The month of February is not over yet but the Sabres played their last game a couple of weeks ago. I thought a day off before the Olympic Semi-Finals was a perfect time to start thinking about the Sabres again. Next week we will go full swing into the trade deadline and today we look back at the month of February.
February was billed as the month of the Olympics. Somebody forgot to tell the Sabres the Olympics didn't start until the second half of the month. The Sabres were downright awful during February but they salvaged some respectability by beating the San Jose Sharks in the final game before the break.
We can break down what went wrong during the first couple of months of the season but it's easier to look forward to next week and remember the team is on a one game winning streak. Does one game constitute a winning streak? Oh who cares, the Sabres won their last game and they have a tough week ahead of them next week.
February Goal Scoring
|PP Goals Against||0||5|
|SH Goals Against||0||0|
February Individual Stats
|#||Player||Pos||GP||G||A||PTS||+/-||PIM||PPG||SHG||Corsi||Corsi/Game||Corsi +/- Last Month|
I had to really dig deep to find anything nice to say about the Sabres play in the month of February. Luckily Ryan Miller has been spectacular in the Olympics and I'm in a pretty good mood.
I thought the line of Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford played the best they have all season, both as a unit and individually. They were creating offensive chances and they were plus or even players for the month. All three also had positive Corsi Numbers for the month as well.
I briefly mentioned Ryan Miller above, but his Olympic play is a definite positive for the Sabres. Miller has been the go-to guy for the team all season and if he plays like he is doing right now, he will be the go-to guy again.
Go ahead an grab yourself a Snickers bar because we might be here for awhile. There were so many negatives during the month of February that I am sick to my stomach just thinking about it. The Sabres had only one win during the entire month and that was on February 13 against the San Jose Sharks.
They found new ways to lose every night. Some games were blowouts, some they blew leads, some went to overtime and others went to a shootout. The method of achieving the result might have changed but the result was almost always a loss and now the Sabres find themselves in second place (with three games in hand).
We always talk about Ryan Miller being the most important part of the team and we have to call him out when he is bad. It was by far his worst month statistically and he struggled with his positioning on numerous occasions. We can talk about the defensive play and getting away from the "system" but ultimately a goalie gets paid to make saves, not excuses. There is no denying that Miller labored through the month but he appears to be back on track.
Another player that has received well deserved praise from us all season is Tyler Myers. Myers is still a key part of the team and he is immensely talented but once again it is hard to deny he struggled through February. The Olympic break could be exactly what he needs to get back on track and get ready for the stretch run and the playoffs.
We talked about how Steve Montador was a surprise and was bringing more to the team than any of us expected he would. In February he was much worse than any of us anticipated he could be. We started to get a glimpse of why he has not been able to stay in one place and why the Sabres were his third team in two seasons. He is another player that cold use the Olympic break to clear his mind and get back to playing decent hockey.
I could go on but I won't. The Sabres collectively struggled through the month of February and needed the break to get some momentum back.
Andrej Sekera was a pleasant surprise in the offensive zone but his defensive lapses sent him back to the press box by the end of the month. Many players needed the break to get some rest while Sekera is taking advantage of some ice time with the Slovakian team at the Olympics. I was rooting for them to win in the qualifying round so Sekera could get at least one more game to get some playing time.
Player of the Month
#9 / Center / Buffalo Sabres
May 04, 1983
Monthly Stats: 7GP 5G-1A-6PTS