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Size does matter but it all depends on what you do with it.

May 17, 2023, 2:01 AM ET [1633 Comments]
Brad Lohr
Buffalo Sabres Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hey Sabre fans. I am very excited to get involved with being a part of your passion for this team and the sport overall. These playoffs have been eye opening to say the least but not entirely surprising. We all have our rooted biases that blind us, and when expectations are high, we are demoralized when our desired results don't come to fruition.

Lace them up people. Our favorite sport is one of the most unscripted competitions ever to be played. Players get poked and tweaked, fans start to geek. Survival of the fittest. Playoffs are for the tenacious who refuse to back down. It takes a certain type of personality that lies beneath the surface. It shows up and it is immediately recognized, or it comes out of nowhere. The best regular season teams are vulnerable, and they don't even know it until they are tested. Buckle your chin straps. This is not a Tuesday in November. People remember how to hit, interference is allowed, and the stick is more than just a scoring weapon.

It is our sport, and the nature of the game is physical. The playoffs remind us of the brutality on the mind and body.

Entertain us gladiators. This is what it is all about. Rising above bad moments or periods and embracing the everchanging challenges. We are blessed to have a mutual connection. Whether you have played or are just a spectator, hockey is something like no other game.

Its unpredictability can overwhelm. Star players can be neutralized. The ice gets smaller. There is zero room out there. Heroes find a way to succeed. It's like running through a corn field being swarmed by bees.

Can Panthers survive Hurricanes?

Are our Knights littered with Stars?

The quest for the cup has been nothing but entertaining. I can't wait for my team to have the opportunity to compete so we can find out who unfurls their sails during the storm.

After my first write as your representative I thought I would try and put together something from the current playoff situations, comments from the online banter through the site, and my own thoughts about all of it. I do understand the relevance of everybody’s perspective, and I am going to try address them as I see fit but frankly nobody is throwing me an elbow I didn’t see coming. I will in the near future participate and try to get to know everyone better. I am committed to being open and involved. Sorry to the younger generation who do not get the references to the past, but that is just too bad. You have no building blocks; this franchise needs to be looked at as a whole. There are many amazing moments that are a fabric of the future. We will talk about the playoff drought. We will talk about a baffled Bourque as he was relentlessly pounded by Brad May during an unbelievable sweep that introduced Hasek in front of our hometown fans. We will embrace a moment in time when Andy Moog bit on number 27’s move from a view in the corner where the beer garden hid behind the red seats. We also will focus more or the current situation and the enormous opportunities ahead for our beloved Buffalo Sabres. It’s the offseason for us. Watching other teams as a hockey fan is fun but it doesn’t fulfill me nor should it. I want playoff hockey for my community. I want to see our guys respond when they are punched in the mouth. I want to feel the energy in the building.
Zhitnik once said, “It’s not the size of the ship, it’s the motion in the ocean.” He had legs bigger than tree trunks and could skate with the best, but he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. He was ours though, and we embraced him. Every player is different. So many components to put together. This is being played out in the NHL playoffs today. Formulating a model is complicated and success is being had in different styles and cultivated formulas with different insight.

To Mr. Mehoff in the first twenty comments of my initial thread, I would own you and make your gut come out with laughter. I have a million of them and have lived in a hockey locker room for most of my life. My boys don’t need the internet to bring more funny names to the table. My friend Wyatt Burns was not impressed... I will talk about Mr. Quinn because he is relevant to the future. Team Canada is lucky to have him. I bet you have had a few stinky gloves to the face, but I do understand that they are earned. Kind of a badge of honor. I know the cut of your jib. No matter how big you are that was weak.

For the heck of it let’s look at the matchups in the last round. They have been very intriguing to say the least. Victories are coming with different concepts. Things have been volatile and inconsistent for sure. Players are human and deal with pressure in different ways. Coaches need to channel what isn’t working and try to change it. It is complicated to say the least. Small payers need to transcend their size and big players need to use theirs. The lack of fear infused with courage is essential. Big guys have the pendulum to get the velocity, but little people can use speed and be a bullet cleaning the corner with mettle. There are ways to dominate regardless of your frame. Mind-set is everything. Bring the game to you in the offensive zone. Here were last rounds playoff battles along with the many former Sabres and their performances in the quest.

Eastern Conference

Panthers vs. Leafs

Panthers continue their momentum. Very impressive.

The Leafs were in trouble from the start. I was perplexed by their inability to put it together. Florida played cohesive hockey. The big boys for the blue and white needed to take it to a different level. The fanbase deserved better. Big pressure in one of the most prolific hockey markets in the world. Florida has a more well-rounded lineup and were rewarded with results.

