30) Who should be on the second line? Pominville-Leino-Ennis. Since Leino’s biggest attribute is that he can control the puck behind the net, I think it would help if he had snipers who can shoot the one-timers in the slot. #29 and #63 have those abilities. Ennis and Pomer are good for at least 20-25 goals, and if Leino can develop into a decent enough set-up man, this should be a formidable unit. Plus, Pommer is more than able to play well in his own zone and should add a sense of balance to the line. I also like having Leino and Ennis on the same line because I see a little bit of Danny Briere in #63. We all know that Leino flourished while playing Briere in Philly.
29) How should the Sabres improve their gameday telecasts? No more whip. If you have been a reader of this blog for the last year or so, you know that I’m sick and tired of The Whip. It’s the same topics about fighting or playoff formats or hits to the head. There are just not enough topics to keep me entertained. I’ve always wanted a hockey hot stove session for the intermission report. Have a couple of local reporters talk about the dealings in the NHL. I know Bucky’s not the most popular person in the world, but he has sources around the league and I think if he did his version of Pierre Lebrun, I think it could work. At least it keeps it current. We all know the NHL does such a piss poor job in taking a regional sport and making it more national, so, why not have a intermission report dedicated to the rest of the league? If that doesn’t work, get the beat writer for the opposing team on the air. I’m just over the whip. It seemed great on paper, but that paper has faded.
28) Will Stafford surpass his season total for goals from last year? Yes. If the Sabres put Stafford with Roy, I think it should make Stafford’s game take off. I couldn’t even tell you who was Stafford’s center last year because the center position became a revolving door after Roy got hurt. The crazy thing about Stafford is he scored 31 goals in just 62 games. He was Mr. Hat trick with four for the season. It’s crazy that almost 40% of his goals came in four games. I hope everyone is right about Stafford being all grown up. I have to admit, I chuckled at his little workout video he did with the Sabres a few weeks ago. It also made me do a double take because I thought back to last year when everyone had a problem with #21 being a hipster and playing a guitar, but it’s totally fine for him to wear a sleeveless Gaustad shirt and do a comedy show. I’m making a joke, but if he made that video last year at this time, people would have been killing him for it. Yeah, scoring 31 goals makes a difference, right?
27) Who will be the new Connolly? Brad Boyes. So we are clear, to be the new Connolly, means that you are going to get picked on. Cue up the WGR postgame show and a bunch of drunk fans demanding Boyes’ head on a platter. I just don’t know where the Sabres plan on playing Boyes. They are loaded at wing and we all know that he can’t play center. Are they going to line him up with Goose? McCormick? I feel kind of bad for him, but you can’t ignore that he went scoreless in almost 20 games (including playoffs) at the end of last season. I know he has legit excuse, like having him play center when he’s not a center. However, I just see the Sabres burying him on the 4th line. Then again, Lindy likes to mix it up. Even still, you can’t ignore the fact that Boyes went from 76 goals in two seasons to 31 in the next two. Plus, I heard a lot of rumblings from fans/media members during the summer that they thought the Sabres should have gotten rid of him. That’s not a good start. Like I said, new Connolly.
26) How many games will Enroth play? 23 1/3. No clue how I came up with that number. I just made it up. Yes, we all know the deal with the goalie rotation. Miller isn’t a spring chicken anymore and I don’t think Lindy wants him to start 65-70 games a year. If the Sabres plan on going deep in the playoffs, Miller needs to be fresh in April. As for Enroth, he was a huge part of the Sabres push to the playoffs, as he went 6-1-1 in March and April while Miller was nursing injuries. From Hasek to Miller, we all know Ruff has never been able to master the goalie rotation in years past. If the back-up goalie screws up once, he’s dead to Ruff. I’d also like to point out that I think Enroth played well because he played in the minors last year and remained fresh. He’s not going to have that opportunity this year. Even still, I think with the defense being rebuilt, it should make it easier for Enroth to play more this season at a high level.
In case you missed, here are some of the questions I’ve already answered about the Sabres this season.