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  1. Of course not. Just saying that it is pretty naive to expect the players to respond to the type of rhetoric being pitched around here in anything other than a negative way. Just like I think it would be even more naive for the team to expect the fans to respond to this season in anything other than a negative way. See above. It's not about "noble". You don't think the rhetoric Adams was peddling prior to Cozens, Dahlin, Samuelsson, Thompson and Power signing influenced their decisions at all? Or that it might ring hollow to those players right now? And since I apparently have to say these things: the above does not absolve any of them for their bad play, nor suggest any fan should not be upset about same, or feel sorry for the players. I happen to agree with most of your reply to Swamp above. Tried to say the same thing in my initial post.
  2. The amount of hatred that has been directed their way and this surprises you? I think Sabrespace feels like it has been shouting into the wind at this franchise for so long, it’s lost perspective on what it is actually putting out there right now, and that people are actually listening. I’ve been here for the entire dark era - through far worse and more uncaring teams - and I don’t ever remember it feeling this personal. I think it’s far more of a reaction to the entire disastrous Pegula era than it is about these players, but they are paying big-time for the organization making us actually feel hope in September. The fanbase may have turned on this franchise because of a decade of truly horrible hockey, but it turned on this particular group of players after less than 3 months of mediocrity. And, in my view, has treated them with a degree of disdain that far outstrips what their actual play and effort warrants. What Donnie is saying is that in the past year or two, a number of players made a long-term good-faith commitment to fix this. And they did it not ‘in spite of the city being a dump” but because they believed in Kevyn Adams story of this wonderful city and fanbase and group of players who could build something special together. But I know most of you just want to be mad and I’m the one shouting into the wind. It’s not really about the hockey on here anymore; we’ve given up on talking about that. It's just win, and ***** off until you do. You guys may be entitled to your rage, and it’s clear you feel entitled to it, but that should not make you oblivious to its repercussions.
  3. I like this team and the majority its players. It still gives me hope. Over my 50 years of fandom, I'd put it somewhere in the bloated middle of the pack. I dislike the degree of hatred it gets on here and am sad that 13 years of Pegula has skewed people's perspectives to the point it has. But to answer the question in good faith, I disliked all these teams more: The 2021 Krueger team was a god-awful mix of uncaring mercenaries and unhappy-to-be-here vets that couldn't score to save its life, played mind-numbingly boring hockey and lost game after game after game. That team fully deserved the scorn this team gets. The 2018 and 19 Botterill/Housley teams were extraordinarily hard to love, absolutely bereft any kind of edge or esprit de corps, and loaded with has-beens, not-yets and never-weres. Eichel's considerable talent was perhaps its only redeeming quality. The Bylsma teams offered a bit more hope than the Housley teams, but god-damn were they dull. The tank teams were miserable affronts to the concept of NHL talent, leavened only by Ted Nolan's charm and attitude in the face of the mess around him. Perspective over time has elevated the last Lindy teams, but at the time it was very clear they were a team on the decline and any hope was false hope. The 02/03 team(s) kinda mirrored the last Lindy teams, in that you knew the good times were past and the road to their return was bleak. No more Peca, no Hasek, and only the me-first Miro Satan (maybe my most disliked "good" Sabre) for skill. Some may have fond memories of the last Muckel/first Nolan team in '95ish, but the pleasure of Ted's underdog schtick and the May/Ray/Barnaby fun didn't start to ignite until the following year. I remember that year as the year the promise of the Lafontaine/Mogilny years was snuffed and the talent stripped from the organization. '85-'86 was a nightmare, the first time in my experience the Sabres were actually bad, with my passage to adult hockey fandom slamming home with the realization that Scotty Bowman wasn't really a genius and his collection of 1st-rounders weren't actually going to be great players. And '86-'87 was absolutely the worst year. Instead of a rebound, we got a hamfisted collection of waiver-wire pickups and has-beens like Clark Gillies and Wilf Paiement and the worst start in franchise history as we plunged to all-time low in the standings. Perreault retiring 20 games in - giving up - was the final, crushing blow. This season will either mark a growth chapter where adversity shaped the Adams Sabres, or the beginning of the end of his era. The team wins about as much as it loses. The coach is nice guy who may be in over his head and players seem like nice kids who want to do the right thing. I'm disappointed in them. I don't dislike them at all.
