Game No. 37: Outsuttered

Ryan Lambert
December 27 2010 06:25PM



You guys don't get to see as much Eastern Conference hockey as I do, and understandably so. For this reason, please keep in mind that what you are about to see tonight may be shockingly bad.

We are, as people who have watched most, if not all, of the Flames' games this season, accustomed to ugly play, ugly coaching and ugly roster building. So it is therefore not a compliment when I tell you that the Buffalo Sabres are the Calgary Flames of the East.

They're fairly old, they're plagued with injuries, they're investing bad money in worse players, they can't score and the only reason they've picked up most of their recent wins are strong performances from one forward and/or their goaltender. Unfortunately for the Sabres, the latter can, for the rest of the season, simply read "from their goaltender," because Derek Roy, the only player on the team delivering a decent performance in attack this season, is done for the year. After him, their next-highest scorer is the guy that used to be Tom Vanek, who has 25 points. At least if Iginla got hurt there'd... well, maybe Rene Bourque would do something.

But this is a team with a top pairing of Jordan Leopold and Steve Montador, just to give you an idea of how well-built that backline is. And to give you an idea of how bad things are up front: without Roy in the lineup, their No.1 center is Rob Niedermayer.

Things are so bad for the Sabres that they're only two points up on Toronto. And they're one point back of Calgary. It takes a lot of being terrible, especially in the East where you play the Devils and the Islanders a minimum of four times a year, to be a point back of Calgary. And the sad thing is, with only four players north of 15 points(!), Buffalo fans might actually kill someone to take Olli Jokinen off our hands.

Another problem, too, is that Buffalo has a similarly-entrenched incompetent general manager, just like Calgary. Darcy Regier can seemingly sign who he wants to whatever years and dollars he deems fit with no way for him to ever get canned no matter how terribly the team inevitably does. Yes, yes, they won the division last year, but if not for an horrific stretch by the Bruins, they might have missed the playoffs entirely in that airtight East. Worse, Lindy Ruff, who has shown no coaching ability whatsoever lo these last several years (unless you count "Let Ryan Miller worry about it" as an acceptable coaching strategy), might have more of a stranglehold on his job than Regier does. And that's saying something.

So take heart, Flames fans, that yours will be only the second-worst-run team on the ice tonight. And that, having said the above, Calgary will lose by three.

 

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 06:35PM
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As mentioned in the post below, there's one thing the Sabres can do that the Flames can't: draft and develop NHL players.

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#2 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 07:03PM
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Looks like Myers is out tonight. That's good.

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#3 negrilcowboy
December 27 2010, 07:29PM
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Kotalik? Why?

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#4 Robert Cleave
December 27 2010, 07:46PM
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Corsi.

Even, EV shots 6-4 CGY. The Flames look completely disinterested.

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#5 negrilcowboy
December 27 2010, 07:49PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Corsi.

Even, EV shots 6-4 CGY. The Flames look completely disinterested.

So am I.Brutally boring.

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#6 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 07:52PM
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Another blah first period. The Flames had one SC through the first 10 minutes.

Chances ended up 7-4 in favor of BUF.

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#7 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 08:21PM
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Flames are definitely the better team in this period.

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#8 negrilcowboy
December 27 2010, 08:24PM
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@Kent Wilson

its a 10-9 round on the judges score card.

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#9 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 08:29PM
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@negrilcowboy

winning a period by any score is an improvement 'round these parts these days.

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#10 negrilcowboy
December 27 2010, 08:37PM
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@Kent Wilson

Well the Flames won that period. No secondary scoring for the flames, how long can the iggy tang ollie line carry this team?

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#11 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 08:38PM
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Chances were 9-6 for CGY in the second. A couple of shifts where they couldn't exit, but mostly a strong period.

On the BUF side, I haven't noticed Vanek at all. Matching that Lowe offer sheet was an error on Regier's part for sure.

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#12 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 08:40PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

Well the Flames won that period. No secondary scoring for the flames, how long can the iggy tang ollie line carry this team?

I'm just happy the Flames have primary scoring right now. That was lacking for a huge portion of this season.

Probably not long though. Jokinen wasn't going to shoot 6% forever and this is the correction. At some point, pucks will once again stop going in for him.

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#13 Robert Cleave
December 27 2010, 08:41PM
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Corsi.

CGY +1, +1 in the period. EV shots 18-16 CGY, 12-12 in the second. The Iggy goal was completely against the run of play, because Buffalo pinned the Flames pretty thoroughly in the last third of that period.

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#14 negrilcowboy
December 27 2010, 08:44PM
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@Kent Wilson

Haven't seen much of Vanek or Kotalik.Kots terrible d on the goal. See your buddy juice was lighten it up tonight.

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#15 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 08:50PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Corsi.

CGY +1, +1 in the period. EV shots 18-16 CGY, 12-12 in the second. The Iggy goal was completely against the run of play, because Buffalo pinned the Flames pretty thoroughly in the last third of that period.

Yeah, Flames technically got lucky on that one. Sabres had two quality chances that could have gone in before it turned the other way.

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#16 negrilcowboy
December 27 2010, 08:53PM
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@Kent Wilson

Tanguay gambled on the strip and won, could have been wearing goat horns.

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#17 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 09:00PM
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Kudos to the Saddledome staff for playing "the Kotalik song" after his goal.

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#18 negrilcowboy
December 27 2010, 09:09PM
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wow, the Sabres realy are worse than the leafs. No Roy no Myers. Almost laughable.

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#19 Kent Wilson
December 27 2010, 09:13PM
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Flames are shutting 'er down in this period.

The first was uninspiring, but the Flames have taken over as the game has progressed and deserve the win.

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#20 Robert Cleave
December 27 2010, 09:34PM
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Corsi.

CGY +4, EV shots 29-24 CGY. The first and fourth lines were quite good. The middle six forwards, not so much. It was nice to see that the Flames didn't try to spend the third just nursing the lead for once.

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