Sunday, August 15, 2010

40th anniversary/all-time sabres team--defense and goal

players like perreault, martin, robert, lafontaine and even ramsay, gare and andreychuk were pretty much given's on their respective lines because of the distinct contributions they made to sabres history...that group boasts six captains and two in the hockey hall of fame...

the defense, on the other hand, is a bit tougher to tackle:

jim schoenfeld/mike ramsey
during the mid-seventies "slapshot" nhl, schoenfeld had to deal with the likes of the big, bad bruins featuring carol vadnais, wayne cashman and terry o'reilly as well as the broadstreet bullies featuring fly-boys dave schultz, bob kelly and don saleski...he had that monumental task while blocking shots, clearing the front of the net and defending his 1971 folksie music release, schony...

mike ramsey may be the most underrated sabre of integral part of the u.s.a.'s 1980 "miracle" team, he relished his role as a top-notch defensive-defenseman in both the olympics and the pros...and boy could he block shots, completely giving up his body shift-in, shift-out...he was a four-time all-star and was selected for the '87 rendez-vous team vs. the soviet union

phil housley/bill hajt
simply put, pure-offense and pure defense...people do remember housley's offensive prowess, as well as his defensive short-comings, but i think alot of people don't remember bill hajt...he was an unheralded defensive-defenseman who's +/- (321) was more than the points he scored (244)...absolutely rock-solid in his own end vs. some of the greatest teams in the history of the nhl including the habs and isles dynasties

jay mckee/jerry korab
the back-bone of the '99 eastern conference champs and the '06 eastern conference finalist teams, mckee was a solid, crease-clearing, shot-blocking machine...his early years forgotten, mckee is more well known for the staph infection before the game-seven ecf loss to the 'canes and his subsequent departure for a 4yr./$16m contract with the st. louis blues that off-season...
it was a tough choice between korab and brian campbell for the 6th slot on d, but in the end it's hard to top a knick-name like "king kong," who was a behemoth on the back-end...korab fought as well, had a hard, heavy shot from the point and produced a significant amount of offense for the brute he was

honorable mention:  brian campbell

the sabres have had many excellent-to-great goaltenders on their teams from aged vets like roger "the dodger" crozier and grant fuhr to young studs like tom barrasso to journeymen like marty biron...
all of them, and nearly every nhl goaltender in the history of the league, take a back seat to:

dominik hasek
in what might be heralded as the most lop-sided trade in hockey history, the chicago blackhawks traded "the dominator" to the buffalo sabres for stephane beauregard and a pick (eric daze) immediate hall-of-famer when he officially retires, hasek will go down as one of the greatest (arguably the greatest) goaltenders in the history of the nhl...
don edwards
the number of potential back-ups is great...adding to the aforementioned, you have the likes of gerry desjardins, al smith and bob sauve, but don edwards, to me, had the longevity as well as the vezina (shared with sauve)...for some reason he always seemed to come up big versus top teams

honorable mention: ryan miller

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