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Is "The System" to Blame for Torres Offensive Struggles ?

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This post was inspired by a fanPost by our great community member krytime. He asked if the Lindy Ruff system was difficult to understand and that inspired me to look into it a little bit deeper.

The Buffalo Sabres have not had too much luck with trade deadline acquisitions in past years. Many people are starting to think the acquisition of Raffi Torres will fall in the category of bust. Torres has not scored yet in seven games played and he has missed the past two games with a mysterious upper body injury.

He was expected to add "sandpaper" to the Sabres lineup and have the potential to create some offense along the way. He is a big bodied player that never shies away from physical play and he had 19 goals i 60 games with the Blue Jackets before the trade.

There is still time for Torres to become comfortable in the Sabres system but so far he has not developed much chemistry with his teammates. He has spent most of his time on the third and fourth lines and that could be a factor in his lack of offensive production. 

Is it playing on the third and fourth lines that has held Torres back or is it the "Lindy Ruff System"? The Lindy Ruff system is built on a defense first mentality and it seems it is difficult to understand. The Sabres came out of the lockout with a system that was built on speed and offense, when Drury and Briere bolted in the same off-season that system was replaced with a system built on defense.

It took a long time for the current players to buy into the system, (see missing the playoffs the last two seasons). If it took the players who have already been here for a couple of seasons to understand it, why should we expect new players to understand it?

This season it is Torres that seems to have regressed, last season it was Dominic Moore who disappeared in a Sabres uniform and a couple of seasons ago Dainius Zubrus seen his offensive numbers crumble to almost nothing. The one player that seemed to do okay in recent seasons was Steve Bernier but even he fell off after a fast start.


2010 GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Columbus - Raffi Torres 60 19 12 31 -8 32 7 0 3 0 99 19.0
Buffalo - Raffi Torres 7 0 2 2 -2 0 0 0 0 0 10 0.0


2009 GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Maple Leafs - Dominic Moore 63 12 29 41 -1 69 4 1 1 0 132 9.1
Buffalo - Dominic Moore 18 1 3 4 -1 23 0 0 0 0 33 3.0


2006 GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Capitals - Dainius Zubrus 60 20 32 52 -16 50 9 0 4 0 127 15.7
Buffalo - Dainius Zubrus 19 4 4 8 -3 12 1 0 0 0 31 12.9


The numbers above clearly show the Sabres have had very little success with deadline acquisitions. Should we blame Darcy Regier for bringing in the wrong players or does the blame go to Lindy Ruff for making goos players look invisible?

Sabres fans are always quick to defend Lindy Ruff but sometimes we have to take the good with the bad. Ruff is a good coach that builds teams that are made to win in the playoffs but his system is difficult and takes some time to understand.

The original question was whether or not the Lindy Ruff system was difficult to understand and the answer is yes. It is either difficult to understand or difficult to buy in to.

Raffi Torres will not put up the offensive numbers he did in Columbus but if he decides to buy into the system, his physical play will be a welcome addition over Clarke MacArthur in the playoffs. Let's not judge Torres by his offensive numbers but instead by his on ice contribution. Remember that Zubrus was brought here to help the offense but instead a he was a key defensive forward in the playoffs. He bought into the Lindy Ruff system, lets hope Torres does the same.