I intended to say more about the Rangers game today, but after a few hours I found I couldn't remember a single thing about the Rangers game. I don't remember Chris Drury, I don't remember Ales Kotalik, I barely remember the final score. Was the game that boring or was I just not paying close enough attention? I was Christmas shopping during the game (God bless, Amazon.com) so it's possible that I just wasn't paying attention.
-- Jason Pominville tried to appease me with a good game right after I complained about him last week, but I am not feeling him at all. For some reason I always bristled at people complaining that Jochen Hecht and Henrik Tallinder weren't worth the money they were being paid even though I knew that was true, but I have no such problems with criticism of Pominville. In fact, I wouldn't mind more of it. Let's feed him to the lions.
-- It seems in poor form to complain about the offense after a loss that was preceded by oodles of goals, but I am still a little concerned. Not freaking out but concerned. Stats suggest that offense has not been a big problem for these guys the last few years, but I think timely offense has been a problem. The Sabres are still lacking that player who can take over a game when needed the way Danny Briere often did when he was here. I don't know if it's a question of talent or a question of will, and I don't know if those players are born or made, but it's something that might need to be addressed yet.
-- But a big woo-hoo for the penalty killing units. I knew they were playing well, but I had no idea they'd leapt to third in the league (as of this writing). That's awesome. I was having this debate with someone the other day, but if you have to have a very strong offensive team or a very strong defensive team, I'd go with the defensive side. (Ideally, you'd be awesome at both things, but we'll lower the expectations a bit for now.) I think defense and goal-tending are much more likely to make a difference, particularly in the postseason when all the regular seasons rules and penalties seem to get tossed out the window.
-- I was always a bit of a Dmitri Kalinin apologist - hey, someone had to be. I thought he was far better than most fans gave him credit for being. His biggest weakness however, and probably the reason he's not in the NHL anymore, was his inability to deal with a mistake. One mistake and he'd come completely unraveled and it would take him 5, 6, 10 games to pull himself back together. He just didn't have that even keel, that mental toughness. One of my biggest concerns about Tyler Myers playing in Buffalo this season was how well he would deal with the mistakes that a 19-year-old rookie defenseman was sure to make, but so far he's equipped himself very well in that area. In the last handful of games he's had a couple of mistakes end up in the Sabres net, but you wouldn't know it from the way he played the rest of those games. Cool as a cucumber so far, definitely a plus for a blue-liner.
-- Of course, he gets the benefit of playing with Henrik Tallinder who has been really good this season. Just saying. In case you hadn't noticed.