LeRoy: The NHL 12 Sabres Would Have Been Nice

Every year, EA Sports releases their insanely popular NHL title. I ran a simulation of “Be A GM” Mode as the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres. Here is what kind of stats my team had en route to winning the Stanley Cup in NHL 12, versus the disappointing real-life Sabres:

LeRoy Sabres through 82 games (Real life stats in parantheses, through 50 games)

Stat leaders –

Pominville 39 Goals, 31 Assists, 70 Points (17/30/47)
Roy 32G, 36A, 68P (9/16/25)
Vanek 31G, 31A, 62P (19/22/41)
Leino 23G, 27A, 50P (4/8/12)
Ennis 22G, 27A, 49P (3/2/5)
Stafford 20G, 24A, 44P (8/15/23)
Gaustad 17G, 27A, 44P (5/8/13)
Boyes 17G, 26A, 43P (3/9/12)
Ehrhoff 7G, 27A, 34P (3/16/19)
Regehr 5G, 24A, 29P (0/2/2)
Gerbe 13G, 14A, 27P (4/13/17)
Leopold 5G, 17A, 22P (8/9/17)
Gragnani 5G, 13A, 18P (1/11/12)
Weber 3G, 12A, 15P (1/1/2)
Grier (I decided to resign him) 6G, 7A, 13P (retired)
McCormick 2G, 9A, 11P (0/2/2)
Kaleta 5G, 4A, 9P (4/2/6)
Hecht (injured for majority of season, go figure) 0G, 8A, 8P (4/4/8)
Mara (another free agent signing) 1G, 5A, 6P
Sekera (I used Gragnani and Weber over Sekera) 0G, 1A, 1P (2/6/8)

Miller 67GP, 50-16W-L, 1.80 GAA (31, 13-17)
Enroth 16GP, 10-6W-L, 2.21 GAA (19, 8-12)

In the playoffs, the team went 4-3 against Toronto, 4-1 against Winnipeg, 4-2 against New Jersey, and 4-3 against St. Louis in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sabres won the Presidents Trophy, going first overall in regular season standings. Toronto was the 8th seed, Winnipeg the 6th, New Jersey the 4th, and St. Louis was 4th in the West for what it’s worth.

As you can see, my team did not provide crazy numbers. In fact, most of those numbers would have matched expectations for their real-life counterparts. It comes down to an improved defense and a vastly improved offense.

LeRoy: Post Game Reaction 1.31.12

Five things I liked about tonight’s Sabres game:

1.Paul Gaustad has a three point game. It’s been two years since that has happened.

2.The Sabres drastically outshot their opponents, which has been a rarity.

3.Ryan Miller tied Dominik Hasek with his 234th win as a Sabre, the most in franchise history.

4.Ville Leino and Brad Boyes made a huge difference. Both players have a combined 7 goals on the season. Rough for a combined $8 million plus in salaries.

5.Tyler Ennis was all over the ice in his return, playing well at center and playing physically in addition to his great speed. Lindy needs to keep him and Gerbe together.

Five things that I disliked:

1.The Sabres couldn’t score more than twice on Carey Price, despite the high quantity of shots.

2.The New York Islanders won. Therefore, the Sabres did not gain any ground in the playoff race.

3.The Tampa Bay Lightning won. See #2.

4.Arguably the best player on the roster, Thomas Vanek left the game early and will be out for some time according to Lindy Ruff.

5.The Sabres are tied for 13th after tonight’s NHL schedule. I suppose this could also be a positive, but they have a long way to go and tomorrow will be a tough test against a great New York Rangers team.

Josiah LeRoy
(Twitter @JosiahDLeRoy)

Sabres/Devils Game Reaction 1.24.12

All is well in Sabreland. For now.

The Buffalo Sabres ended their franchise record 12 game losing streak on the road. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but often times these streak breaking games are not. Ryan Miller was Ryan Miller. Captain Pominville was Captain Clutch. The future core of this team scored the decisive goal.

