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The Official Sabrespace Optimist Thread

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1 minute ago, SABRES 0311 said:

If I remember correctly following Ramadan is Eid.  I remember hearing it referred to as the Feast of Eid. Apologies if I am mistaken.

Again, good to have you back.

Not to derail this awesome thread, but you are correct.  Eid means festival and there is a traditional (meaning not part of the religion per se) 3 day festival to celebrate the end of Ramadan.  It is spent with family on day 1, friends and neighbours on day 2 and with the poor and needy on day 3.

There are two Eids.  The second and more important Eid is at the end of the Hajj (day 10 of the Hajj month) and is to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (PBUH) to sacrifice his own son (and his son's willingness to be sacrificed) at the will of God (in the end God said don't do it).  This is the more important Eid for most, as it is a reminder of how we all are here and anything that we do is at the will of God.  The whole of this Eid is focused on taking care of the poor and needy.

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Bump

Thursday should be a pretty telling day roster-wise. I know RK said he wasn’t too worried about thinning the roster out yet, I imagine we’ll see his first true line-up thoughts. I’m starting to believe that there’s enough good players in this organization that this team can make the playoffs, especially if Risto is moved out for a top 4 RW. 

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1 minute ago, dudacek said:

Things that make me feel excited about the coming season:

1) Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are poised for career years. I think they have matured physically and mentally enough that they are ready to take the reins on and off the ice and have a bit of a coming out party. I think Jack will break 90 points and Sam 70.

2) Victor Oloffson is the real deal. I am surprised there is no buzz for this guy league-wide. He just gets it. He moves himself and the puck so well and his shot is unreal. And he is being put into a position to succeed. We’re overdue for longshot to burst onto the scene and Victor is the man. 30 goals are not out of the question.
I did see an article or two where he was talked about as an under-the-radar Calder candidate. He won't be under the radar long.

3) The power play is going to be deadly. I will be sorely disappointed if it is not top 10 in the league. Putting Victor opposite Jack gives us the rare ability to be ambidextrous when it comes to setting up the shot, and making Dahlin a full-timer gives us three silky passers. Skinner and Reinhart are deadly down low and Krueger seems to be encouraging them to move themselves around in a way they didn’t last year. And the 2nd unit has more firepower than we’ve seen here in a decade.
Uncannily similar to Hedman pivoting between Stamkos and Kucherov, eh? Obv Victor isn't Kuch, but his shot is comparable. And Reinhart could do the Point role in the dirty areas

4) I’m not sure if there is a more mobile defence corps in the NHL. When it comes to skating and distributing the puck, Miller, Montour and Dahlin are among top tier in the league. Risto is going to look a lot better when he realizes he doesn’t have to do things all by himself and Joki and Pilut are waiting in the wings. We are going to be very good at launching the rush and at supporting it. There should be an extra body contributing to the attack no matter which pair is on the ice and we should be better at  3-on-3 and 4-on-4 situations than pretty much any time in recent memory.
Hoping the OT strategy on display in the preseason continues into the regular season.

5) We aren’t slow any more. Adding Miller, Montour, Johansson, Vesey, Olofsson, Gilmour and Jokiharju this year, plus Sheary, Mittelstadt, Skinner, Elie, Pilut and Dahlin last year has transformed Tim Murray’s plowhorse brigade into an up-tempo squad that can move their feet and the puck. It’s no wonder Kyle looks so slow, we aren’t comparing him to Deslauriers, Franson and Falk.
I've been fooled by our projected team speed more than once, but I hope this is the year we finally actually look quick in practice, not just in theory. 

6) Ralph. We still don’t know if he has the hockey smarts or the players to get things done, but nothing I’ve seen this fall has shaken my hope that Krueger is the type of leader this team needs to shake off the stink of the past eight years and avoid the emotional collapse that ruined us last year when the inevitable tough times come. He gets it and he’s someone people should follow.
Very possible Ralph knows exactly how to make us a more dangerous offensive team and has been working at it for weeks with the players and months before that. 

There are plenty of things on the other side of the ledger that should make us worry but this isn’t the thread for it. 

This wander through the desert has to stop sometime.

October is about hope and I see no upside to not embrace it for as long as I can.

 

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2 hours ago, Derrico said:

My two thoughts?  We are one friggen RW away from having a decent forward group.  Not top 10 in the league but not bottom 10 either.  I'm still holding out hope we can atleast bring a good RW in (I know we all want centre).  Put a good RW in that second line and all of a sudden alot of things make sense.  Man it makes too much sense trading Risto, just need that partner.

Also, we have several regulars on D injured to start the season.  But holy this is some depth to still field that top 6 AND still sending Borgan down.  All this Vlad talk, I do want to point out this is the best Defense all around Buffalo has had in atleast 10 years.  Probably much longer.

