Seven games into the young 2013 NHL half season you can see a trend developing for the Buffalo Sabres. Up and down play will likely be norm in Buffalo. To start the season the Sabres looked good beating Philly 5-2 and Toronto 2-1 to start the season. Then losing four in a row before beating the Bruins 7-4 last night in an up and down game.
Sabres fans have to try to not get to low or to high this season. The Sabres are a team that will finish in that 6-10th place range in the Eastern Conference and will good at times and very bad at times. They are a tougher team than last season, but still do not have scoring outside of the Vanek, Pominville, and Hodgson line. Marcus Foligno has got better as the games have gone on, Drew Stafford is doing his usual disappearing act, Tyler Ennis is still trying to get used to being a top pivot man in the NHL, and Mikhail Grigorenko is 18 years old. Ville Leino is a question mark and yet to still play a game this year with his mystery hip injury. Leino was jelling well with Grigorenko and Ott in training camp, but he needs to get on the ice before the Sabres can decide what to do with him in the offseason.
On defense the Sabres are also all over the place to start the season. Ehrhoff looks like the top d-man that Buffalo paid him to be last year and Sekera looks solid as well building off a strong end to last season. Weber has played well in his two games after sitting in the press box the first 5 games. Robyn Regher is out with a knee injury/old age right now. He has what I like to call Craig Rivet syndrome. He's really good if he can catch you, the problem is he can't catch anyone any more. Then that brings you to Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold. Let's start with Leopold who is in the last year of his three year deal. To start the season Leo was playing well, but the last 3 games he has been a train wreck. Soft playing the body and wiffing on poke checks. I'll give Leo a pass for and blame it on the rust for now. Last and certainly the least so far is Tyler Myers. The Sabres 6'8 big man is now being paid like a top 2 d-man, but is playing like a rookie. Every time he touches the puck now he makes me nervous. He has been a give away machine to start the season and still will not use his big 6'8 frame to his advantage. I will say he looked outstanding in the first period last night, but after getting burned by Marchand on a play the house came crashing in on him the rest of the game. At 22 years old I am not ready to give up on him at any means, but someone needs to get in his ear.
Quickly on Ryan Miller he has been the most consistent player so far this season outside of Vanek. Miller looks to be in the zone and stood on his head numerous times this season keeping the Sabres in the game or down right winning the game like in Toronto in the second game of the season. Even though he gave up 4 goals last night Miller was outstanding keeping the Sabres in it at 3-1 and holding the 5-4 lead until Vanek sealed the win.
Lastly Thomas Vanek is really good right now and fun to watch. He single handedly has won two games this season with two 5 point nights and leads the NHL in points with 15 through six games (he actually only played in 5).
Jump on the roller coaster Sabres fans and hold on tight. A fun and stressful season is headed our way.