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LGR4GM

Sabres' Locker Room Culture

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I am reading and have been reading the stuff that has been continuously mentioned about the room last season. I keep hearing, "too many players didn't care" and "there was a lot of negativity".  This thread may not work because we don't have accurate knowledge of the workings of that room but it should tell us something that Lehner and ROR are both gone. Lehner it sounded like he wasn't exactly a team player and was overly critical of others, ROR it sounds like he got down on himself too much and players tuned him out. We heard from the Rochester Coach at dev camp it just felt more fun and competitive this year. So the questions I have is...

Do you think Botterill has done enough to fix the attitude of the room and the culture?  

Edited by LGR4GM

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 What has frustrated me about this topic is that all of the locker room reporters were adamant how toxic the locker room was. It seems to me ferreting out the bad apples would have been easy. And maybe it was. It says a great deal that certain players have been moved quickly. Actions speak louder than words. 

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I think it's 100% on Eichel. Botterill has done all he can at this point as far as a culture issue goes. If we still fail going forward for this same apparent reason, then Eichel will only ever be an elite player with significant flaws, instead of a legend that leads men and wins

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He better have, given what he's invested at this point to fix it. 

9 minutes ago, WildCard said:

I think it's 100% on Eichel. Botterill has done all he can at this point as far as a culture issue goes. If we still fail going forward for this same apparent reason, then Eichel will only ever be an elite player with significant flaws, instead of a legend that leads men and wins

This could be true, but I worry that any failure from this point is automatic "we turn on our tank prize less than 4 years later" material, when I'd be willing to bet that 90% of all bad outcomes that could possibly happen this season are explicable without having anything to do with Jack, and being despite Jack. 

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1 minute ago, Randall Flagg said:

This could be true, but I worry that any failure from this point is automatic "we turn on our tank prize less than 4 years later" material, when I'd be willing to bet that 90% of all bad outcomes that could possibly happen this season are explicable without having anything to do with Jack, and being despite Jack. 

I mean like it or not this is the boat Jack is in. If the doesn't produce, the guy with the big money, the C, the guy we tanked for, the guy who allegedly had issues with major pieces of a core in a locker room, and a guy that allegedly had issues with a previous GM and HC...there's enough ammo there for him to share in that criticism. Which does suck because I think we go .500 or so, but he better have a hell of a season

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Just start winning. Does wonders for a locker room.

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I think we have a tendency to overthink this and read all kinds of nefarious possibilities into this when the reality is simple.

Constant losing is demoralizing. It leads to finger pointing, loss of self-confidence and a desire to be elsewhere. And it becomes a self-perpetuating Catch 22. It has always been this way, therefore, it will always be this way. The room was sour because we suck.

Sheary, Hutton, Berglund, Sobotka, Pominville, Scandella, Wilson, hell even Nolan - Botterill has consciously been adding players who are used to winning. It’s not nearly as important as talent, but hopefully it can help counteract the “here we go again” mindset that clearly affected guys like O’Reilly and Lehner and continues to affect guys like Larsson And Girgensons. Couple that with competitive and talented kids like Mittlestadt and Dahlin and what they are trying to create in Rochester and hopefully we’ve reached some sort of critical mass where the weight of the tank won’t really matter.

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5 minutes ago, WildCard said:

I mean like it or not this is the boat Jack is in. If the doesn't produce, the guy with the big money, the C, the guy we tanked for, the guy who allegedly had issues with major pieces of a core in a locker room, and a guy that allegedly had issues with a previous GM and HC...there's enough ammo there for him to share in that criticism. Which does suck because I think we go .500 or so, but he better have a hell of a season

I'd also argue that he CAN produce a lot and not pull us out of the bottom 3 teams in the league

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2 minutes ago, WildCard said:

I mean like it or not this is the boat Jack is in. If the doesn't produce, the guy with the big money, the C, the guy we tanked for, the guy who allegedly had issues with major pieces of a core in a locker room, and a guy that allegedly had issues with a previous GM and HC...there's enough ammo there for him to share in that criticism. Which does suck because I think we go .500 or so, but he better have a hell of a season

A lot of allegedly in your post. Unfortunately I do think Jack will get flak if this team doesn't perform better. For me it's more abut his play. I'm one who thinks it's relatively rare a captain literally takes a team further than it's collective players can go.

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Just now, dudacek said:

I think we have a tendency to overthink this and read all kinds of nefarious possibilities into this when the reality is simple.

Constant losing is demoralizing. It leads to finger pointing, loss of self-confidence and a desire to be elsewhere. And it becomes a self-perpetuating Catch 22. It has always been this way, therefore, it will always be this way. The room was sour because we suck.

Sheary, Hutton, Berglund, Sobotka, Pominville, Scandella, Wilson, hell even Nolan - Botterill has consciously been adding players who are used to winning. It’s not nearly as important as talent, but hopefully it can help counteract the “here we go again” mindset that clearly affected guys like O’Reilly and Lehner and continues to affect guys like Larsson And Girgensons. Couple that with competitive and talented kids like Mittlestadt and Dahlin and what they are trying to create in Rochester and hopefully we’ve reached some sort of critical mass where the weight of the tank won’t really matter.

Our New Jersey year is coming, hopefully it's in 3 months. 