^ ^ ^ 

Edited by Thorny

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I keep posting that I have absolutely no idea what this season holds, and that is because I see an optimistic possibility and I also see a doom and gloom one. Either is possible, neither will shock me, and the reality will probably be something in between, but here's the optimism version:

Top line - Jack peaks. It all comes together and as a mature leader he can score, he can make plays, and he can also handle himself and dish out a little punishment when he has to. A true dominant force. Sam fully comes together and it's a full season of him at those solid moments we've seen from time to time. Leadership included. Olofsson fits perfectly and is the sniper we've been lacking. A line teams really have to worry about.

Second line - Johanson stays healthy and wows everyone as an exceptional playmaker who gets the puck onto Skinner's stick and Skinner maintains his 30-40 goal pace even though he's on the 2nd line. Sobodka surprises everyone, scores rebounds in front and covers all of Skinner's d lapses. The line thrives and can match lines like Krejci's and other similar legit 2nd lines we face.

Third line - Mitts has an increased comfort level down the roster and has instant chemistry with a revived Vesey who plays like the promising guy he was when Nashville drafted him. 20 goal seasons for each and when Thompson comes up and joins them mid season he scores at an even faster pace giving us that depth scoring we lacked all last year.

Fourth - Somehow Kreuger understands Latvians and Girgensons and Laarson become two of the best penalty killers in the league. A solid 4th line that gives teams problems.

Dahlin develops even faster than anticipated and we see a dominant D man set to become a perennial allstar. Risto feeds off of him and we have a true #1 pairing.

The rest of the D is solid. The pairings click. Bogo comes back and can't even make the roster even though he's playing well.

Ullmark finally plays like a #1 and has an amazing breakout season stealing numerous close games for us.

Power play is fast, full of movement and the scoring is spread around so teams can't just focus on Jack. Top 5 PP in the league.

Goal scoring way up. Goals against way down. We win the close ones and most of the OT and shootout games. 

Kreuger is coach of the year.

 

There it is. 

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I could see the VO - Eichel - Reinhart line absolutely exploding if Jack stays healthy. 

I know he played 77 games last year but there was a stretch where the injury was clearly lingering. I think it’s as likely as not he flirts with 100 points if he plays a healthy 82. 

Edited by Thorny
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25 minutes ago, Thorny said:

I could see the VO - Eichel - Reinhart line absolutely exploding if Jack stays healthy. 

I know he played 77 games last year but there was a stretch where the injury was clearly lingering. I think it’s as likely as not he flirts with 100 points if he plays a healthy 82. 

And Reinhart tops 80 on that line.

90/70 if they're separate.

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6 minutes ago, Taro T said:

And Reinhart tops 80 on that line.

90/70 if they're separate.

If Reinhart were to bump down and Skinner stayed there too, I’d have Jack at around 80, Reinhart around 60. 

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4 minutes ago, Thorny said:

If Reinhart were to bump down and Skinner stayed there too, I’d have Jack at around 80, Reinhart around 60. 

I'd expect both of those are a bit too low because both guys are entering their primes.

But if they do stay together, I am.rescinding the prediction that Reinhart starts slowly like he always has.  Which is a big part of expecting 80+ from him paired with Eichel.

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9 minutes ago, Taro T said:

I'd expect both of those are a bit too low because both guys are entering their primes.

But if they do stay together, I am.rescinding the prediction that Reinhart starts slowly like he always has.  Which is a big part of expecting 80+ from him paired with Eichel.

I’m really interested to see how close Eichel is to his. For a long time I was thinking this year lined up with MacKinnon’s big breakout year, their 5th years. But MacKinnon was a really late birthday for his draft year, really Jack was nearly MacKinnon’s breakout year age last year. 

But, if you look at it from the perspective of years of experience, could line up with this season. It’s just a random comparison anyways, in the end. 

Who knows when his seasons with the highest point totals come, as that’s dependent on so many things, but I’d bet by the time this season is over we are seeing close to physically maximized Jack Eichel. 

Edited by Thorny

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I went to the opening game in 1991 against Mario's Pittsburg Pens and I was telling my friend that the Sabres were the best team in the Adams division. We lost that game and didn't have a great season. I felt dumb, lol. Can't help think about that with Pens coming up tomorrow. Guess I'm afraid of being optimistic but I have to admit the game this weekend gave me hope. I'm trying to be hopeful and like what I see so far. 

 

Go Sabres! 

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The Sabres play real hockey tomorrow.  That's all I care about.

REAL. HOCKEY.

So does the rest of the league, so that's a bonus.

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I think the coaching change will be everything we ever wanted.  The simpler hockey will be more entertaining than the crap we saw last year, even if we lose.  And Johansson is going to be more of a factor in the turnaround than many of the fans currently recognize.  Miller's contribution is being underrated as well.  We had huge problems with our depth last year that has been addressed quite well I believe.  A 2RW pending, and Montour injury probably delaying a Ristolainen trade to acquire that 2RW, but a month from that final roster change is enough.

