The Amerks are just like the Sabres

Too many games where players took nights off

Paul Hamilton
April 18, 2017 - 12:09 pm

Photo courtesy of Micheline Michaelina


(WGR 550) - I find it a little more than distressing that some of the same things we heard on locker cleanout day in Buffalo, we heard on locker cleanout day in Rochester.

I got a chance to listen to some of the key players speak on the Amerks Facebook page and the same problems were popping up there.

There was a prevailing thought that the Amerks took too many nights off, just like the Sabres did.

Nick Baptiste blossomed into a 25 goal scorer in the AHL and that was in just 59 games. That’s a 35 goal pace in his second pro season.

The winger added three goals during his 14 game stint in Buffalo. He said that the team finishing well doesn’t erase the season, “You don’t ever want to be playing games that don’t mean much for playoff hopes.”

“We went on spurts where we just weren’t good enough. We had times where we’d go five, six games without a win and those are frustrating, those are things you just can’t do if you’re trying to make a playoff push.”

Here’s where it sounded just like the big club, “We’d play well some nights and we’d be like wow, we’re a top team and then there were other nights when we were like non-existent and you can’t have those games and we had too many.”

Baptiste is a pure shooter and a pure goal scorer. He netted 32 in 53 games his final year of junior and scored 45 in 65 games the year before. He said he has always had confidence in his scoring ability, “I thought offensively I was really good this season, I’ve scored pretty much my whole life and in the OHL and even from the start of training camp or development camp, I was finding the back of the net pretty well and that carried on in the start of my season in Roch and when I got called up, I got a couple of goals up there, so playing with confidence and knowing I can score on both levels.”

Baptiste is a forward that the Sabres hope can be a factor next season. Other Amerks that have a chance to be in the NHL next year are Linus Ullmark, Brendan Guhle, Justin Bailey, Evan Rodrigues, Hudson Fasching, Alex Nylander and Casey Nelson.

Dan Lambert finished his first season as a head coach in professional hockey. He wants to be back next year, but he said not making the playoffs is unacceptable, “Things do change daily and when you have an organization where both teams don’t make the playoffs and people are unhappy, things happen.”

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