Someone should tell Ron Rolston that just because the Rochester Americans are the Buffalo Sabres farm team, doesn't mean they have to go through the typical Buffalo December slump.
The Amerks have slipped over the past few weeks from fifth to tenth place, and they're only in tenth thanks to a win on Tuesday night. Before Tuesday, the Amerks were just 2-6 in their previous 8 games - sound familiar, Sabres fans?
Do the Amerks have excuses? Sure - they're suffering through a barrage of injuries. So far this year, Corey Tropp, Cody Hodgson, Zemgus Girgensons,Luke Adam, Nick Tarnasky, and Matt MacKenzie, among others, have already missed significant time, most notably Tropp (out for the season) and Hodgson (out for a few weeks), both expected to be centerpieces to the core of the Amerks team this season.
Have they played a tough schedule? Sure - and it's about to get tougher. From Amerks.com,
The busy month will see Rochester square off with seven different opponents, including a rematch with league-leading Abbotsford, while the upcoming schedule also features a trio of meetings each with Toronto, Lake Erie and intrastate rival Binghamton. Rochester’s most grueling stretch of the month comes during a four-game homestand over six nights in the final week of December.
So there's plenty of reason why they should be slumping to fall back on, but it's still depressing to see a team that started so well fall back in the standings. Yes, they're only three points out of fifth place, but they're also only four points out of last.
Rochester plays again tonight and on Saturday as well, against the Lake Erie Monsters and Toronto Marlies, two teams ahead of them in the standings. With Girgensons and Tarnasky returning and Hodgson set to return soon, the Amerks will look to some key contributors returning from injury to spark a run that will move them back into a top-8 spot in the AHL.