On Thursday night, the Buffalo Sabres entered a new era. Some are proclaiming it as the "Martin Biron era," while others are withholding judgement. Either way, the Sabres are following in the Bills footsteps in losing their opening game of the season. Against the Atlanta Thrashers, they could not generate enough offense to light a 20 watt light bulb, let alone a goal light as the Thrashers upset the Sabres 2-1 in Buffalo's own building.
Archives for October 5, 2001
'Too may times, Buffalo slowly passed the puck around the Thrashers' zone, making extra passes. In doing so, they forgot the most basic hockey cliche – get the puck on the net, because good things happen when you do.'
In the first game of the post-Hasek era, keeping the puck out of the net was not the problem, putting something other than a sliding Slava Kozlov into the opponent's net when it really counted was.
'The welcome mat wasn't out long for the Buffalo Sabres. They were booed on opening night.'
'For opponents of a Sabres squad that has long been thin on offense, two goals often have been enough. But Biron insists that this season will be different – eventually.'
'Barnes is a class act who adds instant credibility to the organization. He's been an honest, standup guy since the day he entered the National Hockey League. He was the voice of reason in the dressing room Thursday night after the Sabres' uninspiring 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers in the opener. This is no time for worry, he said, and fans should believe him.'
'"I thought for the first couple periods he was one of our better players," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He skated well. He had a couple great opportunities to score. I was surprised at how well he did."'
'The Thrashers are wearing their home, white uniforms in their first two games, as Buffalo and Boston both opted to wear their alternate third jerseys (the Sabres' red and the Bruins' gold).'
'Not only did the Buffalo Sabres unload Mr. Vezina, goalie Dominik Hasek, during the off-season, they apparently followed the lead of the NFL's Bills and switched to the West Coast offense.'
'His team had a strong defensive effort, killing off seven straight Buffalo power plays (including a 5-on-3 in the second period) until Woolley's disputed goal. Forwards backchecked, defensemen cleared the slot in front of Hnilicka, allowing him to see the puck, and the Czech goalie allowed few rebounds. The team also employed its version of the "left wing lock," in which one forechecker forces play to one side of the ice, making it easier for four forwards to clog the neutral zone.'