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If the moves to jettison Lehner and O'Reilly as quickly as possible weren't enough of an indicator that management felt there was something wrong with the team (the one that finished last btw), then I don't know what to tell you. Now the big question is did they remove the right guys to fix this festering turd of a team, or is the cancer still in there?

None of us know anything about what is really going on in the locker room, we can only hope that the issues are gone and it isn't an Eichel/Reinhart/Risto issue. If it is, then we're boned because I don't see us trading those guys away without losing a ton of on-ice value.

Just now, Randall Flagg said:

Our New Jersey year is coming, hopefully it's in 3 months. 

When do we trade for Taylor Hall?

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1 minute ago, Samson's Flow said:

If the moves to jettison Lehner and O'Reilly as quickly as possible weren't enough of an indicator that management felt there was something wrong with the team (the one that finished last btw), then I don't know what to tell you. Now the big question is did they remove the right guys to fix this festering turd of a team, or is the cancer still in there?

None of us know anything about what is really going on in the locker room, we can only hope that the issues are gone and it isn't an Eichel/Reinhart/Risto issue. If it is, then we're boned because I don't see us trading those guys away without losing a ton of on-ice value.

When do we trade for Taylor Hall?

I remember putting my foot down on the idea of trading Risto for Taylor Hall. 

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1 minute ago, Randall Flagg said:

I'd also argue that he CAN produce a lot and not pull us out of the bottom 3 teams in the league

Agreed 100%. And I think it's the most likely outcome

1 minute ago, Radar said:

A lot of allegedly in your post. Unfortunately I do think Jack will get flak if this team doesn't perform better. For me it's more abut his play. I'm one who thinks it's relatively rare a captain literally takes a team further than it's collective players can go.

Allegedly was really only included because there was never a smoking gun; I think those two scenarios were about as close to being a 100% certainty as you're gonna get in the gossip world of sports and inter-athlete relationships

Just now, Randall Flagg said:

I remember putting my foot down on the idea of trading Risto for Taylor Hall. 

I remember wanting Taylor Hall like no player I've ever wanted more

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2 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

I remember putting my foot down on the idea of trading Risto for Taylor Hall. 

If only we knew...

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1 minute ago, Samson's Flow said:

If only we knew...

He was such a loser, and Risto such a winner, having scored that gold-winning WJC goal 😂

I also remember how I'd call ppl crazy who wanted to trade Myers for Karlsson

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It seems to me that there will be enough changes in the lineup to change the locker room to start the season.

Whether it will remain that way after Thanksgiving will depend on wins and losses.

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4 minutes ago, WildCard said:

Agreed 100%. And I think it's the most likely outcome

Would you pile on Jack's leadership skills in this scenario? Or would it take him producing under 70 points in a full year to really go at him?

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23 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

He better have, given what he's invested at this point to fix it. 

This could be true, but I worry that any failure from this point is automatic "we turn on our tank prize less than 4 years later" material, when I'd be willing to bet that 90% of all bad outcomes that could possibly happen this season are explicable without having anything to do with Jack, and being despite Jack. 

It is absolutely 100% a given that people will hate on Eichel when this season flames out again.  People in Buffalo hated Hasek & wanted Frank Reich to be the starting QB.

The only question is how big a %age of the fan base will that be?

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12 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

Would you pile on Jack's leadership skills in this scenario? Or would it take him producing under 70 points in a full year to really go at him?

It depends on what I would see out of him during the games honestly. There are 2 versions of Jack and we've all seen them, I'll reserve my judgement until I see which version we get

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4 minutes ago, Taro T said:

It is absolutely 100% a given that people will hate on Eichel when this season flames out again.  People in Buffalo hated Hasek & wanted Frank Reich to be the starting QB.

The only question is how big a %age of the fan base will that be?

It's also true us fans have more passion than smarts at times.

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Vogl on the Athletic today (he did a Q&A):

Quote

 

Ryan was too quick to get down on himself, even after a decent game. Anyone who had youthful exuberance would see the alternate captain all gloomy and just follow suit. I have no doubt that handing the reins to other people (see Jack Eichel) will increase the confidence level and fun factor for guys.


I wouldn't say Ristolainen is hard to coach, but he definitely hasn't embraced being a go-to guy. I understand "it's just practice," especially for someone who can play 28 minutes a night, but he's almost always one of the first off the ice and one of the first out of the building. He would help the team more by hanging out with teammates on and off the ice. There just seems to be no accountability for a guy who has lost his whole career, and other players see that.

 

I've alluded to this in other answers, but it bears repeating: The locker room will be a better, happier place. Chemistry and culture have become mere buzzwords to many, but I believe it will translate on the ice this year.

I said below it's a stretch to call them a playoff contender, but they should definitely leave the bottom behind

 

 

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7 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

Vogl on the Athletic today (he did a Q&A):

 

Interesting. Thanks!

How much impact the "locker room culture" has on actually winning is still to be determined. I still think getting better players is far more important to winning than any of this tangential stuff.

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I had to look up tangential.  Thought it was some kind of crazy auto correct thing.

Nope.  The world has gone mad.

Edited by N S
more stupidity

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I wonder if Ristolainen changes now that he won't be top defender. 

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I think so.  Even if he continues to play top defender type minutes, but fewer minutes, there should be a benefit.  He won't be perpetually worn out.

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