ville/Ott to supplement.

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10-02-2012, 01:21 PM
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BackGroundMusic
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Until Grigorenko is ready, everything this team does in the center position is going to be a bandaid. They know they have their potential franchise centerman and they're going to sit and cross their fingers that he's ready sooner rather than later.

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10-02-2012, 01:22 PM
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Yeah, we're gambling a bit at center. I'm pretty sure we knew that as soon as Roy was traded and a natural center didn't come back the other way (especially after Ruff announced Ennis would be taking his minutes). IIRC, Ruff even said at the time "it's a bit of a gamble, but we liked what we saw".
Hopefully Ennis and Hodgson are ready to step up. If not, oh well...Maybe we can get a good pick out of it and regroup with them both having another year of experience (plus possible additions of Girgs and Grigs).

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10-02-2012, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretip View Post
Good ol' Lindy at it again:

Sounds like a bit of an indictment from Ruff about what management has left him with - but, worse of all, is his anticipated solution:
Sounds like ol' Lindy may not have loved the trade that was roundly cheered by 90% of the fanbase.

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10-02-2012, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zip15 View Post
Sounds like ol' Lindy may not have loved the trade that was roundly cheered by 90% of the fanbase.
Boo hoo, now he can't blow 20+ games playing an obviously too injured to produce Roy first in all situations.

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10-02-2012, 02:02 PM
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i think things will get "scary" if ville ever centers any buffalo line again.

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10-02-2012, 02:13 PM
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If the season is cancelled Girgs and Grigs will be much closer to joining the big club. I still think it could take two years to begin to really pan out but when those two can compete in the NHL at a high level and center (offensive/defensive) lines then the situation is solved.

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10-02-2012, 02:18 PM
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"Solution" and "Leino" belong nowhere near each other, stated or implied. At any point in a sentence, paragraph, or any correspondence, for that matter.

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10-02-2012, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zip15 View Post
Sounds like ol' Lindy may not have loved the trade that was roundly cheered by 90% of the fanbase.
gives me more confidence in Regier going forward and even less (is that possible) in Ruff

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10-02-2012, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wearegodawful View Post
i think things will get "scary" if ville ever centers any buffalo line again.
Honestly, this is overstated.

Leino has never played center with wingers who offset his lack of footspeed and general mediocrity in transition. Ennis-Boyes/Adam-Kassian had fundamental problems with footspeed and puck retrieval, not to mention being almost completely unable to create offense by themselves (unlike Vanek-Poms/Ennis-Stafford) and those are the things a second-man-in-the-cycle-glue-guy like Leino needs to be successful.

Ruff goofed by constantly asking Leino to be a traditional, play carrying, puckhandling center, not a guy who could play down the middle and complement a pair of existing, offensively competent wings. I think Ott-Leino-Pominville has experimental value, anyway.

Oh, and I'm also firmly of the belief that the CBA situation is and was the only reason a surplus defenseman/wing/prospect/pick for a depth center deal hasn't happened.

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10-02-2012, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zip15 View Post
Sounds like ol' Lindy may not have loved the trade that was roundly cheered by 90% of the fanbase.
Ruff said in interviews before that him and Roy had a sort of father/son relationship. Not surprising he would be upset to see him go.

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10-02-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zip15 View Post
Sounds like ol' Lindy may not have loved the trade that was roundly cheered by 90% of the fanbase.
I think its more Ruff is not happy Management didn't do anything to shore up some depth at center that can help now, more than him not liking the trade. To actually have the thought that Ruff would not like getting Ott(his type of player) for Roy who at times at a questionable effort is laughable to me. The way Ruff comes off in the article, he seems to me like he was expecting a follow up move to the Roy move, and nothing transpired.

But then again this source, though reliable, is often criticized for writing with a bias tilt to fit their needs so who knows how they wanted him to come off. Though, Vogl is the only one I can stand.

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10-02-2012, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
"Solution" and "Leino" belong nowhere near each other, stated or implied. At any point in a sentence, paragraph, or any correspondence, for that matter.
Agreed. If Leino has to play center with anyone but vanek/poms riding shotgun with him he's sunk. Too slow to be a good puck carrier, but can only make good plays with offensively talented guys, and the likes of staff/poms/vanek are gonna be starting this year/next year with Hodgson and ennis.

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10-02-2012, 04:04 PM
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Trial by fire. I find it funny that when CoHo was acquired, he was generally lauded as an up and coming center that the organization can build around, but all of a sudden now he's an inexperienced kid? Derp.

Misleading stat line with the 115 games too. They've both played much more than that in the middle. Maybe not at the NHL level, but they're played the pivot a lot more than Vogl is suggesting here.

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10-02-2012, 04:16 PM
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I said when Roy was dealt that if they didn't bring in another center, they were tossing the season. Sure, they might get lucky and everybody turns into all-stars a la 2006, but you gotta just figure you don't go into a season with, really, zero proven NHL centers except on the fourth line, and expect to do anything but squeak into the playoffs if everyone else has a good year.

