Proteau’s Blog: Sabres Still In Big Trouble

• Thanks mostly to the efforts of Ryan Miller, the Sabres haven’t yet been eliminated from the Eastern Conference final. Still, Ottawa not only outshot Buffalo 33-22 in Game 4 Wednesday night, they also dominated on faceoffs (61 per cent to Buffalo’s 39 per cent) and were the more disciplined team.

In other words, the Sabres remain in a world of trouble.

• Don’t know about you, but I’m shocked – shocked! – that Anaheim GM Brian Burke doesn’t agree with the one-game suspension the league levied on Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger. Why, if I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect he had a vested interest in keeping one of his cornerstone defensemen in the lineup.

Really, Burke should be blaming Pronger, who has averaged two penalties in each of Anaheim’s last two games – not including the one he should’ve received for taking out Tomas Holmstrom – and proven himself highly susceptible to emotional headgames. That’s a fact league disciplinarian Colin Campbell has nothing to do with.

• In an interview with the Denver Post Thursday, Colorado Avalanche GM Francois Giguere sounded as if he wouldn’t be buying out Jose Theodore’s contract this summer.

“My message to people is, ‘Don’t think that buying him out is going to be a big financial advantage for us.’ It won’t be,” Giguere said. “If you buy him out, two-thirds of his salary counts toward the (salary) cap, and we’d still have to sign a replacement for him.”

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It might not be a financial advantage to pay Theodore to go away, but it would definitely be a competitive advantage for Colorado if such a thing were to happen.

Peter Budaj proved this season he can run with the No. 1 role, so all the Avs would have to do is sign a No. 2 – and it’s a buyer’s market for backups. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Despite being in trouble, it isn’t a huge stretch to think that this series could easily be 2-2. If Buffalo’s power play gets just 1 goal in game 2, the Sabres win and it’s 1-1 going back to Ottawa, rather than 0-2. And don’t forget…how many of those previous Senators teams that bowed out early in the playoffs dominated the Leafs in every aspect of the game, but simply couldn’t beat Curtis Joseph, or Ed Belfour. I agree, Buffalo doesn’t look to be nearly at the same level as Ottawa, but I really hope this series goes 7…I want to see what Ottawa is really made of.

– Patrick Kerr