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Game #67 – Sabres vs. Hawks Q&A: Melissa Burgess

Melissa Burgess has been a longtime contributor to DieByTheBlade.com, a leading Sabres site. You can follow her on Twitter @_MelissaBurgess. This is the Q&A we did with her a month ago when the Hawks were in Buffalo, and things were a bit rosier for all of us. 

The Sabres had an incredible hot streak in the fall, but have been pretty poor since. What was going so right then that’s going so wrong now?

They did have an incredible hot streak, but it was a lucky one. So many of those wins came by one goal, whether in OT or shootout or regulation – it’s not like they were exactly running away with games. They just happened to find ways to win every night, grabbing the dirty goals, sometimes in the final minutes, and never giving up. So what’s changed? I think they just stopped meshing in that same way and it shows. Production drops off, pairings and lines don’t mesh the same, and all of a sudden, you find yourself out of the playoff picture.

What’s been the review of #1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin?

Dahlin has been doing well so far in his rookie season. I think it’s important always for people to remember that he’s going to make mistakes, as any player is. But for Dahlin, it’s not just what he’s doing this season or what he does next season that matters; he’s hopefully a part of this team long-term and that success matters too. I think he’s a promising young defenseman and I like what I see from him.

Jeff Skinner is pouring in the goals but has yet to sign an extension. What’s the buzz on the chances of his long term stay?

It seems more likely than not that Skinner stays in Buffalo. I mean, when’s the last time you saw him without a smile on his face? In all seriousness, I’ve heard contract talks will start soon and I’m super excited for that. He’s an unreal player and it’s a treat to have him.

Jack Eichel is on his way to blowing past his career high in points. What’s the feeling about him there? Being drafted alongside Connor McDavid doesn’t help, but it doesn’t feel like he’s usually considered in the “next crop” of superstars like McDavid, Matthews, Petterssen, and the like…

I’ve never thought about it like that, but that’s true. You see everyone talking about the others, but not Eichel so much. I think he’s a quiet producer – lots of assists but also lots of moves that maybe seem small and don’t result in points – and that makes him lower on people’s radar. Of course, McDavid has always been “The Next One” and Matthews being in Toronto, there’s a lot of hype there. But I think just the fact that Eichel is that quieter leader sometimes leaves him off people’s radar. I think he’s been a great fit for this team, he seems genuinely invested in the present and the future.


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