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Rebound by Miller among 6 questions

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Old
08-03-2012, 09:55 AM
  #1
Sabretip
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Rebound by Miller among 6 questions

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In back-to-back seasons, the Buffalo Sabres have gotten off to a bad start. They were able to overcome it in 2010-11 and make the playoffs but came up three points short last season.

Buffalo has made the playoffs twice in the past five seasons and hasn't gotten past the first round since 2007, when the Sabres lost in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row.

Here are six questions the Sabres face entering the 2012-13 season
Quote:
1. Can Ryan Miller return to the form he showed in 2009-10, when he was the best goaltender in the world?
Quote:
2. Will either (or both) of this year's first-round picks make the team?
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3. Can Cody Hodgson be the No. 1 center?
Quote:
4. Which Ville Leino will the Sabres see this season -- the 2010 playoff star who earned a six-year, big-money deal from the Sabres, or the one who never got it going in his first season in Buffalo?
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5. Who will be the odd man/men out on defense?
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6. Will the Sabres' makeover into a "tough" team work?
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=638961

Questions 1-5 are all valid but the final one is the one I'm most curious (and skeptical) about. The Sabres certainly addressed the worries that came from the Lucic incident but I'm not sure that it will translate into points in the standings.

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08-03-2012, 10:00 AM
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WhoIsJimBob
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#1 is the most important if this team is to compete for the division and go deep in the playoffs.

#2 is a question the other way for me. If either guy makes the team, that is likely because the Sabres are rushing them and not because they are ready, IMO.

#3 should be expanded to say can Hodgson & Ennis combine to give the Sabres two legit top 6 centers. For me, that is the 2nd biggest question behind #1.

#4 is a non-question for me because Leino is my new whipping boy and I can't wait until he's an ex-Sabre.

#5 is interesting. But, I think that it's pretty cut and dried unless McNabb looks so good that they can't send him down and Weber ends up being the odd guy out.

#6 is also interesting and it is probably #3 for me behind the Miller & Ennis/CoHo question. The only issue I see is a lack of grit and size up the middle right now.

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08-03-2012, 10:06 AM
  #3
Jame
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#1 - The real question is whether the team can play well enough around him to make him look special again. The don't have much when it comes to defensive chops among the forwards. And the defense has question marks in their own zone after Sekera/Regehr.

#2 - We'll see

#3 - He has to be if the team has any shot at the playoffs

#4 - probably someone in between

#5 - McNabb starts in Rochester. Pardy hits waivers if someone isnt traded.

#6 - They will be tough-er... still not tough enough

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08-03-2012, 10:23 AM
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#1 - I don't think Miller is the best goalie in the world, so no, but that doesn't mean the team can't limit opportunities and make him look as good as he did in '10.

#2 - Depends on the lockout. If we lose more than 10-15 games, I think Grigs goes to Quebec for the year, and that's probably for the best. Girgs I could see in Buffalo in a third line role to fill in for an injured player though.

#3 - No. Hodgson and Ennis are good players with promise and upside, but as of now they're both flawed. I think we have 2 centers very close in value/ability with no true #1.

#4 - Man, f%#& that guy.

#5 - Sekera or Leopold get traded. Just a hunch. If not, Pardy goes for sure, then Weber. I don't think it'll matter though. There's always injuries on the blue line. Depth is a good thing.

#6 - There's still no one who can play AND whip someone's ass in a fight. We're tougher, but not scary.

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08-03-2012, 10:37 AM
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#1 - he has to be good enough during the regular season, but his playoff form will be the key for going further than 1st round. of course he has the potential to be dominant

#2 - would be fun to see one, but i don't count on it (and i think regier should not count on it as well. 3C *cough*....)

#3 - as jimbob said: ennis is as important and equally "nr .1 C" right now, even if he is a totally different player

#4 - we have to get in a position where he can show why we bought him (very expensively) -> that means playoffs

#5 - McNabb (AHL, 1st callup), pardy/brennan (AHL, 2nd callup?) something that bothers me a little is that I don't doubt pardy would clear waivers, but I'm not sure he would clear re-entry waivers. it would suck to carry half his caphit around.

