Trying to sort out Buffalo sports
I originally wanted to title this post, “Trying to understand Buffalo sports.” But as we all know, that is impossible to do, so I decided sorting them out would be a better course of action.
The Sabres made two moves this week, and for a lot of sports fans in the area, these moves were hard to understand. I’m not saying I have the answers, but I’ll take a crack at trying to see the logic behind the action.
What most people were (are) upset about was the Sabres’ decision not to resign Tim Kennedy, and instead buyout his contract. A pessimist would say this is a big deal to be making about the fourth-best rookie on the team, but look at the facts:
Kennedy is young player who was a fan favorite and did alright for himself on the ice, not to mention the kid was born here in Buffalo. He finished seventh among Sabre forwards last season in points, with 26 (Raffi Torres doesn’t count), and was often matched against opponents’ more skilled players for defensive purposes. People even have a hard time understanding the “It’s a business” side of the argument, because his arbitration award ($1 million) was only slightly more than what the Sabres had previously offered him.
But as time passes and you begin to think about it more, Darcy starts to make more sense (not complete sense, but more sense). As loyal Buffalonians, we’re more upset that we sent one of our own packing than we are for losing the services of a player of Kennedy’s talent level. If Kennedy is from California or Middle-of-Nowhere Lake, Canada or Russia or Finland, we are probably a lot less concerned with his departure and a lot more excited for our newest signee. It’s a business, remember? Managers and owners can’t be fans.
Plus, the move addresses one of the biggest knocks on Sabres teams of late, the collective softness of the group. Kennedy wasn’t scared to go in corners, but at 5’10″, 173 lbs (soaking wet, with full equipment on), he’s not a force to be reckoned with, either.
What the Kennedy buyout did do is open the door for a player to fill that exact role, defenseman Shaone Morrisonn. Morrisonn spent the last five seasons with Washington, and has played over 400 career games and 26 playoff contests. He is not known for scoring, but rather for his physical play. Morrisonn finished 50th in the league last season in hits with 163, a number that would have led all Buffalo Sabres. He also was credited with 104 blocked shots (over 1.5 per game), which would have been second behind Tyler Myers, who finished 34th in the league with 137 blocks (no other Sabre topped 100). Morrisonn’s plus-8 rating would have been good for ninth on the team, and fourth among defensemen.
All things considered, I guess I have to be alright with the move. Something is always better than nothing, and at this point in my Buffalo career, I think I’d rather move forward with players who better suit the team for success, even if it means sparing someone we like or feel connected too.
On a lighter note, “Shaone” may be the worst spelling of Sean/Shawn I’ve ever seen, but I can’t hold it against him. That one’s on his parents.
Interesting stats that came up during research:
- We all know that defensemen do most of the shot blocking in the NHL. But which forward gave up his body the most last season? It was actually former Sabre Chris Drury. Another little thing that helps teams win games.
- At 76 inches (6’4″) and 216 lbs, Morrisonn is the third biggest player on the team, after Myers (80-222) and Paul Gaustad (76-229).
Filed under: Hockey | 1 Comment
Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Darcy, free agency, NHL, Shaone Morrisonn, Tim Kennedy