Tag Archives: Jason Pominville

The Sabres Need An Easter Resurrection

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Easter Sunday is a day of celebration for the Catholic faith. The celebration is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They Sabres should try and maybe talk to Jesus, and ask him how he did it. They need the advice.

After giving up a 3-1 lead (and on the power play at one point) in the third period to the Washington Capitals last night, the Sabres stayed in 12th place and really hurt themselves in their race to eighth place.

The Montreal Canadiens took care of the New York Rangers last night beating them 3-0. The Islanders lost to Pittsburgh, and Carolina stopped their losing streak defeating the Jets 3-1. If Buffalo had closed the game out in regulation, they would be two full points over the Capitals (they were tied going into the game last night), and would be playing for a share of eighth place tonight. Continue reading The Sabres Need An Easter Resurrection

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Sabres – Canadiens Recap

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It’s now official. The Buffalo Sabres are streaking.

For the second time in five days, the Sabres visited the Bell Centre in Montreal and for the second time in five days, the Sabres left with two valuable points.

Buffalo came into Montreal after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout this past Thursday. That bumped Buffalo up in the standings, leaving them just four points out of a playoff spot. That’s incredible.  Continue reading Sabres – Canadiens Recap

GM Gibs For A Day

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What would I do if I were GM?

First, I’d call all my friends and then have a crazy pick up game going at the First Niagara Center.

After the dangle, snipe, and celly session, I’d get down to brass tacks.

Ron Rolston told the media after practice that he’s thought about breaking up the Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville line. In my opinion, that’s a very smart move. For those of you who think I’m crazy, allow me to explain.

This hockey team isn’t going anywhere. They don’t put out a consistent effort every time they hit the ice, they’re in 28th place in the NHL (two teams are actually worse), and to reach eighth place is a miracle. So instead of having your three best players on the ice for 90 seconds at a time, why not spread out that talent a little bit.

Who would go where?

Ville-Leino-570x320What I would do is keep Vanek and Hodgson together, and stick Pominville on a line with Tyler Ennis and Ville Leino. Then I’d have Drew Stafford hop on with Vanek and CoHo. The reason for the move?

Trade stock.

Ville Leino is a good hockey player. He’s not going to score 25-30 goals a year, but he will create plays in the done and do a good job along the boards. Having Jason Pominville on Leino’s line would give him more freedom and space which would allow him to expose his talent. Leino’s got a set of mitts on him, and when he was with Briere and Hartnell, had all the space in the world.

Drew Stafford is another player that has failed to live up to his contract. Stafford has scored 20 plus goals in only threeAR-130219519.jpg&maxW=602&maxH=602&AlignV=top&Q=80 seasons. His highest total was 31 goals in 2010-2011, which is the last time the Sabres reached the playoffs (that was the year he had four hat tricks, two of them came against he Bruins). That 31 goal season brought Stafford a four year 16 Million dollar deal. The year after signing his contract, Stafford posted 20 goals in 80 games, and so far this season he’s been irrelevant. He’s got four goals and eleven points through 29 games, and has looked terrible most of the time. Two of those four goals have come in one game, and one of those goals was one of the biggest fluke goals you’ll ever see.

If you put Stafford on a line with Cody Hodgson and Thomas Vanek…I think it’s safe to say Stafford will find the net a lot more than he has this season. Not only that, but he’ll look a lot better than he does when he’s skating with Jochen Hecht and Nathan Gerbe. He failed to do anything on a line with Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno, so if you stick him on a line with your number one Center and best scoring forward, positive results are more than likely to come.

Instead of trying to convince yourself that this year is a fluke, which is what Darcy Regier really thinks, you should try and be the best team come April 3rd.

I’d be open to any ideas as long as Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Tyler Myers, and Mikhail Grigorenko aren’t part of the discussion. Jason Pominville, Ville Leino, Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis, Steve Ott, Nathan Gerbe, Jordan Leopold, Andrej Sekera, Robyn Regehr, and Mike Weber are all on the table if I’m the GM. If you got a first round draft pick for Paul Gaustad, I’m sure you can get another first rounder for Pominville or even a top six forward in return. Tyler Ennis is another first round draft pick caliber player for a trade.

The reason you keep Vanek, Hodgson, and Miller is because you can build a very good team around that. I understand Miller is 32 and is a big cap hit, but he’s still one of the best goaltenders in the world and he’s showing it this season. He’d be in the Vezina discussion if it weren’t for one of the worst defenses in the league playing in front of him.

thomas vanek sabres austriaThomas Vanek is your ‘get it done’ player, and in my opinion, he’s the only ‘get it done’ player on the team. He had a great start, but as somewhat cooled off after he suffered a lower body injury a quarter into the season. Cody Hodgson is having a very strong sophomore season, and hasn’t even reached the surface of what he can potentially become. Grigorenko’s obviously a young prospect that you don’t trade away.  Christian Ehrhoff wasn’t listed because of his monster contract, and also because he’s a top tier defensemen that you want to have on your rebuilding team.

