I am an optimist, I like Lindy Ruff and I think there will be at least 3 games at First Niagara in the 2013 post season.
In a counterpoint to mttzkr87's post, I think the Sabres are at the very least a shot at the post season as they are. I'll be brief, as I have a habit of making massively long winded posts and losing the point I'm trying to make in the process.
1: Cody Hodgson is an unknown factor. Coming in at the tail end of February, and putting in for 20 games in a new town is bound to be a tough gig, especially when you go from being a 3rd liner to top six responsibilities. It's unreasonable to heap all the built up unrealized expectation of Erhoff, Regher, Leino and Boyes on to the new guy. That said, he could put up point per game production and make everyone around him infinitely better for it. A full season out of Hodgson will be an improvement on Roy's last year in a sabre sweater.
2: Steve Ott is a character acquisition as much as he is a physical presence. Everything about him oozes an excellent locker room mentality and team first philosophy. That will raise every guy around him and help move the philosophy over to where everyone knows it needs to be ( exhibit A : Christian Erhoff fighting Colin Greening after Miller gets clipped. Again. ) He's not going to put up a million points but he'll put up enough to contribute.
3: Grigorenko will get at least 9 games with the big boys. Probably more if the NHL-CHL roadblock doesn't survive the new CBA negotiations. His size and skill in the juniors is unquestionable, and given his seemingly quiet summit series performance may seem disappointing on the surface, all reports indicate an excellent defense first attitude against the Canadian junior side. which is good news for Sabre fans. Better to have a top prospect play his own end properly and heat up toward the tail end of the year than to get another Luke Adam. We have one of him already, that's' not to say I would be upset to see him crack the lineup, I just prefer two way centers in my top 6.
4: Miller had a bad year, and he knows it. Despite staying in the top half dozen keepers in the kind of ridiculous statistics no regular human would give a second thought to, Miller got beat up repeatedly in 11/12 and that shakes you up. When you have a skill guy like Erhoff dropping gloves to defend you, you're probably going to have a little voice inside wondering how many times am I going to get nailed. On top of which theres some pretty loud talk about Miller getting traded amidst an outstanding performance from Enroth that see games scheduled for Miller handed to the second stringer. I don't care who you are, having the backup take your games, and win them, puts a dent in the armor. Adding Ott, who will no doubt stand for none of this goalie interference business and spur the rest of the blue and gold into such an attitude should give Miller that touch of security. A healthy Defense corps in front of him will help immeasurably...
5: Defense. You are a crazy person if you think Buffalo has not learned from last season's barrel scraping injury crisis. I think we can safely tread water a lot better this year in the event of losing a couple of the mainstays on defense with a mix of minor leaguers and prospects on the bubble. Enough to scrape through a few games we maybe shouldn't if Myers and Erhoff and Sekera all go down. We won't win them all, but we'll be in a better position to at least give Miller a better chance to be Vezina Miller instead of Lucic'd Miller and make it out with some points.
6. Leino has everything to prove. He knows it, We know it. A second season under the Ruff system should see him starting to acclimate. If he can find a guy to work with consistently ( Grigorenko or Girgensons maybe ) there's every reason he should hit some form and put up some numbers.
I'll leave it there. This is why I am optimistic.
This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.