Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sabres lose McKee for Game 7

The injury woes of the Buffalo Sabres defence have been almost unbelievable to this point. Today, we learn hard-nosed shot-blocker Jay McKee has joined the team's ever-expanding IR list.

Buffalo's defence for Game 1 of the first round, sorted by icetime (with eventual injury)
Teppo Numminen (hip flexor)
Henrik Tallinder (broken left arm)
Dmitri Kalinin (broken ankle)
Toni Lydman
Brian Campbell
Jay McKee (infected shin)

Buffalo's defence for tonight's Game 7 of the conference final (with career postseason experience prior to this year)
Brian Campbell (none)
Toni Lydman (6 games)
Rory Fitzpatrick (6 games)
Doug Janik (none)
Jeff Jillson (4 games)
Nathan Paetsch (none)

In short, it's really unbelievable the Sabres are even still playing hockey. Myself and a number of other commenters talked about Buffalo's lack of depth beyond their top six way back when Kalinin went down, but Lindy Ruff's crew has certainly proved that wrong.

As for McKee's injury, an infected cut on his shin, as strange an ailment as that sounds, it's actually rather common in hockey, what with open wounds coming in contact with bacteria-encrusted equipment every second day. Staph infections have affected a number of players over the years, including Joe Thornton (hand), Mikael Renberg (hand) and John LeClair (back). It's a deadly serious complication, and in the case of Thornton and Renberg, the word 'amputation' even came up.

(So while Ruff writes off McKee's absence as 'short-term', it may be much more prolonged than that.)

The thing for Buffalo now is: Even if they can somehow scoot by a Hurricanes team that should have put the Sabres out of their misery in Game 6, Buffalo's not going to be in any position to tackle a hard-charging team like the Edmonton Oilers.

In other words, expect the Sabres' cheering section to land the support of a few million Oiler faithful — if only for one night.


At 5:42 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I'm having a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moment.

"Who are those guys?"

At 5:50 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Heh, although, as the Sabres are heard saying today, people have been saying that about their team all year.

Paetsch I saw play a lot in the WHL, where he was one of the league's better defencemen, and Jillson shuttled around between San Jose and Boston after being a high entry-draft pick. Talk about testing your team's depth though; I wouldn't have thought any team could do without four top defencemen this late in the postseason.

At 9:59 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger Tom L said...

Regardless of how the last 4 minutes of this game works out James, the Sabres are the best team in the league. This was a ridiculous performance so far.

It's a shame they've had their season ruined b/c of these circumstances.


At 10:12 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger Jeff J said...

Tom L: "...the Sabres are the best team in the league."

Hey, wait a minute...

Also Tom L (from red&black):"The best team in the league is not defined by anything other than winning 16 games in the SC Playoffs, no other metric matters."

So, which is it?

At 11:05 p.m., June 01, 2006, Anonymous Ben said...

Don't forget Jani Hurme when you're talking about staph infections. He missed two season with one and was on his deathbed during the lockout. The fact that he's playing in the AHL now is incredible.

At 11:13 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger Tom L said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:19 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger Tom L said...


"The best team in the league is not defined by anything other than winning 16 games in the SC Playoffs, no other metric matters."

So, which is it?

You heard me, I think they're the best team in this league and that's my opinion.

And, since when does my OPINION on this matter?

The best team for this season will still be measured by who wins the Stanley Cup. Nothing has changed. My opinion is the Sabres with 17 of their starting 20 destroy Carolina in this series and are the better hockey club.

It's almost sad that the Canes made it look that hard while they played against the Amerks defense corps. That's the closest thing I'll do to whine right now.

You give the Sabres Game 7 with 2 more guys and they win this game, they don't even have to be D-man.... I'll take Connolly and we'll just outscore you guys. Period.

The best team lost. Long Live the Best Team.

And whoever wins the finals will have earned the Cup and be worthy of the title at that time. I'm still allowed my opinion but, in no way will I whine that the Cup has been cheapened. As a matter of fact, the Cup's integrity is strengthened by the performance of the Sabres this evening and even more proof in my mind that they are the better hockey club, even though they lost.

Now, I have to root for Mike Friggin' Peca. I think that's the worst part of losing tonight. Because of how they comported themselves through this series (and Brinda'mour's classless comments afterwards) there's no way in hell I root for the Canes next week (if I even watch).


At 11:28 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I respect what you're saying Tom, but the only way we'd have known if Buffalo was in fact the best team was if they'd had a chance to play Edmonton. I haven't seen anything from either club that'd indicate Buffalo could walk over a team that beat three of the best Western Conference teams in six games (or less).

At 11:48 p.m., June 01, 2006, Blogger Jeff J said...

"...since when does my OPINION on this matter?"

If it didn't matter, I wouldn't have asked for it. It's my opinion that Ottawa, with Hasek, was the best team by a country mile. Since they were without Hasek, I picked the Sabres for the final back in April.

That was an incredibly tough break with those four d-men out. The 'Canes must be setting off an awful lot of airport metal detectors with their amassed hidden horseshoes this postseason.

At 6:51 a.m., June 02, 2006, Blogger Tom L said...


I guarantee you if the Sabres had Tallinder in Game 5 they win the Series in 6.

That's opinion. Now, given that, the same conditions apply for them as Edmonton. As it stood, playing with half of the Amerks roster they took the Canes to within 1 goal of the Finals.

And you say that knowing that you couldn't believe they would get past either Philly or Ottawa. The Sabres in 3 series took teams that most thought were better than them and got them off their game enough to beat them, much like the Oilers did to their opponents.

Whatever... it's over and done. It's a horrible way to end a season. I've been a sports fan my entire life and I've never seen a squad this resiliant and never been more proud to be a fan. It's guys like this that restore that which Tom Benjamin has lost and can't get back. It's a shame we won't see them fight for the Cup. Teams like this don't come around that often.

The Canes better not embarrass themselves next week or they'll never get a kind word from me again.


At 3:34 p.m., June 02, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Hmm, this has turned into a pretty interesting comment thread. My two cents, as a relatively disinterested observer.

1) Entering the playoffs, I thought that there were three teams in the East who could contend for the Cup in the Sabres, Senators and Rangers. The Rangers got just as badly screwed over as the Sabes in terms of injury-if anything, Jagr and Lundqvist were even more valuable to them than the guys you lost.

2) I thought that the West had six teams who could contend for the Cup without needing a real Cinderella type run in: Edmonton, San Jose, Detroit, Dallas, and Calgary.

3) I hate to say it Tom L. but I don't think that the Sabres are anywhere near being the best team in the conference or the league. That's Ottawa. They're miles ahead of everyone. Even with Emery in net. Your guys can complain about tough breaks costing you the Carolina series all you want but I seem to recall seeing you win a 7-6 game in G1 against Buffalo on a 1 in a 1,000,000 play to get to OT. Ottawa wins that, who knows what happens.

I don't say this to cast aspersions on your team-I think that they're a great team but I think that pretty much any team that wins a playoff round is the team that gets the breaks.

4) If it's any consolation to you, I think Carolina is nowhere near being a top team. They had a soft schedule, two shitty playoff opponents and then beat a team with an AHL blueline. Hopefully they'll get destroyed in the finals by a healthy well-rested Oilers crew.

Edmonton isn't the best team in the league. That doesn't mean I won't be dancing naked on College Street 10-14 days from now though when they win the Cup. That's the beauty of sport boys.


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