Flyers Face Former Superstar Ville Leino

Yeah, I know, Ville Leino is not at all a superstar. But the Buffalo Sabres sure as hell overvalued him a bit when they offered him a big contract (6yrs, $27M) this past summer. And one of the main storylines so far in Buffalo has been how little Leino has contributed to the offense so far. Two points in the first 10 games is way too little for a guy they had high expectations for. 

No matter who they get, who they release, the Sabres always seem to be the same type of team. The main reason is that they’ve had Lindy Ruff coaching them for a long time. He’s not just going to change his system from year to year. While I believe Tomas Vanek is a top tier superstar, the team doesn’t rely on him for all of their offense.  Every line tries to chip away and score a few goals. And the entire team tries to play solid defense. When they screw up, Ryan Miller is usually there to cover up for their mistakes.

However, things aren’t all peach in the land of chicken wings. After starting off 5-1, the Sabres have gone 1-3. In order to keep that going, the Flyers will hopefully help out the Giroux-Jagr-Hartnell line a bit. Yeah, they’ve been on fire lately. But you can only win so much with one line before things fall apart. Where the hell is JVR? He’s back to being a bust. He’s not at all the player we saw in last years playoffs. Where is the guy who charges the net and creates his own chances? Where is the guy that doesn’t need help from anyone to score goals? JVR: WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?

Right now, we’re 2nd in the league in scoring goals. But that is mostly coming from one line, and we cannot have that. We knew going into the season that this team didn’t have the same scoring depth as they did the last few seasons. 39% of our goals are from that top line. That is inexcusable. Somebody needs to step up and help them out. We cannot have that sort of concentration of scoring from 3 guys and hope to do well this season. When the playoffs roll around and you start playing good teams, you need everyone pitching in to help.

So far, our vaunted defense has been too inconsistent.  One game we make life easy for our goalies, limiting the shots to the low 20’s, and the next game we’re hanging them out to dry. Yeah, Pronger is missing. I don’t care. We’re supposed to have great depth here. I can understand taking a step down, not completely tumbling down the stairs. Tonight will be a good test because the Sabres are usually a fiesty teams that battles hard. To keep them off the board, the defense will have to be aggressive.  Last Saturdays demolition of the Carolina Skinner’s was great. Now go out and do it again. Flyers, show me something!

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Carolina Hurricanes Chris Pronger Claude Giroux Ice Hockey Jaromir Jagr Jeff Skinner JVR Lindy Ruff NHL Philadelphia Flyers Ryan Miller Scott Hartnell Tomas Vanek Ville Leino

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