Thursday, April 2, 2009
Even though after last night's charity point only dropped the Sabres playoff chances 1%, it was from 9% to 8%. Whooptdy friggin' do. Fact of the matter is the Sabres playoff chances were doomed long, long ago. How did we get to this point? Well we can point some of 'em out here.
1. Record Against Middlin', Triflin', Hurtin' Hockey Clubs
You want to talk points left on the table? Let's talk points left on the freakin' table! These are the records the Sabres have against teams below them in the standings in the East...
That comes out to a sterling 9-9-5. 9 wins, 9 losses, 5 overtime losses. 23 points out of a possible 46. Bubble teams don't make the playoffs only winning 50% of games against teams that a bona fide bad. The Sabres aren't making the playoffs.
1a. The Thrashers
I'm about to hacksaw someone in the face. 4 games against the doormat Thrashers (no offense), 4 overtime losses, 2 shootout, 2 overtime. Game over, Buffalo.
2. The Injuries
I hate blaming season struggles on injuries. The Devils succeeded without Brodeur. The Blues have done it without Kariya. But could the Devils do it without Brodeur and Parise? I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
So when on February 7th, Anton Volchenkov's slap shot somehow rose 5 feet in the air immediately off his stick and sent Vanek's jaw askew, someone had to step up. Did anyone? Maybe Patrick Lalime. Sabres went 3-5-1. 7 points out of 18.
Goaltending was certainly not an issue, as Miller seemed to be transforming into the franchise goaltender we all hoped he'd become, right before our eyes. Then on Februrary 21st, when Scotty Gomez, may or may not have, slew foots Ryan Miller behind the cage, it suddenly did. Over a 13 game stretch with Miller out, the Sabres went 4-7-2. 10 points out of 26.
When these two injuries coincided? 0-2-1. Just sayin'.
3. An "Off" Year
Lack of secondary scoring has been the issue for the Sabres this year. Pominville's scoring touch seemed to follow Briere to Philadelphia (where it subsequently pulled its groin), Hecht's hands went all Electric Light Orchestra on him (Turned to stone? Eh? Eh?), while Stafford, McArthur, and Paille aren't truly progressing in a timely fashion.
Who truly has played up to their "standards" or atleast the standards we as fans, bloggers, and media have heaped upon them? Vanek. Miller. Gaustad. Kaleta. No qualms with their play. But guys like Pominville (21 points from last years totals, 6 games left), Hecht (24 down), Rivet, and even Roy (14 off last years totals), if they're going to be paid like stars, time to step it up.
I'm sure I can go into this more, but what's the point of just pissing myself off? If you've followed the Sabres at all this year, what would you equate their 10th place showing to? The big ones I listed, or something else? Hit the comments.