#6 - maybe enough for regular season, but against a team like the '10 bruins or '11 kings ..... but the direction is the sabres are going in terms of physicality is the right one ...

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08-03-2012, 10:46 AM
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1 - Miller was back in top form the last three months so I'm not worried about him at all.

2 - Whether any rookies make the team is about what's best for them but probably won't affect team success to much (unless Grigs blows up, but I doubt it).

3 - Hodgson could be a #1 C, but for now I just hope he can play solid defense and hit 60 pts. That alone would be a boost from last season. For Buffalo to be a Cup contender he'll need to be a 70-80 pts guy and be reliable in all situations.

4 - Leino can't be any worse than last season so he should only help, but team success and Cup contention won't hinge on his play.

5 - Pardy should be the odd man out.

6 - Ott helps, but Foligno already (and more effectively IMO) will make them tougher. I like the potential of three lines with aggresiveness on them, but I think/hope the defense gets tougher while replacing UFAs next summer (McNabb, a UFA).

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08-03-2012, 11:04 AM
  #7
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Does Pardy make it through waivers early in the year?

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08-03-2012, 11:10 AM
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1. He could get close. It's hard to maintain that quality of play without a team built to support the goaltender. Buffalo isn't. Some goalies can do it regardless (Hasek), but I don't consider Miller in that league. But Buffalo's collapsing, passive defensive style allows Miller to see lots of easy shots... if the defense is playing well.

2. I'd say no to both, but I wouldn't bet anything on any answer.

3. I think he can be. I'm highly interested in how his skating is coming out of Camp Roberts. Besides that, his instincts and passing/puckhandling point to someone capable of handling the job.

4. I say Leino disappoints again. He's a supporting player whose play is determined by his linemates.

5. I think McNabb starts in Rochester, and I think that's good. He'll come up for injuries. If Leopold is traded at the deadline, he should come up for good.

6. They'll be tougher but won't be the Bruins. I don't think they need to be as tough as the Bruins, though. They need to be tough enough to be able to fight through tougher teams. The Sabres of the late 1990's weren't overly "tough" in terms of size and hitting, but they played with an edge and could skate through a lot of physical play - watch Buffalo play Philly in the playoffs for proof of that.

The "toughness" injection will be enough when Girgensons, Grigorenko, Armia, and McNabb are regulars. Girgensons and McNabb initiate physical play, and I think Grigorenko and Armia can play effectively through physical play.

Same theme- wait till 2014!

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08-03-2012, 11:59 AM
  #9
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1. Can Ryan Miller return to the form he showed in 2009-10, when he was the best goaltender in the world?

Honestly, I can't see it - but a solid defensive group in front of him could provide the same result with a slightly lesser Ryan Miller.

Quote:
2. Will either (or both) of this year's first-round picks make the team?

Grigorenko has an outside chance, but may not stick for the whole year. Girgensons will play this year in the AHL.

Quote:
3. Can Cody Hodgson be the No. 1 center?

No, Cody is not quite ready yet. This is still an issue Buffalo needs to address. Hodgson could likely serve as a #1a/b, however with nobody to mirror him, the lack of support could be disasterous.

Quote:
4. Which Ville Leino will the Sabres see this season -- the 2010 playoff star who earned a six-year, big-money deal from the Sabres, or the one who never got it going in his first season in Buffalo?

My prediction is a 15-20G Leino who spends a good chunk of time on the PK. A lot like Hecht 2yrs ago. Haters are still gonna hate, but I would be happy with that out of Ville.

Quote:
5. Who will be the odd man/men out on defense?

Adam Pardy will not figure into the plans for this year in Buffalo. McNabb will get his shot at either the first injury, or when Leopold is dealt. Weber`s road may also have come to an end in the Queens city.`

Myers-Sekera
Ehrhoff-Sulzer
Regehr-Leopold
X. McNabb, Brennan, Weber
XX. Pardy


Quote:
6. Will the Sabres' makeover into a "tough" team work?

