Buffalo Sabres knocked the Toronto Maple Leafs down plenty last night, but couldn't knock them out. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Losing is just frustrating - granted it's not as bad as the times the team showed no heart and lost, but it's still galling to lose, especially to division rivals after playing a good game with very limited resources at hand. What's worse is that this current 3-game slide has all been on the road, where the Sabres have been better. And even worse than that is Thomas Vanek is hurt. Coach Lindy Ruff is being cagey, proclaiming him day-to-day with an upper body injury, but that could be anything.
While we're talking about injuries, the Sabres are now tied with the Wild and the Jets for most skaters (30) and players dressed (33). If you still haven't sent off your lists to Santa, please add health regeneration or medic kits for the Sabres to them (depending on whether you're a MW3 or BF3 fan). Three days to Christmas, so on to today's question on the '12 Questions For Christmas' series.
#3 - Who will lead the Buffalo Sabres in +/- at the end of the season?
Going by the projections (as per after the Senators game), Marc-Andre Gragnani is on track to lead the team. Not a popular choice by any means as the fanbase seems divided whether they want to give the rookie time to mature and turn into a solid offensive d-man, or trade him while memories of last year's playoff series against the Flyers are still kind of fresh, like the slightly-dry sushi at the Wegman's deli counter around nine in the evening.
Gragnani was the topic in a previous question as well, so this is less a debate of his abilities and more an indictment of the Sabres' defensive play overall. Currently Gragnani is at +11. In second place are Nathan Gerbe and Jochen Hecht tied at +4, and both injured. Next is Vanek at +2 and also injured. Andrej Sekera and Paul Gaustad follow at +1, and that concludes the number of Sabres on the positive side. If that isn't depressing I don't know what is.
So we're putting the question out there, who do you feel will be leading the team in +/- by the end of the season, and why? While you still have your thinking caps on, what will the magic number be?*
* Sabres +/- leaders after the lockout: '10-'11 - Steve Montador +16; '09-'10 - Jochen Hecht +14; '08-'09 - Tim Connolly +12; '07-'08 - Jason Pominville +16; '06-'07 - Thomas Vanek +47; '05-'06 - Dmitri Kalinin +14.