During their first eleven games, the Buffalo Sabres have failed miserably in many areas, excelling only in the area known as "having Thomas Vanek." Though they won on Thursday (thank the hockey gods) the team is still in 14th place and so far has struggled in many areas in this young season.
We know that a long losing streak is constructed from many deficiencies, but just for the sake of argument, we want to know what you think is the #1 reason for the Sabres struggles. Also, since all of these things fall under the realm of coaching, we're taking the "Fire Lindy Ruff" option off of the table - this is purely about what's happening on the ice. Here are your voting options for the poll below:
Faceoffs: The Sabres rank dead last in the NHL in faceoff percentage. They've had more than a handful of goals against result directly from a lost faceoff, and only have one regular facoff man above 50% - Steve Ott.
Secondary Scoring: Thomas Vanek has 10 goals, his linemates Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson have combined for 11 more, but the entire rest of the team has tallied just 14 goals combined. Once that top line inevitably cools off, this team will be in trouble if the other 20 guys can't pick up the slack.
The Defense: Good news, everyone! The Sabres are no longer in last place in the NHL in goals against. Bad news, everyone! They're now tied for 29th place in the NHL in goals against. Myers, Leopold, and pretty much everyone else except Alex Sulzer have been disappointing thus far, and it seems like every game the Sabres are giving up four or more goals against.
Puck Possession: The Sabres are having trouble completing passes, they can't win battles along the boards, they can't get the puck out of their own zone, and they have trouble entering the offensive zone with possession. That's not a good recipe for success.
Special Teams Play: Buffalo currently ranks 20th in the NHL on the power play, and 19th on the penalty kill. Of their seven power play goals, three came in the first game against Philadelphia. Since then, they've been ineffective, and that impotence with the man advantage makes it tough to win.
Other: Did we forget something? Let us know what you think in the comments.