By Dennis Allen, Jr.
Tonight’s game against the Hartford Wolf Pack was a huge letdown. From the first line to the fourth the Amerks played an unacceptable game. Captain Cal led the charge; he was dominated in the face-off circle and his body language was deplorable. A player slamming his stick and shrugging his shoulders all night should not be wearing the “C”. Lead goal scorer Nick Baptiste was mentally and physically taken advantage of. He continuously turned the puck over in every zone of the ice and spent far too much time after the whistle engaged in hostile conversations. The young prospect has accumulated multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties already this year. I worry that his immaturity might threaten the progress he has made. The Cornel-Bonis-Vaive line made such a minuscule impact they barely played in the 3rd period. Together they combined for only one of the Amerk’s thirty-one shots.
Kyle Bonis played the worst game I have ever seen from him. I am going to rate him a D. I think he is in serious danger of loosing his roster spot. If Grant had cleared waivers then his days in Rochester would have surely been numbered. The only positive impact Bonis had tonight was his 4-2 record in the center circle.
Offensively he did not contribute anything tonight. Whenever he got the puck, he dumped it into the zone chasing after it with his trademark hustle. Unfortunately, he was consistently unable to retrieve the puck in the battle on the boards. On only one occasion was he able to dig it out and send it up the boards to Geiger who was still not able to get a shot through. Halfway through the third during a 3 on 2 the struggling line had a chance to score. Bonis let the centering pass from Vaive run past his feet and onto a Hartford stick. It resulted in a 2 on 1 the other way and a pivotal goal to make it 3-0, and put the game out of reach.
It was not the only Wolf Pack goal that goal that Bonis was involved in tonight. When playing on the kill he gave far too much space to point men allowing them to fire at will. He was sunk in so deep that he was unable to get his body or even his stick to multiple shots. Eventually Muse was overpowered on one of many slap shots that came from his side. Unlike most nights, 22 was not the tip of the spear in the fore-checking game. Part of this was because O’Reilly was caught out late so frequently that Bonis was not able to change in time to challenge the breakout. As a result he only made one play to turn the puck over (this actually led to the only shot his line produced). Had Kyle led the fore-check more often, maybe his line would have received more ice time in the third period.
There are too many fringe players competing for time for Bonis to play this poorly. With Fasching and Karabacek returning from injury, the only thing tying him to the roster is his face-off ability. If the Sabres had any kind of depth at center, Bonis would not have seen his PTO extended. After 27 games, I would rather see a checking line featuring Vaive, Kea, and Muzito-Bagenda. Kea is five years younger and provides a physical aspect that Bonis does not. If Bonus was cut tomorrow it would not hurt the organization.
Lets Go Amerks contributor Dennis Allen Jr. will be posting a scouting report on a different player each home game (and the odd road game) he attends. You can see his previous scouting reports at: http://rocscouting.blogspot.com …… and be sure to follow him @RocScout14
Dennis is an aspiring scout wrapping up his associates program for sport management.