  4. I'd tend to think putting your body in harm's way night after night despite the obvious damage it is sustaining is the opposite of soft. Feel for the guy. Appreciate what he brings. And talk about kicking people when they're down.
  5. The Canuck blueprint to go from 27th at last year's all-star break to 1st t this year's all-star break: Replace Boudreau with Tocchet, along with switching most of the rest of the coaching staff. (Effectively) trade Horvat for Hronek Swap a handful of depth guys (Bear, Schenn, Ekman-Larsson, LAzar, Dries) for a different handful of depth guys (Cole, Suter, Lafferty, Blueger, Soucy) Have your core (Petterson, Miller, Demko, Hughes, Boeser) all have fantastic years at the same time. I can tell you guys first-hand from living in the market that one year ago the Canucks fan base was a frustrated and out of hope as you seem to be, and fan expectations in training camp were very low for this season.
  6. For those who wonder what came first: the defence or the saves? (from the Buffalo News) https://buffalonews.com/sports/professional/nhl/sabres/upls-ascent-power-play-struggles-among-sabres-trends-to-watch-after-the-break/article_91265290-bf97-11ee-b2f3-33094822947d.html 1. Improved defense Granato didn’t implement any changes to the Sabres’ 5-on-5 system this season. Instead, he and his assistant coaches have placed a greater emphasis on different areas of their game to improve their team defense. A healthier lineup, and fewer turnovers, have helped Buffalo allow the third-fewest goals in the NHL since Jan. 1. The Sabres’ 28.7 shots allowed per game during that span is the ninth-best mark in the league and, according to Natural Stat Trick, they’re sixth in shot quality against at 5-on-5. 2. No. 1 goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has emerged as the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie since the holiday break. His .940 save percentage in nine starts since Dec. 30 ranks eighth in the NHL during that span. He’s also posted a 1.57 goals-against average, which is lower than everyone except Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner, and a 6-3 record. Luukkonen’s .942 save percentage at 5-on-5 is tied with Skinner for the second-best mark, trailing only Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets. According to NHL’s Edge data, Luukkonen’s .896 save percentage on high-danger shots is above league average.
  7. Good thread topic. "Like" has nothing to do with how good or bad they are —now, or over all. The answers seem to inevitably be a poster's initial take/expectations for a player multiplied by "what have you done for me lately". I think I like Skinner less than the board does, and most of the others the same or more. That's probably because so many of these guys made a good first impression (Levi, Power, Samuelsson, Ryan Johnson, Benson, Peterka, Quinn, Tuch) or rewarded my patience (Thompson, Mittelstadt, Greenway, Dahlin, Clifton, Luukkonen). History and the relative inexperience of most, makes me think many of them are/will be better than they are right now. i think many of you are looking at these players through the lens of 15 years of years of disappointment and are justifiably angry that they teased last year, then failed. I'm more looking at it as year three after a scorched-earth rebuild and crossing my fingers that this is the adversity that teaches a young team the lessons it needs for future success. Probably naive. I was wrong about where Murray had taken us in year three and wrong about what i thought Botterill was setting up for in year three. But the question was about "like" and I like these players more than any group over the drought. I think they have skill and heart but lack experience, confidence and cohesion. They still play like the boys most are.
  8. Yep. That's what I was getting at in my initial post. This is not a "mistake" within Granato's system. This is how it's designed.
