Found January 21, 2013 on
Queen City Sports:
Well, here we are. One game into the lockout-shortened season and there is already a misconception brewing about the boys in blue and gold: “This 2013 squad’s identity is TOUGHNESS!!!”
After acquiring Steve Ott & John Scott in the off-season, Darcy & Co. did their part to add some grit to a team that many considered “soft.” Those additions to a team already populated with the likes of Patrick Kaleta were of the mindset to build on toughness, but in a reactive not proactive manner. After having Ryan Miller qualify for the US Olympic gymnastics team, thanks to a helpful hand from Milan Lucic last November, the Sabres infamously did the opposite of a lot… nothing. Hockey analysts & fans alike criticized the Sabres for idly standing by and allowing their net minder to get obliterated without any sort of repercussion. That situation led to other similar incidents throughout the season and so on & so forth. This common theme was something many assumed the team would address in the off-season. However, the intent of shipping Derek Roy to the Big D and adding a couple bruisers wasn’t to become the modern day “Broad Street Bullies,” but rather have a line of defense against teams that were ready to deploy their goons. Bottom line, there is a monumental difference between a team that can hold their own physically & a team that plays dirty.
(Photo courtesy of IconSportsMedia.com)
The minute we all found out hockey would be returning, was the same minute many of us began breaking down our favorite team’s roster. For many the usual questions popped up… How skilled were the forwards? How deep was the defensive core? Was the goaltending reliable enough to steal a few games throughout the course of the season? For Sabres fans, the main areas of concentration were the decisions on defense, the 18-year-old Russian prodigy & the team’s identity for the season ahead.
The popular outlook that the Sabres were “drinking from the fountain of toughness” began to flood through the streets and has yet to stop. After the team’s home opener vs. the Flyers that opinion has only taken a stronger foothold for many. Ott, one of the new tough guys, scores a goal, while a goal-scorer in Stafford sticks up for his more vertically challenged teammate. This is exactly what I am getting at when referencing reactive toughness as opposed to proactive goonery. After Scotty Hartnell reintroduced Jason Pominville to the boards at the First Niagara Center in the second period, there was no immediate hoopla or fireworks. My twitter stream however, was immediately overrun with “nothing has changed” & “so much for the toughness.” The thing people forget is hockey players, despite having their heads bashed-in regularly, are smart individuals. They know situations & momentum shifts just as well, if not better, than everyone else. Blowing a first period lead and trailing by a goal isn’t necessarily the best time to throw away a man advantage with retaliation… its not smart hockey.
Despite the team not responding in the moment with a barrage of fists to the face of the redheaded one, Hartnell’s actions did not go unpunished. Unlike the Sabres, the Flyer’s are and will always be known for their dirty play and the old adage: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” became words to live by in this game. 11-minutes after giving the Sabres’ Captain an extra boost into the glass, Hartnell decided to go for seconds on Tyler Ennis as seen in the video I linked above. This time, in a tie game, the rough stuff made sense. Drew Stafford and Scott Hartnell battled it out and produced some first rate imagery as shown above. This was the proper time to say enough is enough. This is the difference between being a dirty team & a team that can hold it’s own… picking your spots to enforce toughness and not seeking out reckless physicality for the heck of it.
Despite the physically imposing off-season acquisitions, this team isn’t an overwhelmingly tough group that can play defense and score, but rather a skilled unit who can now protect themselves and drop the gloves if the situation calls for it… don’t confuse the two. At the end of the day in looking at a team like the Flyers who tote a reputation for being dirty versus a team like the Sabres who intelligently & strategically pick their battles, ten out of ten times, I’d take the latter.
Feel free to let me know what you think on Twitter at: @BradleyGelber
The post The Tough Guy Misconception appeared first on Queen City Sports.
BEST OF MAXIM
Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino is missing the team's regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers because of a lower body injury.
Listed by the team as day to day, Leino missed practice Saturday a day after he was hurt in practice.
Leino was well enough to join his teammates, coaches and Sabres owner Terry Pegula to greet fans in the First Niagara Center lobby...
Picture courtesy of Bill Wippert/Getty Images.