It will certainly help when dealing with the Boston`s and the Philly`s of the league. However guys like Scott are not gonna see a lot of time.

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08-03-2012, 04:09 PM
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6. Will the Sabres' makeover into a "tough" team work?

This question is not a good one at all, he should have stopped at 5. The Sabres did not make their team into a tough team, they just got tougher. The hope is that they might now be looked at as a team that you can't bully as much.

The question should be, "Will the added toughness make the team better?"

Because a team that isn't tucking their junk in between periods is a team with better moral and confidence. My theory that toughness prevents injuries is maybe a little radical and I can't back it up with numbers, but that's still something I believe in. Tough teams have stars that don't get cheap shotted as much. So IN THEORY guys like Ennis and Vanek will be more productive because they wont be playing through injuries or rehabbing something all season.

We shall see...

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08-03-2012, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play4Miracles View Post
This question is not a good one at all, he should have stopped at 5. The Sabres did not make their team into a tough team, they just got tougher. The hope is that they might now be looked at as a team that you can't bully as much.

The question should be, "Will the added toughness make the team better?"

Because a team that isn't tucking their junk in between periods is a team with better moral and confidence. My theory that toughness prevents injuries is maybe a little radical and I can't back it up with numbers, but that's still something I believe in. Tough teams have stars that don't get cheap shotted as much. So IN THEORY guys like Ennis and Vanek will be more productive because they wont be playing through injuries or rehabbing something all season.

We shall see...
Agreed, generally. Should have worded the sixth question differently. We are not a tough team yet.

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08-03-2012, 04:30 PM
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Play4Miracles*
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Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
Agreed, generally. Should have worded the sixth question differently. We are not a tough team yet.
It's like giving a kitten an eyepatch as of right now.



MEOARGHH!!!

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08-03-2012, 07:59 PM
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Sabretip
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[QUOTE=Jim Bob;53246693#2 is a question the other way for me. If either guy makes the team, that is likely because the Sabres are rushing them and not because they are ready, IMO.[/QUOTE]

Exelent point - I feel the same way. If they're forced to rely on either to shine as rookies like Myers did with no pro experience, it only underscores Regier's inability to pull off a trade or signing of a center.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jame;53246809#5 - McNabb starts in Rochester. [B
Pardy hits w[/B]aivers if someone isnt traded.
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Originally Posted by Sabresfansince1980 View Post
5 - Pardy should be the odd man out
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Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
Does Pardy make it through waivers early in the year?
Like we all thought with Morrisonn last fall, teams weren't interested in a $2M+ #6/7 defenseman despite the conventional quest for depth on defense that GMs subscribe to. I think Pardy's fate will be a carbon copy of Morrisonn's.

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Originally Posted by Der Jaeger View Post
4. I say Leino disappoints again. He's a supporting player whose play is determined by his linemates
I'm on that page too in terms of what to expect. I hopehe proves us all wrong but it seems that his contract will go down as one of the worst decisions Regier has made since the extension given to Connolly in 2009.

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08-03-2012, 10:40 PM
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ManuelCalavera
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Originally Posted by Play4Miracles View Post
It's like giving a kitten an eyepatch as of right now.
I just caught myself looking for the "Like" button after reading this. Damn Facebook.

1.) No. Miller's dominance was a flash in the pan, coinciding with the Olympics. I still believe that he is a top 15 goalie in the league, but I do not expect him to "steal" many games for us.

2.) No, and I hope that they both are sent to juniors to mature into the players they should be.

3.) No, not this year, but we will learn a lot about him. He can put all of the Alain Vigneault nonsense behind him. I'm elated to have him on the team - I love his demeanor. His skating woes can be improved upon, and committing himself to the Gary Roberts training shows some level of dedication.