As the game went to a shootout, the same feelings that I have experienced over the past two months resurfaced. “Here we go again!” Ilya Kovalchuk breaks Ryan Miller’s near perfect game, followed by a rare Thomas Vanek miss. My stomach turns. Captain Zach Parise takes his turn, but is turned aside. Brad Boyes was next to shoot for Buffalo. Boyes had never been denied on a shootout attempt while wearing the blue and gold. Brodeur makes the save. I begin to freak out, as Patrick Elias takes the ice for New Jersey. Ryan Miller stops the ultra-skilled forward with a literal game-saving save. Up comes Mr. Pominville, the Sabres’ only consistent producer and on ice leader. He beats the legend that is Martin Brodeur to send the game to extra rounds. A glimmer of hope is born. Miller makes the save. I’m beginning to feel better. Kevin Sylvester announces Nathan Gerbe as the next shooter. Gerbe walks in on Brodeur. My heart pounds. “SCOOOOOOREEEEE!” Sylvester screams in relief. Joy is evident in his voice. The Sabres end the terror that was this losing streak. An enormous weight was lifted from my shoulders. I smiled ear to ear.

Now I am not letting my delight get in the way of my writing, but recently I made a “no trade” list that consisted of players on the current Buffalo roster that could not be traded for any player or draft pick. I posted on Twitter. Many disagreed, as it consisted of:
1.Tyler Myers
2.Brayden McNabb
3.Thomas Vanek
4.Jason Pominville
5.Nathan Gerbe
I fully believe that Nathan Gerbe will one day be the franchise’s captain. A pure heart guy that has the skills and potential to pot 35 goals, the Sabres cannot go wrong if they form this team around the likes of Gerbe, Myers, and McNabb. Zach Kassian is likely my sixth guy on that list, but if you can sweeten a deal and grab a star, go for it. Gerbe is everything I want in a hockey player. When he scores, there is no one that I am happier for. How could I pass up the opportunity to write about Gerbe? TJ and I just named our blog after him.

The Sabres now have exactly one week to reflect on this win, figure out how to fix this team, and attempt to mount what would be an historic playoff drive in the remaining 30+ games.

Oh, and they are now in a four way tie for 11th. Or 15th. However you want to look at it. Last place is much less lonely than it was yesterday.

Josiah LeRoy
The Gerbe Derby
Twitter – @JosiahDLeRoy

Welcome to The Gerbe Derby

Hello hockey fans, welcome to the Gerbe Derby. The Gerbe Derby is a hockey blog/column that my friend and partner TJ Luckman decided to start in order to debate and discuss all of the latest NHL news, namely that of the Buffalo Sabres. Inspired by our constant interaction on Twitter with columnists, the Buffalo sports media, and our opinionated posts, we are excited and ready to write.

I have been an avid Sabres fan since age 8. The ’99 Stanley Cup Finals was my first bout with hockey and ever since has been an obsession and a passion of mine. I remember exactly where I was when the most infamous goal in Sabres history occured. “No Goal” was just the beginning, and since then I have witnessed all of the highs and lows. It’s tough being a Sabres fan, isn’t it? I must note that my other favorite team is the Anaheim Ducks, with the New York Rangers not terribly far behind. Martin Biron is my favorite player of all time.

With expectations higher than ever, the 2011-2012 NHL season has not been very good to Buffalo. After starting 10-5, the team has vastly fallen off of that pace. At the end of tonight, they could be dead last in the Eastern Conference. Not very comforting for a team that was projected to challenge for the Northeast Division (which the Bruins are running away with). They have gone 9-24 since the first 15 games (5 losses came in overtime/shootout). Are injuries to blame? A little. Should a move have been made with regards to trades? Maybe. If so, it’s likely too late to climb back into the playoff race. Should Lindy Ruff be fired? I don’t believe so, but look at Anaheim’s turnaround under Bruce Boudreau, or the Blues’ stampede to President’s Trophy contention under Ken Hitchcock.

There’s nothing more exciting than the NHL and I cannot wait to discuss it with you. Follow me on Twitter (@JosiahDLeRoy) and TJ (@TJLuckman) and send us a tweet if you want to discuss anything Sabres!

Josiah LeRoy
The Gerbe Derby