Tonight the NHL’s oldest American NHL franchise will faceoff against their division rivals the Buffalo Sabres:
- The Bruins Brass have purged all the Americans they could from the roster, Chris Bourque is the son of a Canadain, Jay Pandolfo is the 13th forward, so take your pick.
- For the Buffalo Sabres, Nathan Gerbe and Ryan Miller lead the way with Marcus Foligno, Drew Stafford, Patrick Kaleta, TJ Brenna, Jordan Leopold,Tyler Myers, and Mike Weber filling out the roster.
The Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins will duel,
- Dustin Byfugelien, and Blake Wheeler are part of a large of a very American crew that includes Mark Stuart, injured goalie Al Montoya, Zach Bogosian, Zach Redmond, Ron Hainsey, former Pittsburgh Penguin Eric Tangradi, and Jim Slater.
- Facing them will be Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Joe Vitale, Brandon Sutter for the Penguins.
When the Flyers and Devils square off, they’ll have their own American compliment
- First round draft pick Stefan Matteau and Stephen Gionta will be joined by Bobby Butler, Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, and Peter Harrold are the Devils Americans.
- In Orange and Black are Tom Sestito, and Sean Couturier.
The Red Wings and Ducks will also play tonight.
- Jimmy Howard leads the Red Wings Americans, and travels with Brian Lashoff, Drew Miller, and Justin Abdelkader.
- Bobby Ryan and Nick Bonino will be in the lineup for the Ducks and Patrick Maroon, Kyle Palmieri, will be out there with Nate Guenin and Ben Lovejoy.
The Sharks look to get back on track against the Blackhawks.
- Patrick Kane highlights the Chicago side, with Nick Leddy and Brandon’s Sadd and Bollig.
- Missing from the Shark tank are Justin Braun, Tommy Wingels, Scott Gomez and Adam Burish.
Despite recent news coverage, the Blues have stars other than Taresenko, and the Flames have the odd American of their own.
- Lee Stepniak steps up under the red white and blue and brings Chris Butler, and Tim Jackman with him.
- David Backes is the Captain of the St Louis squad, TJ Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Ian Cole are on the ice as well while Jamie Langenbrunner is on the shelf.
The Canucks and Stars will square off on the left coast.
- Expected to return real soon now is Ryan Kesler, David Booth is down and out, Jordan Schroeder is however enjoying some ice time with Andrew Alberts, Keith Ballard and Cory Schneider for Vancouver.
- The Dallas American element is a three man threat with Alex Goligoski, Richard Bachman, and Eric Nystrom.
It is no secret that Tyler Myers had a sensational rookie season. It is kind of hard not to notice a defenseman winning the Calder Trophy. It’s even harder when that lanky adolescent is compared to nearly every Norris trophy winner in the last quarter century. Unfortunately for pride of Houston Texas his career is currently on a Jonathan Cheechoo like trajectory. His point production has gone down each year of his career. Despite an enormous second contract he has been scratched twice already this season. In 12 games he has just 1 goal, and is a team worst minus nine, 30% worse than the next nearest player.
The question is what is to be done? A player who has the raw ability to walk into the NHL and win the Calder trophy especially as a defenseman, and then gets worse points to one of three things. The first is injury, which did happen, but after his sophomore season. The second is motivation, that is unfortunately not something that can really be measured unless a player comes into camp grossly out of shape and doesn’t participate in off ice conditioning. The third, is environment, specifically coaching.
The Buffalo Sabres have been a mediocre team for a full generation. The list of players they lost to free agency includes names like Danny Briere the point per playoff game stud, and trades the most recent of which was the indefensible dumping of Derek Roy for Ott,others you can name, and if you can’t Sabres fans can sing you their woe. Myers own mentor, now a Devil, is another one of those players lost to free agency or bad trades. So do the Sabres import a mentor for Myers? If Vishnovsky becomes available, is he the right guy for the job of reforming the Sabres “franchise” blueliner? Or maybe they make a move for a player like Kuba, or Girardi.
Or, is Myers in need of a fresh work address? Would exposure to John Carlson, Carl Alzner, and Roman Hamerlik be the cure for what ails him? Equally intriguing is what sort of player he could develop into if taken under the wing of guys like Pietreangelo, Chara, or hell, nearly all of the senior members of the Kings blueline. Rob Scuderi has won Cups in two very, very different systems, Drew Doughty is a phenomenal talent and still improving, Matt Greene too has the chops to help stabilize the tail spinning 22 year old.
Whatever is, wherever the repairs start, they need to find a way to get the youngsters confidence back in one way or another. They can start with his defensive work, or get him back in touch with the offensive abilities that so intrigued the NHL not long ago, and I leave that to whoever is lucky enough to work with him. The only must is a mentor.