Today I was put in the very uncomfortable position of agreeing with Jerry Sullivan. On his blog, Jerry informed us that one of the players approached John Vogl, one of the Sabres beat writers, and requested some positive, morale-building stories. (Thanks to Amy over at Shots Off the Crossbar for the link because I might have missed it otherwise. Hey, Amy, did you know shots off the crossbar were going to be a theme this season when you named your blog?)
First of all, why are you guys even looking at the media for encouragement? Are you crazy? Have you read the Buffalo News? I know this is my bias showing, but I haven't found them to be particularly positive even in the best of times. You really expect that to change now?
Second of all, are you kidding me? John Vogl is a REPORTER. He REPORTS what's happening in front of him. You're not really giving him a lot of good stuff to work with. If you want some positive press maybe you should try winning more than one game in a row. Maybe you could start by atleast looking like you care that you're not winning. Maybe you could try playing really, really hard for an entire sixty minutes. I'm a fan who desperately wants to be positive and I can't think of anything nice to say about you as a group. Not a single, solitary thing.
Third of all (watch out, I'm on a roll!), the Buffalo News has been pretty damn generous considering how crappy you're playing. They're (rightfully) criticizing Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn and letting you guys slide on a ton o' crap. They're harping on how much the losses of Chris Drury and Danny Briere have hurt you. They're giving the Sabres grief for getting backed into a corner on Thomas Vanek's contract and not completely ripping Vanek for signing a contract he clearly wasn't ready to handle mentally much less hockey-wise. They seem to just be getting around to you guys and you turning into whiny little boys is not very becoming.
Seriously, you guys are professional athletes. This is your job, it's what you're paid to do. (And quite well I might add. I'd love to see any of you do my job for my pay.) You're supposed to play for pride and your teammates and yourself and all that rah-rah crap. If you really need the local media to boost your morale, well, you're just not very good at this professional athlete thing. Time to grow up, boys. You said you could handle new roles and expectations. Stop talking and do it.
Gah! Do you guys have any idea how painful it is for me to side with THE BUFFALO NEWS?! It burns!
All that said, I'm dying to know who it was that approached Vogl because even if you are pissed off at negative attention, that just seems completely stupid. Even I know better. I've discussed this with quite a few people today and heard a few different opinions, but my money is on Brian Campbell. I don't know, he just strikes me as the type for some reason.
Jerry Sullivan is also running a Most Overrated Sabre poll. The five choices he gives us are Tim Connolly, Maxim Afinogenov, Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, and A Defenseman That Heather Is Choosing to Eliminate From Said Poll. When I voted at 2:12 a.m. Wednesday night/Thursday morning, Ryan Miller was leading with 30.5% of the vote which is harsh, man. I have to agree with Jerry (AGAIN!) that some of that is just the nature of his position. I know a lot of people who pretty much blame the goalie for everything. Ryan and Thomas have had rough seasons but I think they'll both be fine so I wouldn't call them overrated - underachieving maybe is a better word. Max drives me crazy but I think he does bring some positives, even when he's not scoring. There's no doubt that his speed does scare a lot of teams into backing off. He probably came into this season with a little too much hype considering that last year was the first year he's consistently finished. But no, I have to go with Tim Connolly. I like Timmy as a player. I really, really wanted him to be great this year. I believe that somewhere on this blog I made a prediction for his points output that would be pretty darn embarrassing now but at the time, I really believed it. I still think he has a lot of talent but it's looking more and more like the 2005-2006 season where he was both productive and reasonably healthy (until the playoffs) was an anomaly. Too bad.
My most disappointing Sabre of this season though is Derek Roy, but I'll save that for another because it's late and I'm tired. How about you guys? Who's your most overrated and/or disappointing Sabre?