Sports Articles, Fantasy, and Predictions
The NHL season begins on October 6th, 2011. I am the #1 documented NHL Handicapper at The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma. Nobody has won more in Hockey over the past 13 years fully documented. I finished #1 in 2002 (NSM) and #1 again in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Last season was another winning one as doc. by The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff has enjoyed six straight winning NHL seasons and going for lucky 7!
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Pay very close attention as this article has produced major profits every year since 1998. Check out my past NHL West and East Spotlight teams from previous seasons at this website.
Jeff’s 2011-12 Eastern Conference Spotlight team: Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres finished 7th in the Eastern Conference (3rd in Northeast) last season and for a Lindy Ruff coached team it was considered a down year. Ruff, the longest-tenured coach in the NHL, is entering his 14th year behind the Sabres bench. The guy is one of the best head coaches in all of Hockey. With a career record of 526-390-78, reaching the playoffs 8 out of the previous 13 seasons, a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, his resume stacks up with the best of them.
When you think of the Buffalo Sabres the first name you have to shout out is Goalie Ryan Miller. Talk about your studs in Net. He is arguably the best Goalie in the NHL today. Not last season though. It was a down year. He went 34-22-8 with a 2.59 GAA and .916 save percentage. But when you consider his career stats of 221-126-41 with a 2.57 GAA and .917 save percentage, the numbers suggest he could have performed better. Miller is 31 years old and is primed for a monster season. He has all the attributes you want to see in an NHL goalie. Size (6’2 175), quickness, intelligence, desire, and of course blocking skills. The one attribute Miller does not possess is staying healthy, as he has only one season of 70 or more games. In 2009, Miller went 41-18 with a 2.22 GAA and .929 save percentage. I would expect something close to that this season! Jhonas Enroth is trying to secure the back-up job. Off to a great start this preseason with a 3-0 record and 1.53 GAA so far.
This team has a big, fast, and mobile defense in front of Ryan Miller. The offense is good too and gets the services of Derrick Roy back from a quad injury. It’s fair to say that Tyler Ennis had his “breakout” season in 2010, when he put up 20 goals and 29 assists in his first full season with the Sabres, but there is a great chance he doubles those numbers this season. He is one of the fastest skaters in all of Hockey!
New Owner Terry Pegula did some spending in the off-season and the Sabres should be an elite team because of it. The Sabres acquired Christian Ehrhoff, Ville Leino and Robyn Regehr, and Buffalo should be much improved on the power play with Ehrhoff. He had six power-play goals for Vancouver last season, which led all Canucks’ blue-liners and was tied for ninth in the league among defensemen. Buffalo has no weakness and will come at you with four top-notch lines. You might not know all the names now, but you will at seasons end.
Jeff’s Projected 2011-12 record: 52-23-7 (112 points, 2nd seed in the East)
2011-12 NHL Eastern Conference Mark your Calender pick: Buffalo Sabres -145* vs. Anaheim on October 7th, 1:00 PM E (Friday Day game)
*- Projected line
The Sabres lost 5-4 at Anaheim last season (Jan 2010) despite out-shooting them 45-30. The Ducks have never played well on the road in the Eastern time zone in October. Just like in the NFL, Pacific Time Zone teams traveling East to play a 10:00 AM body clock game do not play up to par in most cases. Buffalo lost their home opener last season and they will be focused to give their loyal fans a win this year. Play Buffalo and eat some Buffalo Wings after the win!