Tag Archives: Ville Leino

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: Gerbe Back To Full Practice

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The Sabres were back at practice today after Ruff gave them Tuesday off as predicted. With 48 games in 97 days, you’re not going to get many chances to give your guys a day off which is key in a shortened season.

Bill Hoppe reported that Nathan Gerbe was back to full practice today, and was skating with Grigorenko and Ott. Gerbe was put on the injured list the first two games of the season, as he is coming off of back surgery that he received this past offseason.

I’m excited to see Gerbe on a line with Griggy and Ott. Nathan’s speed and puck control will open up ice for
Grigorenko’s offensive skill set, and might be the spark to get the 18-year-old on the score sheet. Gerbe would be a good fit for this line because of how well he plays in all three zone’s in terms of puck support and back checking.

Leino, who was supposed to be on the Grigorenko/Ott line, is still out with a leg injury, and will miss his third straight game come Thursday. It’s looking more and more like Leino will be replacing Gerbe on the injured list, and Gerbe will be activated to the 23-man roster. If this happens, Matt Ellis would be the odd man out, and Jochen Hecht would Center Patrick Kaleta and John Scott. Hecht was seen Centering Scott and Kaleta at practice.

Lindy will update Gerbe and Leino’s statuses after practice.

The Sabres will then travel to Raleigh, NC to start the front end of a home-and-home series between the Carolina Hurricanes.

Grigorenko Will Help Leino Bounce Back

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Last season, Sabres fans were extremely annoyed that their team, which was predicted to make a Cup run, failed to even reach the playoffs. Next in the disappointment aisle was Ville Leino.

When the Sabres signed Leino they were hoping he would re-sync himself into the Center he used to be when he was growing up. Instead, Leino was bounced around from left wing, to Center, back to wing, switching line mates. There was no real niche for Leino to fit in to. Last season he finished with just 25 points (8G + 17A) in 71 games. Continue reading Grigorenko Will Help Leino Bounce Back