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Open Gameday Thread Sabres @ Ducks

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Buffalo Sabres
@ Anaheim Ducks

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010, 7:00 PM PST


Radio: AM830

Your Enemy: Die By The Blade

Complete Coverage >


I won't lie. I forgot to write up this gameday. There was a swarm in the Anaheim Calling Inbox today, and I had to put some things together on short notice. All that aside from my obligations offline. I could have asked Daniel to write the gameday for me, but then I would lose the ability to lord it over him that he missed a recap-- talk about letting the terrorists win.

Sleek makes some detailed points on goal differential and performance in his gameday post for tonight. Daniel and I were preparing a question related to goal scoring performance, but it may go up after tonight's game.

I just want to take a quick moment to do the unthinkable and defend James Wisniewski. Someone get the smelling salts for Daniel. In Curtis Zupke's notes from yesterday's practice in The OC Register, he published this:

"Those are correctable," Carlyle said. "Those are things we look at and say, Yeah, we made some mistakes.’ The individuals that made them, they know as well as anybody in the building that they’re responsible for.

For those that missed it, James Wisniewski came to the center of the blue line and called for the puck midway through the second period of Sunday's game. He tried his patented telegraphed wrist shot, Glencross blocked it, brought it up ice and converted it. The move was not unlike the Ryan Whitney slapshot that Patrick Marleau converted into a shorthanded goal in the Ducks home opener.

I criticize Wisniewski for a lot of things: his general inability to read the play in his own zone, his inability to control his forward, his insistence on injuring himself, his insistence on activating when he shouldn't-- basically everything he does without the puck. However, when he has the puck, I know he's an offensive defenseman. His windup is a little cartoony, and let's face it, people at Staples Center know when he's going to shoot the puck, but he can get the biscuit on net and occasionally in the basket. A defensive-defenseman in the same situation that Wisniewski faced on Sunday would pass again or go for a rebound off the boards, and maybe either results in a goal and not a goal against. But the whole point of having an overconfident offensive-defenseman is that he tries to score, and if he does score, you forgive him the mistakes he makes on the way to scoring.

I don't know if Wisniewski will score enough to make this forgivable on a regular basis, but I know his future isn't in playing hockey without the puck or the shotblocking and hitting he does-- that's more likely to result in a fatality of Mortal Kombat-ian proportions, except with gingerbread. For now, I see that decision as being the price of being in the offensive-defenseman business. I'd pick at it, but there is already plenty there to keep me busy, just in the price of being in the Wisniewski business, a 2.75M industry.

Post any game info and lineup changes in the comments.