781

Re: Buffalo Sabres

One thing Bergevin and Cheveldayoff both did is show a loyalty to trying to win.    They haven't offered sentimental contracts and weren't afraid to part with franchise players or let a few dollars limit their drive to keep a group together.   Both have fired coaches and let core players go.    I would expect MacIver would at least be capable of that, loyalty to making the team better as opposed to loyalty to individuals.     I don't think half the gms in the league can say the same thing.    So while MacIver is a big question mark to me, I do think he wouldn't hesitate to make a tough decision on a coach or player for the sake of getting the franchise to perform better.      He's seen it too many times to be hesitant of it.

"I'm not god, I'm not a doctor.  I'm closer to a veterinarian than a doctor"- Darryl Sutter

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782

Re: Buffalo Sabres

I do think Cheveldayoff has been a failure, but I haven't seen blind loyalty to contracts he writes, just to be clear.

"I'm not god, I'm not a doctor.  I'm closer to a veterinarian than a doctor"- Darryl Sutter

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783

Re: Buffalo Sabres

hockeybob wrote:

I agree with your take about the need to develop an identity and culture.   

They are going to need a GM type to bring it to the front office and they'll have to let the players figure it out themselves.   Evander Kane and Gorges are going into a contract year, so that should help with team identity.    It's about time they quit bringing in "character" guys like Gionta too.   Time to let this group figure out who they are early on, then the gm can make adjustments.

I'm very curious about how all of this will shake out.

I've gotta agree with you on everything here.  If the team does not develop a strong identity all the talent in the world will be pissing into the wind.  That starts with people-skills at the top.

Curiously, I've heard no mention of the team bringing in a President in charge of hockey operations.  Lindy Ruff, who still lives in the area would be a candidate.  But then again, I could just be blinded by the fact that - other than the past four years - he's been a lifetime Sabre.

There's no doubt that the team is going to get into cap-crunch situations.  I think it's manageable considering Molson, Ennis, and Bogosian should all come off the books.  Still, signing Jack, and the underappreciated Samson must happen.  I think Kane will be retained.  So, things get tight in a hurry.

I hope that Gionta is retained, if he's willing to take a pay cut.  His stats are not really that bad and I do think he has a very positive influence in the clubhouse.  Oh, and he's from outside Rochester, and I have a thing for WNY hockey players.

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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784

Re: Buffalo Sabres

I do think he wouldn't hesitate to make a tough decision on a coach or player for the sake of getting the franchise to perform better.      He's seen it too many times to be hesitant of it.

That's one key trait I want.  I also want him to be very approachable by the players.  A GM that can relate to today's pros but is not trying to be their buddy.

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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785

Re: Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres will hire Penguins Associate General Manager Jason Botterill as their new General Manager.

.............................................................................................  Lost my mind........................... I don't mind...

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786 ( edited by KilkennyDan 05-07-17 01:24)

Re: Buffalo Sabres

I've actually come around to wanting Botterill as I looked more deeply into the candidates who interviewed.

I wanted one with a pedigree at a SC winning org. And I really preferred a GM with a strong player background.

Jason was actually a first round pick himself once, so obviously could play the game. He went to U. Michigan and I have heard he's literally brilliant.

I'll be comfortable with whomever he brings in at HC. But I'm still pining for Phil Housley.

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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787 ( edited by KilkennyDan 05-11-17 04:36)

Re: Buffalo Sabres

It's official Jason Botterill will be named GM. Good. Congratulations...

What?!  Quitcher yapping and get to work!

