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Overrated or Underrated?

January 24, 2008

Heather at Top Shelf brought up Jerry Sullivan’s most overrated Sabre poll, where Ryan Miller currently leads the pack. I don’t think Miller should be the most overrated Sabre. Is he having a crappy season? Yes. But at the same time, he looked so good last year because he had a decent team in front of him. He could make that absolutely ridiculous save knowing that if he got out of position, someone would back him up. You’re not seeing that this year. Miller gets out of position, and his teammates are standing around with their thumbs up their bums watching. The entire team had career years last year. Miller’s just following the curve and adjusting.

Anyways, my pick for most overrated Sabre is Max Afinogenov. I won’t argue with you that he’s a good hockey player. He’s a strong skater and can leave most defenders standing still. But, he’s frustrating to watch sometimes. He’ll dipsey-doodle to no end, when there’s multiple shots or passing lanes available. He’s also mysterious off the ice, what with his lack of commentary about his head injury “playing soccer” in Russia (which is almost as good of an injury story as Patrick Carpentier’s, who broke his wrist “carrying luggage”), and refusal to discuss his life off the ice. I’m not saying the rest of his teammates are chatterboxes, but compared to Max, they’re open books. His scoring this year is down, he’s been off-and-on the injury list this year, and his salary of $3.5 million all make him the winner of Shots Off the Crossbar’s Most Overrated Sabre Award.

Also recieving votes: Tim Connolly and Brian Campbell

In the interest of fairness (I’m not always going to be throwing this team under a bus, no matter how much I want to), my pick for most underrated player is Danny Paille. He’s been a solid, dependable call-up from Rochester for the past two years. In his first year as a true Sabre (meaning he’s on a one way deal), he’s continued that solid, dependable play. He’s 10th on the team in scoring with 23 points, and his plus/minus is the highest on the team at 11. And, he’s doing all of this for a relatively cheap salary of $585,200. Granted, he is an RFA at the end of the year (along with Goose and C-Mac), so his price will probably increase, but it should only be a minimal increase. He won’t be getting a Vanek deal, that’s for sure. Now watch that happen and me have to eat my words.

Also receiving votes: Paul Gaustad and Adam Mair.

Moving on, according to John Vogl in this morning’s Buffalo News,

The Sabres will dress the usual crop of six blue-liners, but Ruff had made no decision on whether Paetsch or Nolan Pratt will sit.

The coach could have them redo the routine they conducted Wednesday. The Sabres were doing five-on-five drills, with the defensive combinations of Henrik Tallinder-Toni Lydman and Jaroslav Spacek- Brian Campbell getting the first shift. When it was time for the next pair, Dmitri Kalinin hopped over the boards sans partner.

Pratt and Paetsch looked at each other on the bench, took off a glove and played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who practiced first. Pratt won.

Good way to do it at practice, but if that’s how its decided for the game, it will probably replace the Chris Drury / Scott Gomez puck flip as the most ridiculous off-ice moment this season. If I had a choice, I’d pick Pratt over Paetsch. Nothing against Patches, but I’ve seen more fire out of Pratt lately.

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