Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
We catch up with our pals at Die by the Blade, asking them three burning questions leading into tonight's contest.
As the losses continue to pile up, the Winnipeg Jets are fighting tooth and nail to stave off last place in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Tonight they hope to turn their recent fortunes into a win against the Buffalo Sabres.
As part of our gameday coverage, we had a few questions relating to the Sabres before puck-drop later this evening.
With that, here's Andy Boron of Die by the Blade in today's instalment of Gameday Questionnaire:
1. Thomas Vanek currently leads the NHL in goal scoring (12) and points (25). Is it fair to say that he is one of the most underrated stars in the league?
I would say that's a fair statement. Vanek absolutely has elite offensive talent and the ability to hang with the league leaders in goals and points, but his problem has always been consistency. He'll have his wicked hot streaks, followed by a stretch where he scores once in ten games. However, he's never had this good a stretch in his career, so there's some hope that he might be able to sustain it a bit longer than usual.
2. Ryan Miller is clearly frustrated with the Sabres' performance against Pittsburgh on Sunday as per his post-game comments. In fact, it's not the first time that he has reacted as such after a loss. Can fans relate to Miller's brand of "telling it like it is" or does it make him a polarizing figure?
Miller has been a polarizing figure in Buffalo ever since he failed to live up to his Vezina season, but I think fans appreciate his candor. Too often the Sabres seem like they don't show enough emotion, with many of their best players and letter-bearers like Vanek and Jason Pominville being guys who never seem to show much in the way of happy or sad. Miller's passion bubbles up a few times every year and I think most fans appreciate that aspect of his personality. We're fucking angry too, so it's nice to see the emotional leader of the team feeling the same way.
3. Mikhail Grigorenko has had a slow start to the season, at least compared to rookies such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Alexander Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov. What has fan reaction been to Grigorenko's play thus far?
Sabres fans had high hopes for Grigorenko, so there have certainly been arguments about the way he's been used thus far. The organization is taking the "slow and steady" approach with Grigs, keeping him on the third line and making him a healthy scratch every six or seven games. Some fans see the value in that, as many players who went on to great careers started in this fashion, but for the more impatient, it's been tough to see why such a highly touted prospect is playing with below average talent like Nathan Gerbe and Jochen Hecht. He hasn't exactly wowed us through his first dozen games, but there have been flashes of his elite talent. His game, however, needs work in a number of areas before he'll become a successful NHL player. I think he'll get there, but it won't be this season.
Ed. Note: We thank Andy for giving us his time in this edition of Gameday Questionnaire. Look for our next edition Thursday with our pals at Canes Country.