Found February 06, 2013 on Queen City Sports:
This week’s Water Cooler features QCS writers Bradley Gelber, Jason Davis, and Brandon Hess. Let’s get into it right away. The Sabres are off to an awful start this year. Just how bad are the Sabres? The Sabres have struggled out of the gate to start 2013. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert) Bradley Gelber: Bad. There will be plenty of people making excuses for the team so I’d rather just tell it like it is. So far the Sabres can’t win puck battles, can’t win faceoffs, can’t cycle the puck and their back-up goaltending has been atrocious. John is playing way more than he should be and is being asked to play in situations/roles that don’t suit him. In addition to all that the once super energizing Nathan Gerbe has basically become a ghost. I know he was injured, but he was third last in ice time only ahead of Scott & McCormick. I think many of us looked past some pretty glaring issues heading into the season and were blinded by the excitement of hockey returning. Bradon Hess: For at least another few games I’m going to stick with the “this isn’t a bad hockey team, they’re just playing bad team hockey” mantra, but they’re running out of time to prove me right.  The defense has been atrocious; the goaltending shaky, and there’s been little secondary scoring beyond Hodgson’s line.  They have enough pieces in place to turn things back in the right direction, but bad habits are hard to break, if Lindy can’t shake them out of this funk soon they may be in store for a top 5 draft pick. Will anyone not named Vanek, Pominville, or Hodgson ever stand up and start contributing offensively for Buffalo? Jason Davis: The Sabres better hope so if they ever want to win some games. The first line cannot carry this team every game. The second line of Stafford-Ennis-Foligno need to find the chemistry and consistency they had at the end of the last season in order to provide the Sabres with some offensive help. Drew Stafford hasn’t scored in ten games and Foligno has one goal during that span. Vanek is one of only a few Sabres playing up to expectations to start the season. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Brandon Hess: The Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis, and Drew Stafford line has shown glimpses nearly every game they’ve played together, but haven’t quite broken out.  Last night Ennis and Stafford picked up points, and Foligno created space for Tyler by driving hard to the net and drawing defenders.  Is this is a sign of things to come for that trio?  Perhaps, and even Jochen Hecht brought a bit of life to the Sabres bottom six in the Ottawa loss. There’s too much offensive talent beyond Hodgson’s line to be stifled for this long, I see a breakout coming. Tyler Myers is struggling. Pardy is now starting. Nothing seems to be going right for the Sabres D-men. For what was supposedly going to be an alright unit going into the season, what’s wrong with the Sabres defensemen? Bradley Gelber: Injuries certainly haven’t helped, but most of them just look lost. I won’t even get into Myers because that’s the obvious head scratcher, but the rest of the lines haven’t been much better. Leopold finally scored last night, however both him and Myers currently sit at a -7 on the season. Sulzer is a guy many had pretty high expectations for after the way he closed out last season with the Sabres. Unfortunately he couldn’t even handle the puck in his own end last night, which led to numerous point blank opportunities. Brennan hasn’t played up to his potential since joining the team, but can you really blame him with what his supporting cast has been doing? Jason Davis: They don’t play physical enough. Too many times opponents skate into the Buffalo zone and aren’t met with any opposition. Opponents are able to generate many opportunities because the Sabres effort isn’t there on the forecheck or fighting for pucks in the corners. The Sabres are lacking defensemen as well. They have too many offensive minded defensemen and not enough true defensemen. They need to find a good balance in order to succeed. Make sure to come back next week to check out the next edition of the QCS Water Cooler, as we’ll continue to discuss Sabres Hockey all season long. The post QCS Buffalo Water Cooler: Sabres Slump Continues appeared first on Queen City Sports.

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