Ink Antipin as soon as the WC is done.
Sign Cal Peterson by June 1.
Interview every single player in the organization. Amongst other things, ask "do you want to be in the Sabres organization?".  Do not dance around this issue. Botterill needs to determine before early June if in fact there are any malcontents the contributed to this season's epic fail.
I literally do not care who may not want to be in BUF. Do your damnest to accommodate him. (No hard feelings, I don't really blame a player if they've had enough.)
Prep for the expansion draft. Note to Jason: this event actually represents an opportunity and not a danger to the Sabres. Leverage the fact that very few attractive players will be on the exposed list to swing a deal with a team like MN or ANA that are at risk of losing a meaningful asset.
Prepare for the draft. This is a fine year for trading down, or even back to 2018.  Notes of appreciation will flow your way if you build a diverse group (CHL, NCAA, Euro., etc.) of defensive prospects that can slowly percolate though the pipeline.
No need to go nuts with FA's in early July. Relax and take a deep breath. The framework for a contending team is already in place. Instill confidence and a sense of team identity (and pride) into this roster.
Talk to Jack and Samson (assuming he doesn't want out) and get those new contracts done sooner than later.

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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788 ( edited by skinny123 05-11-17 08:10)

Re: Buffalo Sabres

Rumours swirling about either Tocchet or J Martin for head coach. I don't think there's a sabres fan that would be happy with that.

You never would've been in that position in the first place, if you didn't put yourself in that position.

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789

Re: Buffalo Sabres

Jason spoke a bit about what he's looking for in his HC, and there are a lot of candidates he wants to speak with.

I just have a nagging sense that Tochett's past gambling indiscretions may be held against him.

I still believe Phil Housley is/should be a top candidate. He has a lot of coaching experience and is currently responsible for coaching the best defensive corp still playing. I was at a game in NAS when he was honored for something; he has a great presence bordering on charismatic. I think he'd win over the young Sabres quickly, instill a much more sound system - especially on D. Of course he does not have to do one thing to win over Sabres fans. And I think that counts for something after the past five seasons.

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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790

Re: Buffalo Sabres

Defenseman Viktor Antipin expected to join Sabres next week

Following the IIHF World Hockey Championships on Sunday, where Antipin was a key player for the Russian team that won the Bronze Medal, Antipin told a Russian news outlet (via the Buffalo News) that he will be leaving for Buffalo on May 29th so that he can join the Sabres.

The 24-year-old Antipin spent the past six years playing for Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the KHL.

In 59 games this past season he scored six goals and added 18 assists.

He had a really strong showing at the recent World Championship tournament, playing close to 18 minutes per game and recording four assists to go with a plus-five rating.

The Sabres defense was a major sore spot this season as the team took a pretty significant step backward in its ongoing rebuild, resulting in the firing of general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma. As a team the Sabres allowed more than 34 shots on goal per game (the worst mark in the league) and 2.82 goals per game (20th in the league).

The only defensemen the Sabres have under contract for the 2017-18 season at the moment are Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges, Jake McCabe and Justin Falk so Antipin should get a pretty good opportunity to get a significant role right from the start.
_______________________

I didn't realize the Sabres were so short-handed on defense... a perfect situation for Antipin to get himself some real minutes with Buffalo.

Hope you like what he brings, Dan.

.............................................................................................  Lost my mind........................... I don't mind...

Will's Website

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791

Re: Buffalo Sabres

Viktor Antipin (an tee pin') is almost exactly what the doctor ordered for the Sabres D. It would be better if he were a bit bigger, but he carries the puck and can skate well. He should be an immediate upgrade.

He was courted by several teams - I know the Pens wanted him. One thing that swung it in Buffalo's favor* was the Sabres will allow him to go back to the KHL rather than sending him to Rochester. (The biggest factor, which he cited for picking the Sabres, is the fit.)  There's very little risk that he won't get significant TOI in Buffalo.

Gorges, Franson, and Kulikov look done in Buffalo. One of their 2015 2nds, Brendan Guhle, has looked great in the couple of chances he's had in blue & gold. He'll push hard for a roster spot and adds offense to the blueline. Ideally, however, he'd start out the coming season in Rochester.

If it weren't for the fact that literally over half the teams want to add D, I'd be more confident that a solid top four D could be added around expansion draft time. As it is, Buffalo has more to offer than a lot of teams. It's virtually certain Botterill will trade for more D. The question is how good will that player be?

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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792

Re: Buffalo Sabres

Is he a lefty?

"We're not gonna lose quite as easy as we have in the past." -K. Lowe

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793

Re: Buffalo Sabres

Yes, Antipin is a LHD.