By: Connor Nielen (@ConnorNielen)
For all of Ryan Miller’s career domination versus Toronto (a 27-14-0 record, .922 SV%, 2.44 GAA coming into this season), he found himself surprisingly unable to lead his Buffalo Sabres to victory at the Air Canada Centre on any of the team’s three attempts during the 2011-12 campaign.
A nine-month layoff, courtesy of the NHL lockout, wasn't long enough to disrupt the chemistry between the Buffalo Sabres' top two linemates, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.
Vanek scored twice and added three assists, and Pominville had three assists in leading the Sabres to a 5-2 season-opening win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon.
Two games down, three to go.
From the sounds of Lindy Ruff's morning interview on the Howard Simon Show, the Sabres plan on keeping Mikhail Grigorenko past the five game deadline.
I think if they do keep him up after the five games, it's a good idea for a couple reasons.
While Grigorenko hasn't got on the scoresheet, I'm not worried about him. I wasn'...
Thomas Vanek is a one man scoring machine today.
HDTV with two goals and three assists today.
His linemates, Pominville and Hodgson have been full value in the first game of the season.
Pomemer with two assists, and, Hodgson with a goal.
Hodgson has been Buffalo's best player today. His skating has been terrific. His play making has been remarkable.
[caption id="attachment_145" align="aligncenter" width="594"] Vanek and Pominville have both had great starts to the season[/caption]
By Derek Wangler
With all eyes on the new additions to the Sabres roster for the 2013 hockey season, veterans Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville are showing fans that they’re still the team’s top players.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Thomas Vanek hardly looked like a man who hadn't played NHL hockey in nine months. Vanek had five points (two goals, three assists) to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in the First Niagara Center. Tyler Myers scored the winning goal with just over five minutes remaining and Cody Hodgson gave the Sabres some breathing...
Detroit Cass Tech (Mich.) sophomore running back Mike Weber talks about the Michigan offer he landed today.
Ryan Miller stopped 34 shots to lead the Buffalo Sabres past the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Monday night.
Miller lost his shutout bid when Nazem Kadri scored on the power play with 1:42 remaining, his second goal of the season. Toronto's Joffrey Lupul appeared to tie it seconds later with goalie Ben Scrivens on the bench, but the goal was disallowed.
With Scrivens on the bench...
Pat Kaleta (#36) puts a hit on Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux during Buffalo’s 5-2 win over the Flyers.
The message from the coaches and players in the Buffalo Sabres organization was the same throughout the offseason and during training camp: become a much tougher team to play against.
Last season, much was made of the infamous Milan Lucic hit on Ryan Miller when no one on...
These kinds of hits have to be banned from hockey. Buffalo
forward Tyler Ennis is 157 pounds soaking wet, and Flyers forward Scott Hartnell
is a bull at 210 pounds, and he buries Ennis from behind. No penalty on the play. You have to give
former Fighting Sioux forward Drew Stafford credit for answering the call.
Ryan Miller has a history of playing well against the Maple Leafs and Monday night was no different. Miller improved to 28-14 against Toronto all-time with a 35-save performance in Buffaloâs 2-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre.
Millerâs play was pivotal in helping Buffalo secure the win as the Sabres are off to a perfect 2-0 start to the lockout-shortened season.
After a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres in the home opener at the Air Canada Center, coach Randy Carlyle put his players through a lengthy practice at the MasterCard Center in Etobicoke, ON this morning.
The Leafs face a rather daunting three games in four nights starting tomorrow night, with two road contests against two top Eastern Conference contenders.
(Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres got their second win of the young season in as many days with a 2-1 win over host Toronto in the Maple Leafs’ home opener on Monday night. The win moves Buffalo to 2-0 on the season.
Buffalo’s top line once again shined as Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek, and Jason Pominville all got on the score sheet once again. Hodgson...
Twitter is an interesting tool. If used properly it can be a great new gathering source for a sports fan, politics fanatic or someone who just wants to keep up with the Kardashians. As someone who is immersed in sports, I happen to use Twitter to not only connect with fans but to keep up with breaking news.
During games Twitter is always a great barometer for how fans feel (track...