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Tonight on NBCSN: Sabres try to figure it out against Blackhawks

Jan 18, 2012, 7:45 AM EDT

Ryan Miller AP

In case you haven’t heard, the Buffalo Sabres aren’t doing so hot this season. When they head to Chicago tonight to take on the Blackhawks (7:30 p.m. ET) they’ll be running into a team eager to keep them down and perhaps force changes to happen in Buffalo.

The Sabres have lost 13 of their last 17 games (4-10-3) and fallen back to 11th in the Eastern Conference. Ryan Miller has had perhaps his worst pro season yet and is getting such a rough ride from the home fans that even Buffalo native Patrick Kane wishes they’d take it easy on him. Miller’s woes have been emblematic of everything going wrong with the Sabres though.

The defense has looked rough and even though there are injuries throughout the lineup, even when they’ve been healthy they’ve struggled. Christian Ehrhoff, when healthy, hasn’t been the point producing superstar they hoped he would be while Tyler Myers has struggled as well. Robyn Regehr even hasn’t been as strong defensively as they hoped.

Mix in all those woes with a forward unit that’s had essentially only one good line featuring Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek and you’ve got troubles. The Sabres need more from guys like Derek Roy, Ville Leino, Drew Stafford, and Brad Boyes and it just isn’t happening.

Meanwhile, life is comparatively easy for the Blackhawks. Marian Hossa has been a monster, Jonathan Toews keeps doing his thing leading the team, and even Patrick Kane’s goal scoring slump hasn’t been all that noticeable. Getting inspired play from rookie Andrew Shaw has helped them overcome nagging injuries as well. As one of the top teams in the West, it’s hard to be too critical of Chicago’s play.

That said, Chicago would like to get things straightened out as well. The Blackhawks have dropped six of their last ten games (4-4-2) and are in the middle of an all out brawl with Detroit and St. Louis in the Central. It’ll be up to Corey Crawford to get hot and have Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook step up bigger to keep pace with the rest of the division.

  1. buffalomafia - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Owner Terry Pegula should fire bother general manager & coach now! Other teams better than Buffalo fire both when there teams are losing. And they replace them with better management.

    I know Sabres are injured but there are no excuses when your making millions of dollars playing a kids game!

    Ryan Miller always gets best up high all the time & why doesn’t he address that in practice? Doesn’ t Ryan watch game films? Also he shouldn’t worry about his wife on west coast?? If he wants a trade then trade him to a team that you will get something in equal value for! Not crappy draft choices!

    Old man breath is stronger than our defense! If you watch other games there defense clears the crease!

    Our power play blows! We pass more than Aaron Rogers & Tom Brady & waiste so much time off clock! Shoot the puck & crash the net!

    Are team is to small to compete with the rest of NHL! Nobody is a true enforcer on our team!

    Pegula was interviewed last week & he couldn’t even answer questions straight! He answered them like Porky Pig!

    Pegula is another billionare like former owner Galisano who doesn’t have a clue about hockey! Promises the Buffalo fans the world & we are stuck with another so called mediocre team!

  2. lordstanley716 - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    The Buffalo Mafia has a few good points, it would be nice if the team could come off this road trip with a few in the standings, but things need to change…
    A) Management: Regier needs to go. He has crafted a team that consists of a core of soft players, who lean on excuses fed to local media by the front office.
    B) Goaltending: While some are looking to blame Ryan Miller’s offseason marriage for his struggles in between the pipes, you can’t turn a blind eye to the turnovers which have been a glaring issue this season. I’m not making excuses for Miller, personally I think he needs to earn his ice time. His GAA and save percentage are a career worst and I wouldn’t be surprised after his comments following the Detroit massacre if he was traded.
    C) Ownership: Buffalo Mafia couldn’t be further off base in his opinion. Pegula has made this organization into a family environment and simply went to bat for his guys earlier in the week by saying injuries have ravaged the team. While I’m not a fan of excuses, what was put together this summer has not been the product on the ice for a large majority of games. That said, I do have a feeling a roster shakeup is necessary along with a removal of the GM.
    D) Trades: if I were Regier and I was looking to save my job I would call up San Jose and propose this:
    G Ryan Miller
    RW Brad Boyes
    C Derek Roy
    For
    LW Ryan Clowe
    C Andrew Desjardins
    G Anteroom Niittymaki
    All 3 Sharks were a scratch last night and would shake up the fancy new Buffalo locker room. Regier is known to over value his toys, this deal wouldn’t feel like he got fleeced and just might turn things around in Buffalo and help San Jose unload some struggling talent and gain a lot in return.

  3. buffalomafia - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    @lordstanely716- thanks for agreeing with majority of my points!

    I do like your points except why give Miller a trade to be by his wife? To me that makes Miller weak along with the Buffalo organization!

    Also looking @ this road trip I don’t think the soft Sabres are going to win a game?

  4. rabidbillsfan - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    @Buffalomafia

    Anybody who starts a sentence with “Are” instead of “Our” should be banned from commenting. Yes, we will trade Miller so he can be with his wife, I mean thats the only reason we should trade him? So every team on the west coast if off limits then, your a fool. Really, Buffalo wouldn’t be fleeced by that trade? So trade Miller for Enroths backup, Roy for a 4th line center, Boyes would be the only even deal. Pegula is also no Golisano. Pegula spent cash, and is determined to keep the best players on this team regardless the financials. Wake up, this isn’t fantasy hockey, and by the sounds of it you haven’t left grade school. We are much better off, both the Sabres and Bills, without your idiotic statements that degrade this citys integrity.

  5. buffalomafia - Jan 18, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    @ rabidbillsfan another asshole who is married to a fat mediocre chick who still believes in Buffalos philosophy!

    Your another mediocre fan who will just settle for whats in front of you!

    Both Regiere & Ruff must go! Other NHL teams better than the Sabres do it all the time!

    What is going to happen instead of firing them the Sabres will make desperate trades for B & C line players & some crappy draft picks!

  6. obamablowz - Jan 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    This team was founded in 1970 and has won nothing. Fire everyone, trade everyone for draft picks, and rebuild now. Move this team or get rid of it. There are too many teams in the NHL. Drop every team in EVERY sport in Florida. No hockey in Atlanta,Tampa Bay, Miami Phoenix, Carolina, and lets get rid of the disaster of a franchise in the Islanders. I’m not even a Buffalo fan and am embarrassed for them.

  7. puckhound - Jan 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I’m a former West Seneca, NY resident who now lives in TX. I’ve been a Sabres fan ever since they entered the NHL in 1970-71. Next to the late Knox Brothers, I feel Terry Pagula will provide productive & stable ownership. Lindy Ruff was an aggressive player and is a demanding head coach. The problem is SOFT, PASSIVE players. The Sabres of the past 14 years were created in the image of its maker… GM Darcy Regier! Whimpy, “make no waves, only excuses” Regier will NEVER come close to being a Stan Bowman (Chicago), Peter Chiarelli (Boston), Lou Lamoriello (NJ), or Ray Shero (Pittsburgh). Since June 2000, these GM’s have deliveded 5 Stanley Cups. Terry Pagula needs to kick Darcy to the curb and hire a GM who will build the Sabres into skilled and strong warriors whose only focus should be to win the Stanley Cup….. YEAR after YEAR after YEAR!

  8. buffalomafia - Jan 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Thank you puck hound!

  9. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    …and Enroth gets the start. 3 goals on 17 shots so far. Where are those guys who were touting Enroth as “the future” in the articles about Miller?

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