Moving some players around also gives you room to think about who you might be able to pick up in free agency over the Summer.

Check out GM Gibs: A Look Into Free Agency, which will be posted soon.

Sabres – Rangers Recap

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Two very unexpected heroes took center stage on Tuesday night in Buffalo’s 3-1 win over the New York Rangers. Marcus Foligno scored twice ending a 20 game scoring drought, while Jhonas Enroth made 32 saves giving him his first win since November 26th, 2011.

In the opening ten minutes, the Rangers looked like they were en rout to take care of business. Unfortunately for New York, Jhonas Enroth decided to drink water instead of coffee before the game. Enroth came up big stoping all 10 NYR shots. The Sabres made some noise here and there in the opening period, but Buffalo’s best chance came at 12:01 when Thomas Vanek had two chances at an open net.

Henrik Lundqvist, Thomas VanekJason Pominville had the puck at the side of the net, and chipped it in front for Vanek. Vanek took his shot as soon as possible, but Lundqvist came across and absolutely robbed Vanek blind. Vanek’s shot created a rebound, but he wasn’t able to get his second chance shot through.

The first period would end in a 0-0 tie. Buffalo’s record when heading into the first intermission was 6-6-3, and for New York, 4-5-1. Another bizarre stat, Buffalo has ended a period tied 15 times this season, ten of those 15 have come in the first period. Continue reading Sabres – Rangers Recap

Sabres – Hurricanes Recap

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The  four game point streak comes to an end as the Carolina Hurricanes sweep the season series with a 4-3 victory last night.

In the first period, the Hurricanes made the Sabres look like the team we’re all used to watching prior to their four game point streak (3-0-1). They were chasing the puck around in their own zone, and when they brought the puck into Carolina’s end, they weren’t able maintain possession for more than five to ten seconds. Continue reading Sabres – Hurricanes Recap

Sabres – Lightning Recap

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They’re not dead, not yet at least.

After allowing another goal in the opening minutes of a hockey game, the Sabres fought back to beat the finely tuned offensive machine that is the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In the first period, Buffalo came out like many expected. Slow, lazy, out of position, turnovers in their own zone, and that was in the first 70 seconds. Fourteen seconds later, the Bolts would strike.

Steven StamkosBuffalo had the puck in Tampa Bay’s zone when Tyler Myers took a shot that got knocked down in traffic. Matt Carle would recover the loose puck and immediately send it up to Teddy Purcell. Purcell easily skated into the Sabres zone, and took a hard shot right on Miller that bounced back out in front. Steven Stamkos came flying in, and buried the rebound.

Goal Breakdown: The only breakdown I have on this goal is Tyler Myers stopped moving his feet, and the Sabres were caught yawning. Oh yeah, one more thing: Yet again another Superstar burns Buffalo. It’s beyond a problem and it’s got to be at the top of the drawing board for Darcy Regier. Like I’ve been saying all season, Buffalo doesn’t have a Michael Peca or a Patrice Bergeron. Those two guys are/were fantastic as stopping their opponents highly skilled players. After the first meeting in Boston, Claude Julien decided to put Bergeron on the ice every time Vanek’s line went out. The results?  Vanek  has not registered a point in the last two meetings against Boston. Oh, and I almost forgot.  After those two meetings in three games against the Bruins, Vanek has fell into a slump. His last point was a 5-on-3 power play goal against the Penguins. — If that’s not a good enough example of a Super Star stopper for you, then please, find me a better one.

After Stamkos’ goal, it was all Tampa Bay and to be honest, the Sabres looked like they were in for an ugly loss. That all stopped when the Lightning let the puck slip out of Buffalo’s zone.

Steven Stamkos lost the puck at the blue line, and immediately sprinted after it with Vanek all over him. Stamkos got control of the loose puck in his own zone, and left tapped it back to Hedman. Hedman attempted to clear the puck out of his own zone, but his pass was intercepted beautifully by Pominville at Tampa’s blue line. Vanek saw JP intercept the pass, and immediately headed deep into the Lightning zone. Pominville got the puck to Vanek at the side of the net, he had no shot and elected to clear it through the slot but, no one was there. Sekera recovered Vanek’s pass at the blue line, stepped up, and took a shot right on net. Sekera’s shot deflected behind the net conveniently for Hodgson. CoHo tried banking it off of Garon, but it found Sami Salo’s skate which knocked it in to tie the162795770_slide game at one.

Goal Breakdown: It all starts with Vanek who did a great forechecking job on Stamkos who really isn’t on the ice for his defensive skills. Vanek’s pressure forced Stamkos to give it to Hedman who really had no where to go with it. Hedman panicked, tried clearing it, but Pominville read him the entire way. If you turn the puck over with the Vanek- Hodgson – Pominville line out on the ice, more often than not, they’re going to make you pay. All three members of Buffalo’s top line had big contributions on that goal.

