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Playing themselves out of a playoff spot.

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The Sabres currently sit in the 1st Wild Card spot.  They are tied with Bos on points but trail the Bruins by 3 wins in ROW.  They are 1 pt ahead of the Mon and 2 ahead of the NYI. Both the NYI and Mon have 19 wins in ROW to Buffalo’s 18.  The NYI also have two games in hand.

Another couple bad games and we’ll be on the outside looking in. 

Boston is 6-4-0 in their last 10, Montreal is as well. The NYI are 7-2-1.  Sadly we are just 4-4-2.

The only saving grace is that we still have a 7 pt cushion over the NYR and 8 over the Panthers who are the next closest teams.  

That said we need to beat the Panthers.  Of all the bottom dwellers they are the hottest at 6-4 in their last 10. We are ZERO for our last 7 games with the Panthers.  We need to win to keep our position but also to make it that harder for the Panthers to think they have a playoff chance. A win gives us a 10 pt cushion for FLA while another loss drops the cushion to only 6.

However there are broader issues.  

The Sabres are 1-4-1 in their last 6 scoring only 10 goals, while allowing 17.  Of our 9 goals scored in games Eichel played, his line accounted for 7.  Larsson had the other 2.

After doing this research, I can’t understand management’s reluctance to at least give some kids at least a look. Maybe even send someone down to send a message.  Waive Elie, bring up Smith and Olofsson, who are older prospects, and at least give them a look.  That said something bigger needs to get done.  A center must be brought in soon.  Otherwise, this team is dead.  They will be out of a playoff spot by month’s end.  They just don’t have the forwards to compete.  This start has been to good to waste and right now I feel Jbot is wasting this opportunity.

My first two calls are to Minn and NJ.  I’m asking Minn about Staal and Coyle and I’m asking NJ about Johansson. I’m also calling Philly about Scott Laughton.  Laughton isn’t a star and is an RFA.  He is only 24, good in the FO circle and can score goals.  I doubt he is Phily’s plans long-term.  I’d also inquire about Couturier,  but the price will be to high.

This move must be made by the All-star break to instill some confidence back into the locker room that Jbot is supporting the team.  Sitting on his hands is sending the wrong message right now.

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4 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

The Sabres currently sit in the 1st Wild Card spot.  They are tied with Bos on points but trail the Bruins by 3 wins in ROW.  They are 1 pt ahead of the Mon and 2 ahead of the NYI. Both the NYI and Mon have 19 wins in ROW to Buffalo’s 18.  The NYI also have two games in hand.

Another couple bad games and we’ll be on the outside looking in. 

Boston is 6-4-0 in their last 10, Montreal is as well. The NYI are 7-2-1.  Sadly we are just 4-4-2.

The only saving grace is that we still have a 7 pt cushion over the NYR and 8 over the Panthers who are the next closest teams.  

That said we need to beat the Panthers.  Of all the bottom dwellers they are the hottest at 6-4 in their last 10. We are ZERO for our last 7 games with the Panthers.  We need to win to keep our position but also to make it that harder for the Panthers to think they have a playoff chance. A win gives us a 10 pt cushion for FLA while another loss drops the cushion to only 6.

However there are broader issues.  

The Sabres are 1-4-1 in their last 6 scoring only 10 goals, while allowing 17.  Of our 9 goals scored in games Eichel played, his line accounted for 7.  Larsson had the other 2.

After doing this research, I can’t understand management’s reluctance to at least give some kids at least a look. Maybe even send someone down to send a message.  Waive Elie, bring up Smith and Olofsson, who are older prospects, and at least give them a look.  That said something bigger needs to get done.  A center must be brought in soon.  Otherwise, this team is dead.  They will be out of a playoff spot by month’s end.  They just don’t have the forwards to compete.  This start has been to good to waste and right now I feel Jbot is wasting this opportunity.

My first two calls are to Minn and NJ.  I’m asking Minn about Staal and Coyle and I’m asking NJ about Johansson. I’m also calling Philly about Scott Laughton.  Laughton isn’t a star and is an RFA.  He is only 24, good in the FO circle and can score goals.  I doubt he is Phily’s plans long-term.  I’d also inquire about Couturier,  but the price will be to high.

This move must be made by the All-star break to instill some confidence back into the locker room that Jbot is supporting the team.  Sitting on his hands is sending the wrong message right now.

Just to ADD to this, FLA also has 2 games in hand on us.

Great post and thanks as I agree.

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A couple of other notes

We currently have 4.7 mil in cap space and only 46/50 contract allotment thanks to Berglund’s departure. With Smith and Pilut, we do have a full 23 man roster, plus 3 guys on IR; Nelson, Wilson and Girgensons.  Eichel is still on the active roster.

If I were PH, I might try something “radical” to give the whole thing a new look

Skinner Reinhart Mitts

Sheary Larsson Thompson

Smith Erod Pominville

Wilson Sobotka Okposo.

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I really like trying Mitts on the #1 line with Skinny and Samson.

Grr8 has made compelling posts on this subject.  I think the Sabres should try just about anything at this point.

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This was bound to happen given the lack of depth in the middle of the roster.