Hopefully, we'll be good down the line, but prospects are called prospects for a reason.

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10-02-2012, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beechsack View Post
Trial by fire. I find it funny that when CoHo was acquired, he was generally lauded as an up and coming center that the organization can build around, but all of a sudden now he's an inexperienced kid? Derp.

Misleading stat line with the 115 games too. They've both played much more than that in the middle. Maybe not at the NHL level, but they're played the pivot a lot more than Vogl is suggesting here.
Because he is an inexperienced kid? Is this somehow up for discussion? He's a great catch for a team with no centers, but that doesn't make him anything more than a promising second year player.

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10-02-2012, 04:37 PM
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Trading Roy was a mistake unless they were willing to lose due to a lack of centres and take their lumps while G/G/E/H develop. They don't sound like they are.

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10-02-2012, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by haseoke39 View Post
Because he is an inexperienced kid? Is this somehow up for discussion? He's a great catch for a team with no centers, but that doesn't make him anything more than a promising second year player.
I'm simply pointing out the contrast in opinions.

When they got him nobody was complaining about his inexperience. The discussion was all about his upside.

Now all of a sudden nobody wants to talk about they, they just want to worry that he doesn't have any experience. You know how you get that experience?

You play.

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10-02-2012, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beechsack View Post
I'm simply pointing out the contrast in opinions.

When they got him nobody was complaining about his inexperience. The discussion was all about his upside.

Now all of a sudden nobody wants to talk about they, they just want to worry that he doesn't have any experience. You know how you get that experience?

You play.
Well, here's the contrast for you, when we got him, he wasn't coming over to immediately be our #1C. So that might explain why people have anxieties now that weren't as pressing at the trade deadline.

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10-02-2012, 05:41 PM
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Well, here's the contrast for you, when we got him, he wasn't coming over to immediately be our #1C. So that might explain why people have anxieties now that weren't as pressing at the trade deadline.
Before Roy was traded, either CoHo or Ennis were going to be the second line center. Now that Roy is gone, either CoHo or Ennis is going to be the second line center. Has that much really changed?

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10-02-2012, 05:42 PM
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I'm not really looking for the Sabres to make a big push this season(assuming they play). Get the growing pains out of the way with the young guys now and they'll be better for it in 2-3 years.

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10-02-2012, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beechsack View Post
Before Roy was traded, either CoHo or Ennis were going to be the second line center. Now that Roy is gone, either CoHo or Ennis is going to be the second line center. Has that much really changed?
Yes, considering whoever isn't the second line center now becomes the first line center. That's a major change.

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10-02-2012, 06:10 PM
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Yes, considering whoever isn't the second line center now becomes the first line center. That's a major change.
This is where I just sigh at people who get so hung up on line assignments.

Is CoHo going to be a disaster on the first line, but magically be a super productive player if he gets bumped down? Same question for Ennis?

The overarching point of this thread I agree with is that the lack of an older, experienced center is a concern. From watching them play, I fully believe that CoHo and Ennis have the talent necessary to succeed in that role.

I just don't buy into the notion that one guy getting a few more minutes of icetime, and slightly more favorable defensive matchups, is a massive dealbreaker. Others do I guess. We shall see, hopefully this year.

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10-02-2012, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beechsack View Post
This is where I just sigh at people who get so hung up on line assignments.

Is CoHo going to be a disaster on the first line, but magically be a super productive player if he gets bumped down? Same question for Ennis?

The overarching point of this thread I agree with is that the lack of an older, experienced center is a concern. From watching them play, I fully believe that CoHo and Ennis have the talent necessary to succeed in that role.

I just don't buy into the notion that one guy getting a few more minutes of icetime, and slightly more favorable defensive matchups, is a massive dealbreaker. Others do I guess. We shall see, hopefully this year.
I'm sure Coho will look good some nights; there'll be a couple nights next season where he looks like our best forward, even against the opponent's top line. But it's kind of the first law of thermodynamics (after "you don't talk about fight club") that young kids are inconsistent. Having a vet who you know, most nights, is going to create scoring opportunities against an opponent's top line is key. Coho may be able to succeed sporadically, but at his age, I don't want him to be the player we have to expect to lead our offense every night. I don't think he's prepared to be that consistent. I don't think Ennis is prepared to be that consistent, especially not at C. They both have phenomenal talent and the potential to one day be that guy. But the difference between playing a kid on your first line and playing him on your third is that, on your third, he doesn't have to be a difference maker every night.

So no, of course I'm not expecting Coho to be a worse player because he's getting more minutes and tougher assignments. I expect him to be inconsistent in both roles. I just know that inconsistency is going to hurt a lot more to watch when there's nobody ahead of him on the depth chart to take the pressure off.

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