Published by hockeybuzz.com, 12-8-2017
Chicago, Chicago that toddlin' town
Chicago, Chicago, I'll show you around...
So the song goes.
What the word toddlin' means is up for debate and although it revolves around walking with difficulty, they're not sure if the early 20th Century nomenclature involves inebriation, a leisurely stroll or is a derivative of toddler.
Perhaps toddlin' works for the Sabres in the latter sense as it seems as if they're just beginning to walk. They've had to learn all over again how to play hockey, most notably in today's NHL, and they seemed to have picked it up rather well. Buffalo began a three game Central-U.S. road-trip with a 4-2 win at Colorado on Tuesday and hit the Windy City tonight to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Hawks have been stumbling lately, which is unusual for one of today's marquis hockey franchises. They're on a five-game winless streak (0-3-2) and have been outscored by a 19-10 margin in those games. Chicago is also in an unusual position as their 12-11-5 record places them sixth in the Central Division.
But that's for them to figure out. Once a largely forgotten Original-Six member, the Blackhawks have been on a roll since making the Western Conference Finals in 2009. In that span they've made the playoffs nine consecutive seasons with three Stanley Cups within six years (2010, 2013, 2015) and another Western Conference Final appearance in 2014.
Inebriated may not be the proper word for them. Perhaps it's more like hung over from all the success they've had over the past nine seasons.
If ever there was a time for the league's last place team to steal one on the road, tonight might be the time. The Sabres stopped an awful 1-9-2 skid with that win over the Avalanche and looked good in the process. However, Buffalo is 0-8-2 in their last 10 against Chicago and according to Sabres PR, haven't beaten the Hawks since a 2-1 victory at home December 11, 2009. Buffalo has been slightly better on the road againAst Chicago going 2-7-1 but haven't won there since January 10, 2007.
Just how bad has it been for the Buffalo Sabres this year? This is the list of Sabres players amongst the league leaders:
Evander Kane: 3 SHG (T-1st), 3 SHP (T-1st), 126 S (2nd)(T-4th)
Jack Eichel: 2 SHP
Ryan O'Reilly: 424 FOW (1st), 61.2% FO% (1st), 693 FO (2nd), 2 SHP (T-4th)
Rasmus Ristolainen: 27:00 TOI/GP (2nd)
With the Sabres playoff hopes all but extinguished at this point, word on the street is that the Sabres are "open for business," with the only untouchable being Eichel. Kane has been the hot rumor all season, although it's being said the Buffalo GM Jason Botterill would like to re-sign him. Others like Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart are said to be available, but they won't be given away.
Buffalo is heading to the United Center to face a Blackhawks team that's somewhat in desperation mode right now. They just got spanked in Washington 6-2 by the Capitals and are on their longest losing streak since 2010-11.