Fellow SBNation site Die by the Blade is your premiere source for Buffalo Sabres info. Although the roster of NHL blogs on SB is growing, David and I first started trading questions back in January during the Ice Bowl. Keeping with our own tradition, David and I once again traded questions prior to tonight's game against the Sabres. You can read my answers to his questions at Die by the Blade.
1. All this talk about "magic numbers" this time of year can get rather annoying. But last I read the Sabres had to go 9-4-1 to make the playoffs. How is that record looking now?
It is assumed that 92 points will be enough to make the playoffs in the eastern Conference because of parity and in order to reach 92 points the Sabres will have to go 8-3-1. The Sabres have earned a point in each of their last two games but have come away on the losing end of both.
2. How do you feel about the Sabres' trade deadline moves?
I would have liked to see the Sabres do more to help the team with a playoff run but I was not terribly upset with trading Campbell. It would have been great to have Campbell for the rest of the season but I think that he will be overpaid in the offseason and I'm glad it won't be Buffalo that will sign him. It was good to see Buffalo get something in return for a free agent istead of losing them for nothing (ie...Briere & Drury). It seems that Steve Bernier can be a good player in this league and the Sabres got another first round pick as well.
3. In your honest opinion - are the Sabres playoff bound?
I have been a believer in this team all season and I still today but it becomes more difficult everyday. As we mentioned above the Sabres need to go 8-3-1 to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs and although the schedule looks somewhat promising it seems like an uphill climb. The Sabres are now currently without three of their top defensemen, with Henrik Tallinder, Jaro Spacek and Dmitri Kalinin all injured. The Sabres will call some guys up from Rochester and rely on the top four that remain...Toni Lydman, Andrej Sekera, Nathan Paestch and Nolan Pratt.
4. This time of the year is also the perfect (or perhaps worst) time to look back on close games you should've, could've but didn't win. Trust me, I'm not digging in about the Winter Classic. But do any games stand out that should've been in the bag for the Sabres but they either gave up the win in regulation or shaved a point in OT?
There are plenty of games that stand out including the Winter Classic. The Sabres were one of the best shootout teams in the league last year but this season has been different. The Sabres have lost nine games in a shootout which ties them with Vancouver for the most shootout losses. They are three points out of a playoff spot right now and could have used a couple of those points. The game that stands out the most was on February 25 against the Flyers. The Sabres took a 3-0 lead in the first period but ended up losing 4-3 in a shootout, that game really sums up the season the Sabres have had.
5. Are there certain areas that need improvement in Buffalo? If so, what are they?
The Buffalo Sabres have a very yound and talented team. They will be a good team for years to come if they learn how to react in pressure situations. Derek Roy has turned into a really good hockey player and will be a superstar in thsi league along with Thomas Vanek. The defense is the weak part of the Sabres right now. The Sabres like many of the players they have coming up but will need to acquire some experience to compete over the next couple of seasons.