Monday, November 23, 2009

Six of one, Half dozen of the other

by Anne

In the last three years the Sabres "Top 6" has looked like this:

1. Vanek
2. Connolly
3. Pominville
4. Roy
5 & 6. Stafford, MacArthur, or maybe Hecht. Someone's hurt? Move up Paille. No luck? Ok let's toss Goose up there. Not working? Afinogenov? Kotalik? Maybe Mair for a shift or two? Nah, let's scrap it and start over.

Basically, other than spots 1-4, things have been rather jumbled since Drury and Briere skipped town.

However, this season, the top 6 have basically remained consistent. The only differences were when Stafford was coming back from injury he was testing things out on the 4th line so he wouldn't hurt himself again.

Pominville, Roy, Connolly
Vanek, Stafford, MacArthur
Grier, Ellis, Hecht,
Kennedy, Kaleta, Gaustad
+Paille or Mair, occasionally Paetsch

Looking at the line-ups for the past few games, you can't really disagree about that line of demarcation. No one's crossed it for more than a few shifts except Stafford, but he was an exception. Also, when a top sixer was hurt, instead of moving up a bottom sixer, Lindy brought in Ennis. I like this plan so far. I'm not sure why "Tennis the Menace" (thank you, Drew Stafford) wasn't brought up for Saturday's game instead of playing with eleven forwards.

In these recent goal scoring struggles, does Lindy leave his top 6 and bottom 6 in tact and just try to kick them into high gear? I'm  much happier with the way the boys below that line have played. Does one of them get rewarded for that? Who would get bumped down? If any change were to be made, I think I'd propose switching out Pommer or Vanek and Hecht or maybe Royzie and Kennedy, even if only for practice. Maybe get Gaustad up with Stafford and MacArthur.

Lindy shook up the lines in practice today, but he didn't switch between the groups. The top 6 were still the top 6 and the bottom were still the bottom.

Will Lindy make any switches? Probably not, but if he needs to send a message to a top 6 forward, creating such clear groupings will help him to send those types of messages down the line, even if not right now. If a top 6 player spends just one practice with the bottom 6, that should send a clear message, even without changing the line-ups for a game. It's a mental thing. Mindset is just as important in this game as conditioning.  I like it.


  1. I think that changing up the top 6 might do the team some good. Shake things up and then that will shake this team up. Like you said, even doing it for a practice can change the mindset of a player.

  2. While I'd have liked to see Tennis back up on Saturday, the real mystery is why Sekera was playing forward. Does Lindy hate Paetsch that much? Sabres Edge says he's pracitcing today, but it sounds like he might just be a placeholder for Kaleta.

    I think I'd like to see Kennedy back on the wing for a bit, at least if Grier is still out. Gaustad can move up to center him & Hecht, and Mair can center for Elli & Kaleta/Paetch.


Glossary... Sort of

  • "Ryan Miller" Shutout - A 58 minute multi-goal shutout lead that is blown by Miller allowing one meaningless goal
  • Britney or SabreBritney - Thomas Vanek
  • Butter Snaps - Carolina Hurricanes
  • Craigory - Craig Rivet
  • Full Monty - Steve Montador
  • Greener - MATT Greene (LAK)
  • JBG - Jolly Blonde Giant - Tyler Myers
  • Little Foot - Drew Stafford
  • MK - Anne's sister; often leaves nonsensical comments under her Twitter name Mmmkizzle
  • Noodles - Derek Whitmore
  • Oscar - Anne's cat and STH's unofficial mascot
  • Parsley - Jimmy Bonneau
  • Sir Christopher - Chris Butler
  • Sissy - Jaroslav Spacek
  • Telly Monster - Mikael Tellqvist

Because It's Never not Funny

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