It will be interesting to see if anyone is able to rise to meet the opportunity.

I think the streak really screwed a lot of people up in the Sabres fan world.

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Yeah it is frustrating for sure...they have frittered away an 8 point cushion in a matter of a few weeks...

Edited by matter2003

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23 minutes ago, darksabre said:

This was bound to happen given the lack of depth in the middle of the roster.

It will be interesting to see if anyone is able to rise to meet the opportunity.

I think the streak really screwed a lot of people up in the Sabres fan world.

Is that not a damning comment on our GM? That this team was bound to fall out of the playoff race, even before the season began?

To the second bolded, I'm not sure that's the case for everyone. I'd be even happy with the pace from BEFORE the streak.

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2 minutes ago, Thorny said:

Is that not a damning comment on our GM? That this team was bound to fall out of the playoff race, even before the season began?

To the second bolded, I'm not sure that's the case for everyone. I'd be even happy with the pace from BEFORE the streak.

I think a lot of people don't fully appreciate where this team was at after the mess GMTM made of it.

GMTM's "accelerated rebuild" was his undoing.

I'm not going to criticize Botterill too quickly for resisting the temptation to make the same mistakes.

His plan is likely longer term than the fans would like. Whatever.

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Adding a reasonable  2nd line C such as Staal or Johansson to bolster a surprising team isn’t going to destroy the future nor is it accelerating the rebuild nor is it showing a lack of patience.  It is supporting a good team and showing faith in their ability to make the playoffs for the 1st time in years.  

Getting Pending UFAs like the two mentioned above are cost effective moves and should preserve all 1st rd picks over the next 2 years. 

That said spending SJs 1st to get someone that has time left on his deal to allow Mitts to develop more slowly won’t be a tragedy or a mistake.  We have the cap and roster slot with Berglund gone.  

With a lack of centers currently in the pipeline other the Asplund, Jbot would be wise to make similar moves as he did to bolster the D depth.

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2 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

The Sabres currently sit in the 1st Wild Card spot.  They are tied with Bos on points but trail the Bruins by 3 wins in ROW.  They are 1 pt ahead of the Mon and 2 ahead of the NYI. Both the NYI and Mon have 19 wins in ROW to Buffalo’s 18.  The NYI also have two games in hand.

Another couple bad games and we’ll be on the outside looking in. 

Boston is 6-4-0 in their last 10, Montreal is as well. The NYI are 7-2-1.  Sadly we are just 4-4-2.

The only saving grace is that we still have a 7 pt cushion over the NYR and 8 over the Panthers who are the next closest teams.  

That said we need to beat the Panthers.  Of all the bottom dwellers they are the hottest at 6-4 in their last 10. We are ZERO for our last 7 games with the Panthers.  We need to win to keep our position but also to make it that harder for the Panthers to think they have a playoff chance. A win gives us a 10 pt cushion for FLA while another loss drops the cushion to only 6.

However there are broader issues.  

The Sabres are 1-4-1 in their last 6 scoring only 10 goals, while allowing 17.  Of our 9 goals scored in games Eichel played, his line accounted for 7.  Larsson had the other 2.

After doing this research, I can’t understand management’s reluctance to at least give some kids at least a look. Maybe even send someone down to send a message.  Waive Elie, bring up Smith and Olofsson, who are older prospects, and at least give them a look.  That said something bigger needs to get done.  A center must be brought in soon.  Otherwise, this team is dead.  They will be out of a playoff spot by month’s end.  They just don’t have the forwards to compete.  This start has been to good to waste and right now I feel Jbot is wasting this opportunity.

My first two calls are to Minn and NJ.  I’m asking Minn about Staal and Coyle and I’m asking NJ about Johansson. I’m also calling Philly about Scott Laughton.  Laughton isn’t a star and is an RFA.  He is only 24, good in the FO circle and can score goals.  I doubt he is Phily’s plans long-term.  I’d also inquire about Couturier,  but the price will be to high.

This move must be made by the All-star break to instill some confidence back into the locker room that Jbot is supporting the team.  Sitting on his hands is sending the wrong message right now.

Unless I am looking at the standings wrong, there is no cushion anymore. If Montreal and the Isle win tonight, the Sabes are in 9th..............Isle is in 9th right now

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9 minutes ago, CallawaySabres said:

Unless I am looking at the standings wrong, there is no cushion anymore. If Montreal and the Isle win tonight, the Sabes are in 9th..............Isle is in 9th right now

I think he is looking at the possibility of falling even farther. With the cushion over the Rags/FLA being enough to hold them off at least for a little while longer.

That's also assuming the Sabs lose.

Edited by MakeSabresGrr8Again

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17 minutes ago, CallawaySabres said:

Unless I am looking at the standings wrong, there is no cushion anymore. If Montreal and the Isle win tonight, the Sabes are in 9th..............Isle is in 9th right now

You are correct, but we’ll remain in the playoff hunt because of the cushion, but a loss to Fla tonight and their 2 games in hand could even damage that.

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Back when we were winning 10+ in a row, I said we can't then proceed to lose 10 in a row and even out at .500 hockey over 20 or 24 games, as that just pisses away the streak.