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My reasons for optimism:

- I like RK, and I believe that the Sabres have enough talent that what is now holding them back is almost entirely between the ears.  The right coach can IMHO instill the necessary level of focus/confidence/intensity/buy-in/consistency/esprit de corps, in which the Sabres have been sadly lacking, and I think RK is very likely the man for the job. 

- Quite a few hockey people seem to respect RK too.

- Mike Bales, the new goalie coach, had very good success in Pittsburgh and Carolina.  Goaltending is the biggest area in need of improvement and IMHO both Hutton and Ullmark are capable of at least mid-tier performance.  Between Bales, RK and an improved D group, the goalies will get what they need and will improve materially over last year's poor 2nd half.

- The D will be much improved in both personnel and coaching.  The Kid is a year older and stronger, and even if he's not ready for Norris contention, he will be more than a little better than last year, when he was pretty GD good.  Add Miller, Montour, Joker, a more experienced Pilut, a ticked-off and better-rested Risto with something to prove, a better depth guy in Gilmour and better D coaching from RK, plus more confidence arising from better goaltending, and this unit will be quite strong.

- The additions of VO and MoJo into the top 6 give the Sabres a much improved 2nd line, and dropping Mitts and adding Vesey to the 3rd line could result in a much improved 3rd line as well (a low bar to clear, to be sure).  I am reasonably confident that TT will force his way into the #2 RW or #3 RW slot by New Year's, which will also help scoring depth.

- I think The top PP of Eichel, Reino, Skinner, VO and Dahlin will be very strong.

- Before Eichel got concussed last year, he was emerging as a monster.  If he stays healthy, with Reino in a contract year on one wing and the FNG sniper on the other, there is a good chance that he forces his way into true elite status.  If nothing else this will be entertaining to watch.

So -- there is good reason for optimism regarding better coaching, goaltending, defense, scoring depth, power play and top gun production. 

Go Sabres.

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My reason for optimism:  They haven't started the season yet.

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Goalofsson, a good defense, and our good forwards like Jack, Sam and Skinner. 

Also healthy Johansson will be a pleasant surprise even to people with good expectations for him

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I am optimistic about this team.  Not quite as optimistic as I was about the Bills, but there is much to like about this team.

1) Having 4 forward lines of real hockey players (ok except maybe Sobatka 🙂 )

2) Having depth and legit talent on defense.  When Montour and Pilut get fully healthy we'll be 8-9 players deep with legit NHL D.

3) HCRK - As Lebrun said underestimate him at your peril.  I went back and looked at what he did with Edm, in Europe and with team Europe, and you consistently find teams that play with structure, play at a higher level then their talent and are solid defensively.  These are all things that have been lacking here is recent years.  Add how the team played with pace in the pre-season and this alone is cause for some optimism.

4) Now add 5 significant upgrades to the team since the trade deadline in Goal-ofsson, MoJo, Miller, Montour and Vesey (28% of the starting skaters) and you have more reason for optimism.  

The question is will the vets buy in to what HCRK is selling, whether the goaltending will hold up and whether JBot will support this team as opposed to last year when needs arise?

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Looks like Penguins will be without Rust, Crosby and Golchinick are game time decisions, so we might get lucky opening night in that regard 

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I'm optimistic because even with my usual excitement for the season taking a sizable dip, due to how the off-season unfolded,  I'm still darn excited. Just want to watch some hockey now. 

Edited by Thorny

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6 minutes ago, bob_sauve28 said:

Looks like Penguins will be without Rust, Crosby and Golchinick are game time decisions, so we might get lucky opening night in that regard 

https://www.nhl.com/penguins/news/crosby-galchenyuk-status-updates-for-thursdays-opener/c-309654476

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be in the lineup for his team when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night in the season opener at PPG Paints Arena. 

"'Sid' is good to go," head coach Mike Sullivan said. 

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3 hours ago, bob_sauve28 said:

Looks like Penguins will be without Rust, Crosby and Golchinick are game time decisions, so we might get lucky opening night in that regard 

Golchinick?  Galchenyuk?  

Im not a grammar stickler, but that needed correction.  No offense.

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The Sabres went 33-39-10 last season after going 25-45-12 the previous year.

I just can't imagine them somehow being worse.

I think they can get to 40 wins.

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This team can be good and be right in the playoff mix. I believe in Kreuger so strongly and i believe his leadership will unlock things no coach has unlocked within this group of players...namely understanding that no matter what your role is, no role is more or less important, just different and that you need to embrace it for the good of the team and take it to heart.  This is what "buy-in" means when coaches talk about it.

I believe Kreuger will be looked at as one of the greatest hires in Sabres history.

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I think today will mark the start of an unbelievable stretch wearing the 50ths. So good it carries us to the playoffs where we wear our 50s for every home game. 

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