Die By the Blade Doghouse: January 28, 2010

What started out as a simple joke has transformed into a superstition for the Buffalo Sabres which is showing shocking results. I've begun calling players out during game threads for their lousy efforts in previous matches and it seems to have inexplicably brought about improvements shortly afterwards. Three individuals have been singled out and they've all answered their criticism.

With such a success rate, it's only reasonable that I continue in hopes of stretching this streak. Chris Butler was the first to be called out two weeks ago in Atlanta because of ill-advised penalties and giveaways. Since then, he's scored his first goal, added two assists and kept an even plus-minus rating in seven games.

The second example is Adam Mair who I suggested be scratched after his showing in San Jose last weekend. Mind you, the gritty forward had no goals up to that point and since my remarks has scored twice in as many games. And lastly, Derek Roy was on my radar for the wrong reasons in Vancouver on Monday. He registered an assist yesterday on Mair's goal, Buffalo's only tally.

Our fourth choice is between Steve Montador and Toni Lydman who were healthy scratches yesterday. As the fourth entry into the Die By the Blade doghouse, I select Montador because of his minus-five rating in the last two contests and awful misplays offensively and defensively.

Plus, Buffalo's next match is tomorrow against the Boston Bruins, Montador's former team. He scored a goal against another of his ex-clubs in the Anaheim Ducks during the Sabres' road trip. If he's back in the line-up, I like his chances of getting back in Lindy Ruff's good graces.

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