I hate to say that is kind of what this team is doing.

Secondary scorers!  Secondary scorers!  My kingdom for secondary scorers!

 

 

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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Adding a reasonable  2nd line C such as Staal or Johansson to bolster a surprising team isn’t going to destroy the future nor is it accelerating the rebuild nor is it showing a lack of patience.  It is supporting a good team and showing faith in their ability to make the playoffs for the 1st time in years.  

Getting Pending UFAs like the two mentioned above are cost effective moves and should preserve all 1st rd picks over the next 2 years. 

That said spending SJs 1st to get someone that has time left on his deal to allow Mitts to develop more slowly won’t be a tragedy or a mistake.  We have the cap and roster slot with Berglund gone.  

With a lack of centers currently in the pipeline other the Asplund, Jbot would be wise to make similar moves as he did to bolster the D depth.

Agree with much of this.

Just for kicks, I went back and looked at the way the C's were slotted on day 1 of training camp.  (After the 1st 3, I'm spitballing as Sobotka and Larsson were both lined up with AHLers.  Heck, Berglund was lined up with AHLers also, but AHLers that had been given looks in Buffalo previously.)

1. Eichel

2. Mittelstadt

3. Berglund

4. Sobotka

5. Larsson

6. Asplund/Rodrigues

7. Crisuolo

8. O'Regan/Malone

So, they'd seen enough out of Casey in his ~5 game callup to think they'd like to see how he'd manage that role and they expected Berglund and Sobotka to add to the center spine.  Berglund not working out at C didn't really hurt them that much because Larsson really cemented the 4 spot and Berglund was working well as his RW.

Really looks like they thought they could make do at 2C via committee at worst if Casey wasn't up to task.  And just like you, I'd really like to see them find a guy that can either be the ST 2C & LT 3C or essentially a rental that might be re-signable for the ST 2C.  (They must REALLY have wanted to get O'Reilly out of that dressing room.)

Also, just for kicks looked back at the D-pairings that 1st day of training camp:

Scandella - Ristolainen

Beaulieu - Bogosian

McCabe - Dahlin

(Guhle - Nelson were another pair as was Pilut - Fedun; Hunwick was already injured.)

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Casey needs someone like Tkachuck that has hands and goes to the net with force.  KO was suppose to be that guy but he doesnt go to the net anymore... Maybe Wilson could help Mitts and bring up Olloffson to shoot on that line... move Sheary up or down and or put TT on top line... thinking out loud till Jack gets back

Edited by North Buffalo
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2 hours ago, Georgia Blizzard said:

I think the issue is rather simple, Mittelstadt isn't a 2nd line center, yet.

If he was, the picture looks MUCH different

Maybe it's just me, but I've liked MIttlestadt's game recently (vs beginning of season).   

He seems to be coming on, he gets chances... they'll start going in soon.     Still overpasses tho, trying to thread the needle to much, but he'll figure it out. 

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The winning streak was fun, and it was a nice run while it lasted. We saw signs of a possible future, but did we really expect a one line hockey team to make the playoffs? 

Boston is getting healthier. NYI's are starting to play like Barry Trotts teams play.  Not going to give up on the idea but it's not looking good objectively. 

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1 hour ago, pi2000 said:

Maybe it's just me, but I've liked MIttlestadt's game recently (vs beginning of season).   

He seems to be coming on, he gets chances... they'll start going in soon.     Still overpasses tho, trying to thread the needle to much, but he'll figure it out. 

Part of that is he doesnt have a finisher he clicks with, part the D are much better in the NHL

Edited by North Buffalo

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We only needed to go roughly .500 the rest of the way... instead we only win 4 of the past 15... the real team is somewhere in between the 10 game and this most likely...but we really don't have a playoff roster honestly  

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I'm not overly concerned yet. Many on here before the season started were expecting a wild card bubble team.

Well, here we are at the midway point exactly that.

 

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5 hours ago, Scottysabres said:

I'm not overly concerned yet. Many on here before the season started were expecting a wild card bubble team.

Well, here we are at the midway point exactly that.

 

Yes and no.  The expectations changed when we saw how well they can play.  No they aren't up there with Tor, Wash and TB yet, but they are certainly better then Fla and Philly and have no business losing to these bad teams.  

Maybe Jack's injury is the cattle prod this team needs to force others to step up and play well.  I think it helped Sam in the 2nd half of last year not be a passenger and instead be a creative force for the team.  We saw that again tonight.

I still think it is incumbent on Jbot to make a move or two soon to support this team and improve the offense.

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Right now it’s eight teams for seven spots (Tor, Bos, Buf, Mon, Pit, Was, Cbs, NYI) and I don’t see that changing.

Finish ahead of one of them and we’re in.

Pretty simple and unless someone really crashes, it’s likely to go down to the wire.

Edited by dudacek

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4 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Right now it’s eight teams for seven spots (Tor, Bos, Buf, Mon, Pit, Was, Cbs, NYI) and I don’t see that changing.

Finish ahead of one of them and we’re in.

Pretty simple and unless someone really crashes, it’s likely to go down to the wire.

I like our chances.

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