Former Sabres on Maple Leafs Roster

#1 Ryan O’Reilly GP 11, 3 goals, 6 assists
Obviously without him the Leafs might not even have been in this round. He was a necessary component to a roster with too much money being paid to top end talent. I have no love loss here. The only team from the original six that has not won in the modern era. Keep it coming. The pressure of big city teams with a hopeful but blinded fan base. Always trying to fix things without rebuilding. Look at the Rangers having the same problems. Depth is questionable.

#2 Jake McCabe GP 11, 0 goals, 2 assists
Good physical presence but just another guy on the back end that isn’t enough. Minus 7. Get the picture?

Former Sabres on Panthers Roster

#3 Brandon Montour GP 12, 6 goals, 3 assists
Big mistake by the Sabres but he wanted out. His game has evolved and his offensive statistics during the year (73 points) are translating to the playoffs. What else is there to say? Could have had him locked up on a decent contract and he is exactly the kind of guy we are looking for.

#4 Sam Reinhart GP 12, 6 goals, 2 assists
Part of the cleansing but I always liked him. Excellent around the net and great play making ability. Don’t know the issues in the locker room but he always brought it and was consistent. Questionable skating but Luc Robitaille had those as well. Proving to be a willing to pay the price. The overtime tally was electrifying. Used correctly he is a great piece. We get Kulich and Levi. Looks good for both teams.
I am rooting for him.

#5 Casey Fitzgerald GP 1, 0 goals, 0 assists
Pedigree is there and lucky to play on one of his dad’s former teams. Enjoy the ride. You are playing in the show.

#6 Eric Staal GP 12, 1 goal, 1 assist
Yes Sabres fans, he pulled on our jersey for two seconds. A blip on the radar. He hated it here. Must have been his allergies.... A good veteran for this club.

Hurricanes vs. Devils

Hurricanes just too much for the youthful Devils.

Thought the size of the Hurricanes along with decent goaltending might just be too much for the Devils after two blowout games. Watching game three was jaw dropping to say the least. The devils have speed and Lindy Ruff knows how to push the buttons, but it was not enough. The Hurricanes might be the most structurally sound team left. Rod the bod is a gamer and has the players confidence. They have what it takes to be the last team standing.

Former Sabres on Hurricanes Roster

None that I know of. Nathan Gerbe? Cliff Pu? Anyone? Anyone?

Former Sabres on Devils Roster

#7 Curtis Lazar GP 6. 1 goal, 0 assists
Nothing to say except he always played hard.

Western Conference

Oilers vs. Knights

Knights prove to be too much for the Oilers. I am confused.

The Oilers kicked it into gear in game two. I thought history and destiny might be on their side and let’s not kid ourselves, McDavid is the best player in hockey. The crescendo might have peaked for the Knights but at times they are scary. They have that extra armor and keep fighting back. Hate to say it but Eichel has raised his level of play and almost looks comfortable. Every line has talent and the blueline is strong. I don't want it, but it could easily happen.

Former Sabres on Oilers Roster

#8 Evander Kane GP 12, 3 goals, 2 assist
A reputation that continues to grow. Just not a good fit in the Queen City. So many things to say but not worth the breath.

Former Sabres on Knights Roster

#9 Jack Eichel GP 11, 6 goals, 8 assists
You all know my opinion about him. The talent is there but I saw a floater who rarely elevated his game. He is proving his worth and is showing why he is a franchise player. Time will tell. Give credit where credit is due, he is dominating at times.

#10 Braydon McNabb GP 10, 0 goals, 1 assists
Traded way too early in his career. A solid depth player who can lay the lumber. These kinds of guys have long stints in the league but can get bounced around.

#11 William Carrier GP 7, 0 goals, 1 assists
Expansion casualty. Plays a heavy game but not a top player. Two teams out of the eight just recently formulated. Parody?

Stars vs. Kracken

Don’t know too much about this series except that I fully expected the Stars to end up winning. Excellent drafting and solid veterans have kept them relevant. I just didn't see the Kracken surviving the series after going seven games with one of the NHL’s best in the first round. Is it completely obvious that I am bitter about the new teams getting this far?

Former Sabres on Stars Roster

#12 Colin Miller GP 8, 0 goals, 1 assist
Enjoy the moment. Glad you found a spot to play.

Former Sabres on Kracken Roster

#13 Will Borgen GP 14, 1 goal, 2 assists
Another expansion casualty. Carving out a solid spot for years to come. Would still like to have him.

Thanks to everyone who has the patience with me to find my groove. Embrace the conference finals. Congratulations to the Rochester Americans on their first two victories over the Marlies. The youngsters are getting some great experience.

Much appreciation.

Brad Lohr

Aka: Lumberhacks
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