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WHERE WE ARE

Wednesday, 10.20.2010 / 1:07 PM
By Kevin Sylvester - Sabres "Hockey Hotline" Host / SLY NOTES
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SLY NOTES
WHERE WE ARE
- What kind of start was that?  1-4-1 is not how it was supposed to go, especially with 4 games on home ice.  The team does not get a pass for any of those home losses, and I get the impression they don’t want one either.  Players play to win.    Sure the money is great, and that’s what has them hitting the gym and riding the bike in mid-summer heat.  But when each player hits the ice, winning is what comes first.  The fact that the team hasn’t won since the season opener in Ottawa is both frustrating and maddening not only to the fans, but to the players.  How would you like to show up for work (job=work, so yes the games are work for the players) and have five bad days in a row?   Of course you wouldn’t, and my guess is you would do something about it.  It’s time for the Sabres to do something about it, and my hunch is they will.  This team is too experienced and talented not to.

- Perhaps the most surprising thing about the 1-4-1 start is that the last 4 losses have all been by one goal.  That’s how close the NHL is now.  It seems as if most games are going down to the wire with the margin of victory being just one goal.  The Sabres were excellent last season in one goal games, or at least getting to overtime for the extra point.  As I’m writing this I remember one of my blogs from last season was the success of getting the so called “loser point”.  Looking at last season results, in games that ended with a one goal margin of victory, the Sabres were 20-10-10.  Nineteen of those 40 games went to OT, with 10 finishing in the shootout.  So what’s the point?  It’s exactly the point.  If this year’s team is going to lose by a goal, they better do it in overtime as they did vs. New Jersey last Wednesday.

-I’m guessing that Thomas Vanek is as frustrated as you are being without a goal six games into the season.  I was encouraged to see him handle the puck more on the half wall vs. Chicago trying to set up Drew Stafford.  If those 2 can get on the same page, lookout.

Tylery Myers (Getty Images)
- Tyler Myers got a haircut.  He’s taking the anti-Sampson approach to get his first goal of the year.  By the way, the kid couldn’t be handling the team’s (not all him, media and fans) slow start any better.   He hasn’t pointed a finger at anyone other than himself, and hasn’t ducked any questions.

- Sabres fans showed their class once again by giving Henri “The Pocket Rocket” Richard a great ovation last Friday night as he was introduced for the commemorative face-off to celebrate the Sabres 40th anniversary.  Jean Beliveau was ill and couldn’t return to face Sabres original captain Floyd Smith, but it was great to have the winningest player in NHL history (11 Stanley Cups) as a fill in.  Mike Robitaille told me that he was one of, if not the toughest players that he faced.  Roby recalled to me a night near the end of Richard’s career when he caught the great with a hip check that crumpled him to the ice in the first period.  As both teams skated to the dressing room after the period, Richard weaved his way through a few Sabres to hook Roby by the throat until he was pulled away.  Roby added that Richard spent the other two periods chasing him all around the ice, taking any liberty he could, and calling him ugly in French. 

- After seeing the Sabres don their new white sweaters on home ice last Friday, I wouldn’t hate it if the league returned to that standard. 

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