Struggling to get excited about watching the Sabres play out their pitiful season? Here are 5 races that might help to make these games more interesting to watch.
1. Who will lead the team in scoring?
Yes, the final numbers for the Sabres leading scorer will be pretty depressing. There's a great chance the team 'leader' will have less than 50 points! In any case, it is an accomplishment to lead an NHL team in scoring and the race for both goals and points is tight enough to be interesting. Hodgson and Ennis are currently neck and neck in both categories. Who will win? Will they get to 50 points? 20 goals?
2. Can Ville Leino go the whole year without scoring?
Rob Ray had 41 career goals. Leino is stuck on 40... and he's been stuck ALL SEASON LONG. This would not be too alarming if Leino were paid like Rob Ray was paid, but the reality is that Ville is the highest paid forward on the roster! Will he be able to outscore Rob Ray? Could he at least pull even?
3. Will Enroth or Neuvirth win the goalie battle?
One legitimately interesting race is in goal. Which goalie will play better as the season winds down? Enroth and Neuvirth seem pretty even. Both will have plenty of opportunities (and shots against!) to prove themselves worthy of playing time next season. Will one of them begin to emerge as a legit starter? Will either be able to pitch a shutout (Sabres have none so far this season)?
4. Will any Sabres help your fantasy team?
OK. I'm basically kidding here. If you have any Sabres on your fantasy team, chances are you've long been out of the race for first place in your league. I suppose it is possible that Ennis or Stafford could put up a few points here or there (though probably not both). In all honesty, Mike Weber is probably your best bet if you're looking for hits and blocked shots (even his +/- has been better lately!).
5. Can the Sabres secure a top 2 pick?
I'll end with some good news. It is HIGHLY improbable that the Sabres will win their way out of last place. It is more likely that they'll lose the lottery and have to pick 2nd. A similar race to watch is where the Islanders finish as they have to decide whether to give the Sabres a 1st round pick this year or next. But a word of warning: This is Buffalo sports and it's always possible that the Sabres will go on a winning streak and jeopardize all that they've not worked for this season!