Sabres’ Lack of Physicality Is a Major Flaw Early in 2020-21

Hockey is a game generally fitted with tons of emotion, especially when things aren’t going well for your side. Currently sitting in last region in the MassMutual East Division, the Buffalo Sabres’ trio of wizard Jack Eichel, former Hart Trophy-winner Taylor Hall, and former 40 -goal scorer Jeff Skinner have combined for a grand total of simply three goals in 14 plays to begin the 2020 -2 1 season. Despite a stacked roster, the team was riding a four-game losing skid up until Saturday afternoon, when they managed to survive the New Jersey Devils‘ late comeback pushing by one aim, 3-2.

The Sabres, who are looking to stave off a decade-long postseason drought, should be extremely frustrated with how their season has started. Consistently losing games due to shots off of the post, missing the net by inches on wide-open opportunities, or goaltenders is inadequate to induce clutch saves at crucial times, Buffalo is struggling to stay afloat despite many reigning performances. It is absolutely clear that the followers are angry with the results, but are the players too?

Sabres Have Just One Fighting Major This Season

One of the most common ways to respond to frustration and get your team fired back up in a hockey play is to drop the gloves with the foe. The Sabres have done so just once this season, and it occurred in their season-opener before they knew what was coming in the abysmal weeks to follow. Jake McCabe, Buffalo’s only fighter this season, went toe-to-toe with Washington Capital defenceman Brenden Dillon late in the third period when the Capitals led, 5-3. Less than three minutes later, the Sabres responded with a purpose to bring the game within one. Buffalo has turned into a laughingstock with only five wins through their first 14 plays. How come no other musicians on the roster have let their humors flare like McCabe?

Jake McCabe Buffalo SabresJake McCabe is the only Buffalo Sabres musician this season with a fighting major.( THE HOCKEY WRITERS/ Amy Irvin)

Currently leading the conference in combats, an evidently frustrated Ottawa Senators team has plummeted the gloves nine occasions. The only other teams that match the Sabres’ single struggle major this season are the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and Dallas Stars, who are all off to considerably better starts. This lack of aggression and willingness to answer the bell is a concerning marker of Buffalo’s passion and eagerness to win earlier today. Losing night after night and being seen as a walk-through opponent was not the Sabres’ project heading into this season, but they’re allowing it to happen without any answers. Someone needs to stand up and prove that Buffalo is not a pushover team. So far, they appear to be exactly that.

Simply Five Players Have Recorded 15 or More Makes

Even outside of fighting, the Sabres have shown little to no aggression through their first 14 games. It is an extremely rare sight to see Buffalo play a hard-hitting shift to help build some momentum. Rasmus Ristolainen contributes the team’s hit count by a mile, with 35 hittings in ten games played. He likewise happens to be one of the Sabres’ best musicians this season, along with McCabe. Unfortunately, both musicians are absent from the lineup right now, so the team needs more musicians to step up.

Rasmus Ristolainen Buffalo SabresRasmus Ristolainen leads-in the Buffalo Sabres with 35 hits in ten plays.( THE HOCKEY WRITERS/ Amy Irvin)

Only four Sabres have at least 20 hittings this season: Ristolainen, Curtis Lazar( 28 ), Colin Miller( 26) and McCabe( 22 ). Just behind them, Matt Irwin rounds out the top-five hitting presidents with 15 ten-strikes over his six appearances this season. Five musicians with 15 or more strikes, including a player who isn’t even a regular in the lineup? That is simply not enough, particularly for a team that is struggling to put the puck in the net. If Buffalo can’t score goals, present they can fight, or lay smashes on their opponents, what’s the point of them even playing at all?

This lack of aggression and resistance has given the Sabres a very uninspiring appear and style of play-act. Buffalo needs to address this major issue if they crave any hope of a playoff spot in a tough and physical MassMutual East Division.

As the Sabres’ season continues to slip away, they’ll need to find some physicality before it is too late. With Ristolainen( COVID-1 9 recovery) and McCabe( lower-body injury) out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, the team is down to simply two lineup regulars with at least 15 smashes( Lazar and Miller ). Will anyone else strengthened in, or will Buffalo accept their title as the MassMutual East Division’s pushover squad? Something must be amended, and fast.

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