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Vulgar Opinions: Buffalo Sabres: UFC Champions

07/04/12

Unless you live under a rock, you know that the Buffalo Sabres have acquired mountain of a man John Scott in free agency and acquired Steve Ott and Adam Pardy from the Stars at the expense of one Derek Roy.  Awesome.

I’d like to start with the more important of the two moves: John Scott.  Depending on where you look, Scott is listed in the ballpark of 6’9″ and 270 pounds, which makes him about 5 inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than Milan Lucic in case you were wondering.  This is my favorite Sabres signing ever.  I’ve been wanting the Sabres to go after this type of player for a long time.  Never mind that he can’t play hockey, or that fighting is (supposedly) being phased out, or that he’ll only be useful for 20 games a year, if that.

I know what he is, a goon’s goon in a league that is increasingly aware of concussions.  A Rhinoceros on skates.  Milan Lucic’s nightmare fodder.  Whatever.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of playing in rec. leagues where the refs don’t call anything as a 140 pound forward: when you’re playing ‘Race to the Hospital,’ you make sure the other guy wins.  John Scott is here to make the next jagoff that runs the likes of Jason Pominville a winner.

And to the person that’s going to tell me that the Bruins don’t care who we have on our roster, you’re wrong.  They care.  There’s a reason Lucic almost never squares off against a decent fighter in his weight class.  There’s a reason Chara will hug it out with anyone approaching his size.  The Bruins have done a good job at barking away at their game of intimidation, but their bite reeks of baleen and kelp.

And then we picked up Steve Ott, or maybe more importantly depending on how you look at it, got rid of Derek Roy.  (Free Agency Rumor: Adam Pardy may have been involved, who cares.)  I think Derek Roy is a good player, albeit an infuriating one.  I don’t think his departure is a straight up addition by subtraction (much like I didn’t think Tim Connolly’s was either), but I do like this move.  I like that Ott can do more things well (fight, agitate, win faceoffs) than Roy could.  I like that we lose Roy, whose ability to skate hard for 20+ minutes a night seemed to work against, rather than with, the talents of the rest of the team.  I like that we have a center with the production that people had talked themselves into expecting out of Gaustad.  And I also like having a bona-fide bottom six forward that will be comfortable in their role rather than forcing Lindy Ruff to play musical screwjob with the minutes of Brad Boyes, Ville Leino, Nathan Gerbe, (Thomas Vanek?) etc.

A third line center that can play both ends of the ice and be counted on for 40ish points was one of the two items on my wishlist for this offseason so I’m pretty happy already.  (The other is a goal-scoring winger for the top line, which, we’ll see…)  The fact that Darcy Regier has stockpiled enough defensemen to not only prevent another 2006 from happening, but also possibly go back in time to stop the first one seems to suggest that another move is coming.  We will see.

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