Sabres European Vacation

It feels like we’ve been here before.  The anticipation of a new Sabres season is killing me and I can’t wait to see the boys on the ice.  Expectations are high and I am excited to see how everyone looks…. what’s that?  …they played last week?  Oh, I almost forgot about that.

So it’s season opener part II, but this time in North America.  Last week was such a long time ago, I almost forgot that the Sabres already began regular season play.  Buffalo will be at a disadvantage this weekend I feel.  Both the Hurricanes and Penguins have played a few more games this week and got their competitive juices flowing with some close contests.  The Sabres meanwhile, flew halfway around the world after winning two convincing games against teams they don’t ever see again and they returned home to find a nice cozy lounge and locker room that looks like it came out of a high-rise loft rather than the bowels of downtown Buffalo.

It’s obviously important to stay sharp with the second round of games, so here’s what I got my eye on:

Continued puck movement on the power play: I am sure Brian McCutcheon wasn’t all to blame, but the power play looks a hell of a lot different in the first two games than it did last season.  Did I see the Sabres move the puck INTO the slot?  Is this allowed??? Wow, things are much easier when you can break the box and draw a defender out of position.  I sure hope no other team finds out about this.  During their quest for European Domination, the Sabres worked the puck very well with the man advantage.  They worked it around more than just the perimeter and it led to a Leino goal on opening night afternoon.

-Contain Kris Letang: One of my favorite defenseman to watch is #58 Kris Letang.  He is almost like having a 4th forward on the ice.  Think of Washington’s Mike Green, except Letang isn’t awful on defense.  The Sabres’ backcheckers will have to keep their head on a swivel to account for Letang on the rush.  He also has a good quick release on the PP and is dangerous from the point.

Tyler Ennis, Where Are You?: After two games, Ennis is without a point but that’s not what concerns me.  My problem is that I don’t remember seeing Ennis on the ice.  There was never a time last week where I thought “Great play Tyler! By the way, cut your hair.” Once again, two games is not enough reason to panic, but last year you knew right away that something was wrong with Tyler Myers.SophomoreSlump?  The Tyler Funk?  I’m just saying, I don’t want to see lightning strike twice.

I kept it to three and left out the obvious points like the continued success of the Vanek line, Miller’s solid play and overall improved team defense.  If those three things can swing in Buffalo’s favor, a 4-0 start can go a long way towards your ultimate goal…

Alex Szczesny

I eat, sleep and breathe Sabres hockey. I have been into the sport literally my whole life. I started going to games when I was 9 months old and have been hooked ever since. Growing up, I played against guys like Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kaleta, Tim Kennedy and now I have to pay money to watch them in person... Funny how things change.

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