Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

November 21, 2008

SCHMITT: Sabres need to shake up roster

BUFFALO — Among the token few media types floating around the press box at HSBC Arena on Friday were a writer and photographer from the German edition of GQ Magazine. The pair spent the last few afternoons in sunny Western New York working on a profile of Sabres forward Jochen Hecht, a piece that will most certainly discuss the sense of style Buffalo’s former captain displays.

But the duo didn’t see anything stylish on Friday.

At least not from the home team.

Buffalo botched a pair of 5-on-3s, watched veterans make careless mistakes on defense, and missed a ton of early chances in dropping a 3-0 uggo to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Even the one time the Sabres lit the lamp was anything but attractive. And it was eventually waved off.

Drew Stafford had a wide-open net, but whiffed on a pass, sweeping it instead into the leg of former teammate Martin Biron. Stafford thought he scored and turned to celebrate.

He tripped, and Derek Roy stumbled over top of him.

No style points whatsoever.

Falling flat at home yet again is bad enough, but it’s compounded when the head coach used the game to send a message. Even though Ryan Miller has been shaky, Ruff went right back to him Friday. He wanted this game to snap the skid.

Since Maxim Afinogenov has been his typical befuddling self, he found a seat in the press box. Same for Henrik Tallinder.

To be honest, the Afinogenov and Tim Connolly sagas have reached a point where they’re counterproductive. It can’t build team unity to see Max and his big paycheck sitting in the box after making the same mistakes night after night. And Connolly has shown the courage of a field mouse in the last 18 months. To count on him as a difference maker is ridiculous.

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