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1 minute ago, freester said:

Do people think Staal has been effective?  So far he doesn’t look like the answer at 2C to me. 

I think he has not been impactful.  A little disappointing so far.  Not terrible though, apart from that one terrible turnover.  He seems to have most just been around.  I would expect him to get better in coming games.

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56 minutes ago, freester said:

Do people think Staal has been effective?  So far he doesn’t look like the answer at 2C to me. 

No he hasn’t been effective, but you have to work with what you have.  I think we’ll get more as he learns his teammates and system.

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I have complained about this for several years now, but the failure to replace the grit/physical play in the bottom six since the departure of Foligno, Carrier, and to a lesser extent Deslauriers is downright embarrassing.   Even worse, add in the loss of Larsson this year, plus the season long injury to Girgs.  Now think about their replacements of the last 3-4 years.  

 

I'm not even talking about anyone in the forward ranks who would drop the gloves to stand up for a teammate. 

 

This is a big issue, and is a reflection on the GM, HC, and any other hockey staff who have input into the NHL roster.  Even if they found a way to the playoffs, this team would get destroyed, as the sledding becomes much more difficult.

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1 hour ago, LabattBlue said:

I have complained about this for several years now, but the failure to replace the grit/physical play in the bottom six since the departure of Foligno, Carrier, and to a lesser extent Deslauriers is downright embarrassing.   Even worse, add in the loss of Larsson this year, plus the season long injury to Girgs.  Now think about their replacements of the last 3-4 years.  

 

I'm not even talking about anyone in the forward ranks who would drop the gloves to stand up for a teammate. 

 

This is a big issue, and is a reflection on the GM, HC, and any other hockey staff who have input into the NHL roster.  Even if they found a way to the playoffs, this team would get destroyed, as the sledding becomes much more difficult.

I'm going to somewhat disagree.  The only guys who have been showing up up front this season are really Sheahan and Lazar.  We do need more grit and forechecking in general, but it's the upper end guys like Skinner, Hall, Olofsson, Reinhart that need more commitment to that.  Olofsson made a great forechecking play on Chara to set up Staal's goal and then never hit someone again for the rest of the night.

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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I'm going to somewhat disagree.  The only guys who have been showing up up front this season are really Sheahan and Lazar.  We do need more grit and forechecking in general, but it's the upper end guys like Skinner, Hall, Olofsson, Reinhart that need more commitment to that.  Olofsson made a great forechecking play on Chara to set up Staal's goal and then never hit someone again for the rest of the night.

...but we all know that in most cases a leopard doesn't change his spots.  Guys who shy away from physical contact at the beginning of their careers, usually shy away from it for their entire careers.  Thats why anyone thinking that Tage and Dahlin were going to turn into more physical players just because they packed on some pounds, have been disappointed.

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2 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I'm going to somewhat disagree.  The only guys who have been showing up up front this season are really Sheahan and Lazar.  We do need more grit and forechecking in general, but it's the upper end guys like Skinner, Hall, Olofsson, Reinhart that need more commitment to that.  Olofsson made a great forechecking play on Chara to set up Staal's goal and then never hit someone again for the rest of the night.

Hall has been hitting people and has been hit.  He's not shying away from anything. Olofsson has been completely engaged and caused more turnovers after the Chara one. He's not going to hit anyone.. he's too small.  Skinner.. another story but he's in the bottom 6 🙂

The Sabres are not going to play a physically pounding game.  They don't need to. They do, however, need to be hard to play against and that means challenging all pucks and making it difficult on the other team to move around the ice.  That doesn't require hitting, but it certainly requires a lot more urgency in their skating than they've had so far this year.

1 hour ago, LabattBlue said:

...but we all know that in most cases a leopard doesn't change his spots.  Guys who shy away from physical contact at the beginning of their careers, usually shy away from it for their entire careers.  Thats why anyone thinking that Tage and Dahlin were going to turn into more physical players just because they packed on some pounds, have been disappointed.

Dahlin has played physical in the past. This season, right now, is an anomaly for him.  One that needs to get turned around really quick.  Tage is still trying to do too much but he's never going to be that physical. I agree there.

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Grit isn’t necessary if they play fast. Sheahan and Rieder play fast. Girgensons and Okposo are our grit and they’re hurt. The problem is not the bottom 6 right now at all. The top6 isn’t getting their bounces. Neither is Skinner, despite endless chances he has had.

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IMHO, there are multiple types of grit.  One is the ability to play a heavy game consistently.  Another is to be relentlessly in your opponent's face.  A third is sacrificing to block shots, passes, cover up, etc.  Others include stepping up intensity, concentration, attention to detail, tenacity, etc.

Chicago and Pittsburgh were not particularly physical, but they were everything else.  St. Louis, LA, Washington, and TB were more physical.

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Pipe dream because Hall and Eichel won’t get split up until game 45 if it even happens at all... but I really want to see;

 

Skinner-Eichel-Oloffson

Hall-Staal-Reinhart

Rieder-Eakin-Cozens

Girgensons/Sheahan-Lazar/Mittelstadt -Okposo/Thompson


Eichel works better with two obligate finishers since he barely maintains a cycle anyway.

Hall needs the puck on his stick so pair him with two smart players who always play hot potato with the puck anyway.  I’d honestly swap Cozens and Reinhart here but them are fighting words  


Double shift Eichel between Hall and Reinhart like they are today when Staal is gassed, or let Cozens rotate in as 2C from time to time.  Staal’s minute need to stay low. 
 

In the future, a third line could be Mittelstadt-Asplund-Thompson/Quinn that grows into a second line years later

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