There would be no scoring in the second period, which in Buffalo’s case, is a miracle. Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, and again Tyler Myers, would all receive penalties in a little less than a four minute span giving Tampa Bay a long 5-on-3 power play. Buffalo’s top penalty killer, Ryan Miller, stood on his head as always and bailed the Sabres out of, what could have been, a very ugly scene.

In the third, it would be Buffalo who struck first in the opening minutes of a period.

Tyler MyersTeddy Purcell had the puck deep in his own zone with Thomas Vanek all over him. Purcell went around his own net trying to escape Vanek’s pressure, and tried clearing the puck out. Christian Ehrhoff was in perfect position to keep the puck in the offensive zone, and like I said earlier: If you turn the puck over in your own zone with the Hodgson line out on the ice, more often than not, they’re going to make you pay.

Ehrhoff got the puck to Pominville who skated with it momentarily before he cleared it infront, but failed to connect with Vanek. Vanek, however, recovered he loose puck down low, skated around the back of the net, and cleared it through traffic in front. Tyler Myers came down from the point, and blasted the puck home to win the game for Buffalo.

Goal Breakdown: When Pominville had the puck on his stick, he wanted to give it to Vanek across the ice down low, but consciously cleared the puck through the slot instead. Even if JP got the puck to Vanek down low, Vanek would’ve been stripped immediately. Pominville’s decision to clear the puck through the slot area, threw Garon off completely which made him get out of position. Vanek quickly recovered JP’s clearing attempt and wisely threw the puck out front because Garon was so far out of position. Myers cheated in, and had a wide open net to shoot at. This was one of Myers’ worst games this year, and that’s saying something — it’s just funny how he gets the game winner. I guess that’s just how sports work out sometimes.

The Sabres were able to fight off the Lightning, and win their first game with Ron Rolston behind the bench. Not only was it a huge road win, but it gives them some momentum heading into Sunrise, Florida to take on the Panthers.

Notes:

Buffalo killed off 6 penalties against one of the best Power Play units in the NHL.

– This was the first win by a Sabres coach not named Lindy Ruff since 1996.

– Buffalo is now 26-9-3 on the road against Tampa Bay and 44-28-5 all time.

– This is the first road win for Buffalo since their 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on February 9th.

— The Sabres take on the Florida Panthers Thursday night at the BB&T Center. This is the second meeting between the two teams, as Florida came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Buffalo 4-3 at First Niagara Center. Puck drop set for 7:30.

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Sabres – Leafs Recap

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Ron Rolston loses his first game thanks to JVR’s two goal performance, as the Maple Leafs beat the Sabres 3-1.

The past 48 hours leading up to this game, the Sabres were the most talked about team in the league after Lindy Ruff was relieved of his coaching duties. Ruff coached the Sabres for 15 seasons. His replacement, Ron Rolston, was the coach of the Rochester Americans this season before he was called on to be the Sabres new head coach. James Van Riemsdyk (JVR) used to play under Rolston for Team USA when he was a junior, and told the media that if it weren’t for Rolston, he wouldn’t be the hockey player he is today. For those of you who don’t know, JVR is a very talented forward and is having a very productive season thus far.

Sabres Defenseman TJ Brennan, who spent a great deal of time in Rochester with Rolston, said that the difference between Ruff and Rolston is that Rolston is more in your face and energetic. Whereas Lindy was more independent.

162307159_stdIn the first period, Buffalo looked like a rejuvenated squad on the ice. The controlled the puck in Toronto’s zone, kept skating, won the physical battles along the boards, and most importantly — weren’t chasing the puck around in their own zone.

Both teams would get their fair share of chances throughout the opening twenty minutes, but Buffalo would capitalize on one of their opportunities 13:20 into the opening period.’

Buffalo lost the draw in their own zone (how many times have we said that this season?) but recovered it after a shot by Bozak never made it’s way to the net. Ennis scooped up the loose puck along the half wall, gently bounced it off the boards for Stafford in the neutral zone, and headed up ice setting up a give-and-go. Stafford saw Ennis all the way, and gave him a nice lead pass into Toronto’s zone. Ennis flew past Gunnarsson, skated to the middle of the left face-off circle, and sniped a beauty to the top left corner to give Buffalo the lead.

The Stafford-Ennis-Foligno line is finally starting to feel it offensively. This is all thank to Stafford. Earlier in the year, Foligno and Ennis were doing their jobs (not to the fullest), but Stafford was nowhere to be found. Ennis does his part getting free and creating rushes, Foligno does his part when it comes to physical play especially around the boards, but Stafford was non existant earlier in the season. His job is to lead that line on the ice, shoot, pass, hit, etc. Now that Stafford is finally getting in a groove and skating much better, this line might go back to it’s old ways from last year. When I say old ways, I mean unstoppable.  Continue reading Sabres – Leafs Recap