Tropp recall keeps sandpaper in Sabres’ lineup

With Cody McCormick out for tonight’s game against New Jersey – and potentially more games depending on the severity of his injury – the Sabres recalled Corey Tropp from Rochester.

This was the easy choice for Darcy Regier to make. Tropp had a fine showing in his first four NHL contests and even managed to find the score sheet with a goal and an assist in his first call up. Many fans were clamoring for Zack Kassian to be the replacement for McCormick, but Tropp was the right call.

Considering there isn’t much information out there regarding McCormick’s injury, it is impossible to speculate how much time he will miss. For all we know, he will be back on the wing for Friday’s game. Worst case is that he misses extended time and the Sabres are without their primary tough guy. Obviously the biggest issue that would impact is the expected response from the Sabres when the Bruins roll into town next Wednesday. While Tropp isn’t afraid to drop his gloves, he is not the fighter that McCormick is.

Personally, I doubt much will come of the game on Thanksgiving Eve. There will certainly be a few dustups, but I don’t think the Sabres will come out and try to run the Bruins through the boards. That isn’t to insinuate the Sabres are afraid to respond to a tough team like Boston, it is just the type of team the Sabres are. Not to mention, the issue will be more than a week old and will not necessitate a line brawl.

Now, Tropp accumulated a fair number of penalty minutes in Portland as a professional rookie. He had a few scraps and has proven he can be counted on as a point producing winger with some edge. However, he doesn’t bring the same toughness that McCormick does. While the lack of a pure fighter won’t be a major detriment to the Sabres, it is always nice to have that luxury.

For those hoping that Zack Kassian may earn his first NHL call-up, keep holding your breath. While the winger has certainly found a scoring touch in his first full professional season, there seems to be an overwhelming agreement that he still needs a little more jam in his game to be effective at the NHL level. I don’t doubt that he will see some time this year, it just won’t come until the second half.

Tyler Myers is back in the lineup after spending Monday night in the press box. He will take the place of Marc-Andre Gragnani tonight. This may not be a permanent move, but it certainly puts Buffalo’s six best defensemen on the ice. Not to mention, it gives the Sabres two stay-at-home players and one more (Myers) who possesses a sound two-way game.

There seems to be little doubt that Mike Weber will be in the lineup indefinitely. His play on Monday was a breath of fresh air and his toughness is exactly what the Sabres’ blueline was missing through the first 15 games.

While Myers’s game has been bad all over for most of the season, he has shown flashes of brilliance in some situations. This may be a classic case of overthinking or oversimplifying on Myers’ part. Since playing a simple, low-risk game doesn’t seem to suit him (see countless turnovers), sticking to the basics may be a good place to start getting back on track. His biggest flaws have been his choices with the puck and timid play in his zone. If he can establish himself as a physical force in his own zone while showing confidence with the puck, I feel he will find his way back to the game so many fell in love with his rookie year and last spring.

 

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