4.) Ugh, I just wish the guy would take his oversized paycheck and shut up. Get me to the playoffs and then I'll try...he is a rotten, peripheral passenger. I suspect that he will be better. If he isn't, I suspect that the Pegula-copter will take him to Rochester. Lots of bars here in Rochacha that he can drown his sorrows in...

5.) I just have to believe that someone will be moved. Even if Sulzer falls on his face, McNabb, Brennan, & Pardy are capable enough as #6/7 defensemen. Even Pysyk seems like he should get a game or two in the bigs this year. It just seems like someone needs to be moved.

6.) They are not a tough team, but they are less wilting.

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Old
08-04-2012, 12:10 AM
  #15
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The way the questions should read;

1) tale of 2 goalies - Will Miller be consistent or have a 2 month stretch sub .900 save%.

Has more to do with question 6 then Miller who is who we thought he was. Great when he's not being a head case.

2) Will either first rounder be forced into top 6 responsibility?

If either makes the team to play 12 mins a night and maybe some special teams play I can handle that. Expecting them to be the answer for a 3 scoring line cup contender only sets us up to fail.

3) Will center by committee be good enough to allow the D to control the play?

The strength of this roster lines up along the blueline. However when injuries build up the centers need to take the load off the replacements. Hodgson especially will be crucial on the special teams. As of right now I think he will be asked to PK and PP. While I dont think success is based on his play they need him to perform in big spots so little Tyler Ennis doesn't need to.

4) Leino I hate you. Please play better or find a suitable care fire to move into.

5) whatever I don't know Pardy let him go wherever. Just don't let the odd man out get in the way of McNabb.

6) Will this team wilt at the first sign of pressure?

The sand paper element, in my opinion, is not required to win. However the Sabres culture is more of a when things get tough we head the other way. Is there enough grit to keep this teams head above water when **** hits the fan? When Miller has a mid season coffee break or Myers decides to dance among the posies is the mental toughness there to bring the team back in line. Since Briere (who would say F it and have a 4 point night to save us) and Drury (captain America) left us this team has been unable to self correct a tail spin. Old Lindy Ruff hasn't ever been able to do and has relied on his captains all the way back to Peca to pull the team put of the gutter. Unfortunately without a Doan signing I just don't see any leadership capable of correcting another tail slide. The season rests on how long the slump lasts this year, maybe we get lucky and they play the perfect season.

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Old
08-04-2012, 07:38 AM
  #16
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#1) I just can't see Miller ever being as good as he was when he won the Vezina a few years back... with that said he still has the potential to be around a top 5-10 goalie. To me it all comes down to his health and the overall health of our defense...

#2) All depends on whether or not Darcy makes a trade/signs someone before the season starts. Girgs will play the majority of the year in the AHL and I think that Grigs gets a handful of games to start the season but in the end gets sent back to Quebec.

#3) As has been said a few times already I think its going to come down to whether or not Hodgson and Ennis can split the top line center duties. I do think Cody takes a solid step forward this season while playing a lot of important minutes in all situations. Hopefully he has improved his skating as I see that as the only thing that is holding him back from being an excellent player.

#4) Leino sucks my dead testicle and I have very little hope for him putting together a decent season. Just cant see him working hard enough for Ruff to give him top 6 minutes and he is a complete waste on the 4th line. Hope we are all wrong tho, Leino having a good season puts us in the playoffs IMO.

#5) If everyone is healthy its going to be Myers, Sekera, Ehrhoff, Regher, Leopold, Sulzer and Weber. Pardy without a doubt is Rochester bound barring early injuries, just no room right now for McNabb and I have a bad feeling about Brennan getting claimed when he is inevitably waived.

#6) Was a decent start to fixing out team toughness but we are no where near close to being a tough team at this point, thats going to take years to fully accomplish IMO.

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Old
08-05-2012, 01:42 AM
  #17
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I like how Buffalo looks tough wise. With Ott, Foligno, Kaleta, Tropp, Regher, Scott (though very limited),and hopefully Mcnabb, it looks like a lot tougher team to play against. O I forgot Vanek, we all know how he likes to pound guys into the boards.

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