Changes made at top, but many issues remain
It doesn’t matter if it’s Ruff or Rolston or Nolan, the Sabres refuse to play physical hockey.
Other than Ott, McCormick, Weber and McNabb, no one plays tough. This is the softest team in the league. On defense, they continue to back up and use their sticks to intercept passes instead of actually taking the body. This allows the other team to make clean passes and take clean shots.
The Sabres, in the meantime, have guys hanging all over them and banging them around when they pass or shoot. No wonder they can’t score or stop the other team’s shots. Opposing teams look like hockey teams and the Sabres look like they’re competing in an ice dancing show.
Ehrhoff is possibly the softest defenseman I’ve seen in a long time. When he and others “hit" someone on the other team, the guy usually takes the “hit” and skates away with the puck. He believes that his job on defense is to stand in front of the net and block the goaltender’s view. He’d be better off taking the man. I guess he was brought up to play a zone defense. He seems so afraid of getting hit when he has the puck, he usually just dumps it ahead allowing the other team to intercept his passes. It is simply incredible that the team gave him a $40 million contract.
Their power(less) play has stunk for many years and yet they don’t hire a specialist. It’s like a professional baseball team without a batting coach. How many one-goal games do we have to lose before they realize what’s needed?
The best trade that Darcy made in years was for Robyn Regehr, a big physical defenseman, and inexplicably, he traded him away last year.
The majority of this team is made up of soft players. Toughness has to be a team concept, not just a few guys buying in. When Nolan was here before, no one played soft and I suspect he’ll try to toughen up these guys. Also, LaFontaine always played with grit and I doubt he’ll put up with this for long. You have to wonder, though, if they can change some of the current players or if wholesale trades must be made to make this an NHL-worthy team.
It’s about time Sabres made big moves
The addition of Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan was a step in the right direction for the Buffalo Sabres to bring back integrity to the team.
The next step would be to bring in some talented players who can lead this team to victory. Other than Ryan Miller, this team is lacking much-needed talent.
Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or email to email@example.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.