  9. I agree with where you're going with the bold. Like most systems, it breaks down if just one guy is freelancing. So the question for me becomes who is freelancing? Why? And why is it taking so long to be corrected? In the bigger picture though, I still believe the offence has been a bigger issue than the defence all season. I'm not disagreeing with your habit of focusing on specific goals against, but I have to say that should be done with a caveat of "of course there were breakdowns" on the goals against. You'll see similar breakdowns on the highlights of most goals against, and with most teams. The Sabres by design play high event hockey. If they are playing their game, you expect breakdowns at both ends of the ice. They're built to win 4-3, not 2-1. They'll take the Kopitar goal if the tradeoff is 2 of those Peterka goals. Most games they just haven't been getting enough of the latter. You might disagree with that choice, but that's a different discussion. I think they're not only failing, they're failing on their own terms. Thanks for bringing some good discussion to the board.
  10. I don't study other teams enough to know if there are teams (Carolina comes to mind?) that execute this system well, or if it's just a bad system period. I mean you do see it working for the Sabres multiple times a game, you just see it failing a lot as well. Buffalo seems to skate fast enough to make it work, so are they making bad decisions? Slow to recognize situations? Not invested enough to trust it, or each other? Either the system is flawed, a bad match for the players, or the message isn't getting through. Each of those things seem to point back at the coaching staff. (I did like the rush offence last night, looked like last year. Again, why has that disappeared?)
  11. I think the Sabres (in many situations) are coached to come hard at the puck carrier and in layers. The system is designed to create odd-man advantages for the defence, where the primary defender is taking away time and space and the layers are in a position to block, or at least disrupt passes, support puck battles, and pounce on forced turnovers. By design it will leave people open, on the principle that the open guy is a great distance away from the puck carrier, with a lot of obstacles between them. It's betting those obstacles, combined with the pressure, should mean the puck rarely gets to the open guy. Your photo above both illustrates the principle and where it can break down. Mittelstadt, Greenway and Dahlin are doing what they are supposed to do positionally. Where it breaks down is the primary defender, Bryson, has allowed the puck carrier far too much time and space. Without time and space, the puck carrier would be angled into the corner, forced to reverse up the boards, or attempting a rushed pass that the Sabres are in position to pick off. Without the pressure, the puck carrier is talented enough to pick his spot between Mitts and Dahlin and put it on the tape for Kopitar. Really it's not much different than defence in football: get in the QB's face and he'll miss his throws. Give him time and he'll pick you apart.
  12. Thanks for raising the quality of Sabrespace discussion. You've given us all a lot to think about.
  13. Tage weathered the truckloads of crap dumped on him by internet tough guys as the return for the O'Reilly trade, a skinny frame that shot up 8 inches in three years, a cancer scare from his wife, a devastating shoulder injury, demotion to the minors, and Ralph Krueger to transform himself into a physical specimen and a 38-goal scorer. Then he took the backlash of too much, too soon against his big contract and responded with 47 goals and 94 points. Never once whined or pointed fingers His career has been the definition of heart. What's obvious is your dog don't hunt.
  14. Not saying this is you, but your post sparked a thought from a few days ago. It feels like a lot of people have an unrealistic expectation of turnovers when it comes to hockey. Maybe it's a football fan thing? It's not exactly incorrect, but sometimes seems too simplistic to me the way it's used. Hockey is game of constant turnovers. As in they happen multiple times for both teams every single shift. You can and should limit them, but you can't hope to eliminate them. The Sabres gave up 2 goals on egregious turnovers Saturday while at the same time doing an excellent job of limiting the amount of turnovers over the course of the game. You could say the turnovers cost them the game, but what really cost the Sabres the game was Tampa executing on what few turnovers they got, the Sabres not getting a big save following those turnovers, and the Sabres failing to force enough Lightning turnovers or execute on the ones they did. Not saying the Sabres are good at defence, or can't be improved. But generally speaking the ineptitude of the Sabres team defence feels overstated this year, especially recently.
  15. Small sample size, and against some weak teams, but the Sabres are allowing 1.75 goals per game in the 8 games since the calendar turned. That's good for 3rd in the league. Taking it back to Dec. 1 — 23 games — they're at 2.96 good for 13th. And that number is swollen by the 9-goal Columbus debacle. I don't see people recognizing it in the game day threads, but my eye test supported it in the Tampa and Vancouver games. They're clearly better at defence than they were a year ago. They just haven't improved enough to make up for the fall-off in offence.
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