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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794

Re: Buffalo Sabres

The next six weeks could be one of the most critical periods in the history of the Buffalo Sabres.  The organization is well past the relatively easy phase of getting rid of current assets for potential future gems. They no longer possess a gaudy quantity of high draft picks and prospects* that would permit lavish quantity-for-quality deals.

On paper, the team should have been a bubble playoff contender this season. On ice; they failed miserably. However, there were statistical anomalies (and those are what I focus on when trying to discern future results) that indicate that the paper version of this team may actually be a more representative indication of what to expect on ice.  Their PP unit lead the league, and they had an outstanding record vs. playoff teams. (Obviously this means they were a suck vs. non-playoff teams.)

We've had a few weeks to reflect on the HC's expected dismissal, and the surprising firing of the GM.  It all points to a dual failure: a poor strategy with personnel ill-prepared to execute the (flawed) game plan.  And, more seriously, an organization that was incoherent and not able to communicate effectively internally.

The outcome was an extremely young team that had no real plan, and was particularly prone to frustration.  However, they had sufficient talent to occasionally rise above that.

I ask this: what is the identity of the Buffalo Sabres?  In truth, I doubt anyone has a clue, because they never worked hard to establish and implement that identity.

As a fan, this is extremely frustrating since the whole purpose behind blowing up this team was to move from being a mediocre playoff contender, to a legitimate SC contender.  Two or three years of that effort may have been wasted.

I'll return to post what I think the next six weeks could look like.  I will say that the team is not going off the rails and will go back to tanking.  But, they have a basic question that must be answered quickly: can 1) a new scheme, a few new players, and an offseason reset button sufficiently energize this roster to take a major step forward in 2017-18, or 2) does this team to shed some of the roster of malcontents?  The second option would not likely result in an improved team this coming season; it would be akin to one step backwards for two steps forward in a year or two.

The objective is unchanged: become a SC contender.  This can happen, but the decisions made over the next six weeks will likely be looked back upon as the deciding ones that determined success or failure.

Go Cornell Big Red - County Kilkenny - Go Cats!

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795

Re: Buffalo Sabres

I ask this: what is the identity of the Buffalo Sabres?  In truth, I doubt anyone has a clue, because they never worked hard to establish and implement that identity.

As a fan, this is extremely frustrating since the whole purpose behind blowing up this team was to move from being a mediocre playoff contender, to a legitimate SC contender.  Two or three years of that effort may have been wasted.

I sure hope it wasn't a wasted 3 years. I hope they have learned that lofty goals are going to require lofty and sometimes dramatic changes.

One thing Buffalo needs to do is attack this systemically from the very top down. Are they happy with the GM's and higher ups? Is the coaching staff where it needs to be? These questions, I believe , should be addressed before the actual player personal on the ice can be utilized to their highest potential. (One thing I'm concerned about in Detroit, because I'm not on the Blashill bandwagon).

In retrospect its easy to see the moves and holes created in the lineup, but what was the filler? Was it the best move possible? Is Buffalo working to address the farm system as well?

So many factors involved it makes my little head spin. I'm just a big fan of the 'head' that controls being sound as possible first... then the rest will, by hard work and observation with correct movement,  fall into place.

The whole thing (NHL) is so sensitive, that one seemingly small move could send them up or down. I also wonder how much goes into player development in the Sabres org? I would imagine most of the teams have this down to a science.

Buffalo also needs to be attractive to other FA's and the management needs to be willing to bring them in also. Seems you must spend money in order to make money, but the Salary Cap and parity throughout the League because of it causes transitions from average to great to run slow. The more I attempt to think about this and talk Sabres hockey with you, the more questions I have and also the more I realize my ignorance to the situations involved.
_________

I'm real curious now, thanks to you, what the Sabres do in the next little while and what you think they should do... hopefully the right braintrust is in place to make decisions that will bring back winning ways to Buffalo.

Good Luck... hope I didn't lul you to sleep. :) Just felt like talkin' some Sabres pucks.

.............................................................................................  Lost my mind........................... I don't mind...

Will's Website

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