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Sabres Try to Avoid Olympic Hangover

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Way back in the summer we wondered what effect the Olympics would play in the NHL season, especially for those that participated in the games. The Sabres had five players that took part in the games and two of those players, Toni Lydman and Jochen Hecht also took part in the 2006 Olympics.

I started to wonder how those players played before and after the Olympics back in 2006 in effort to predict how they might fare this season. Below I will take a look at how those players played four seasons ago,


Jochen Hecht

GP G A PTS +/-
Before 54 15 15 30
After 10 3 9 12


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Jochen Hecht 60 13 16 29 5 29 1 0 1 0 174 7.5




Toni Lydman

GP G A PTS +/-
Before 50 1 11 12 14
After 25 0 5 5 -5


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Toni Lydman 45 1 10 11 2 24 0 0 0 0 35 2.9

 

It will be interesting to see how the final 22 games play out for the two players I listed above. Both players have similar stats this season in comparison to their stats in the 2005-2006 season. Jochen Hecht had decent numbers after the tournament but he also missed time due to injury. Toni Lydman appeared to struggle after winning the silver medal with Finland in 2006.

In 2006 the Sabres had three Olympians in addition to Hecht and Lydman. None of those players remain on the team but I thought it would be fun to look at their before and after stats anyway. Most players showed almost no effect from their participation.

 


Teppo Numminen

GP G A PTS +/-
Before 50 0 30 30 -3
After 20 2 8 10 +9


Maxim Afinogenov

GP G A PTS +/-
Before 51 14 28 42 +6
After 26 8 23 31 0


Chris Drury

GP G A PTS +/-
Before 55 17 25 42 -10
After 26 13 12 25 -1

 

The effect is minimal but it looks like some players gained some momentum. It's not fair to compare Sekera and Tallinder to the players I have listed but overall I think we can expect them to at least maintain their current level of play.

As for Sekera I think he gained some valuable experience and should be in the lineup for the Sabres down the stretch. Sekera played against some of the best players in the world and he was effective for the surprising Slovaks. Sekera was the only Sabres player that actually scored a goal in Vancouver.

There are 22 games left for the Sabres to overtake the Ottawa Senators and regain the division lead. The Sabres will need everyone to step up and the players who played in Vancouver will be a key part of this squad down the stretch.