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GDT: Montreal at Buffalo Sabres Oct.9th, 7pm ET, MSG-RSN and WGR 550

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9 minutes ago, Doohickie said:

And, of course, Goalofsson.

Of course.  What a stud.

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2 hours ago, WildCard said:

They play tomorrow vs Detroit and apparently we're worse than Detroit 

Somebody needs to stop Mantha.

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1 hour ago, nfreeman said:

I too have not loved Eichel's start to the season.

Me neither, he was quoted in the pre-season saying he wanted to be an elite goal scorer and would be shooting more, it feels like he's shooting less than usual and is forcing passes. He needs to use his shot and be less selfish (and also finish on f'n breakaways).

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I really hope the Sabres win tonight, I'm going to see Montreal host the Blues (first time seeing a game in MTL, super stoked) on Saturday and I'll probably rock a Sabres sweater, want to remind those frenchie jerks of that loss.

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52 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

Well, I'm not advocating for any change other than Eichel bearing down and playing better.

I have not seen early-last-season-emerging-monster Eichel yet.  I've seen a very good player, playing hard and responsibly but not dominating.

Do you think he's playing as well as we should expect/as we need him to play?

It’s been three games. He’s performed at 90-95 % of the average of what I am expecting over 82.

I expect there will be three-game stretches where he is worse than this and three games segments where he is better.

43 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

I suspect this may be true too, but as you know from the energy I put into things like the Larry line, and Rodrigues, I'm all about fine-tuning roster choices so that you maximize what you have in every instance on the ice, because I really think it makes a difference. You can watch any one game and say "yeah well making this small switch wouldn't have changed the result tonight" and be 'technically' correct, but a lot of hockey games happen to build your final record, and the way last season unfolded has changed the way I look at how hockey works - it has become clear to me that those small changes matter as much as anything else as time goes on, and they're also the thing the guys in charge have the most control over, since trades require other interested parties which can be hard to find in the grind of the season.

Closely following our middle six starting during the win streak, being alarmed by what I saw, "but we are winning" push-back to any of these suggestions at the time, and then seeing that problem continue unabated for 2 months even as it contributed in a large way to unraveling our season, when within-the-organization changes were available, I dunno, I just watched the amount it mattered accelerate as we did nothing to change it. Hell, it's how Bill Belichick dominates seasons that only have 16 opportunities for decisions like that to play out. He meticulously perfects and exploits every possible position, in large and small ways, and views even the tiniest detail as critical to maximizing the chances of success, and he'll tell you that. So yes, I'm going to keep harping "the little things" and cite work I've already done and successful predictions in the face of the very same "eh it doesn't actually matter, you're being ridiculous, this is fine" that's already being set to start again like last season never happened or was always doomed to fail from the start as if there was nothing we could have done to stop ourselves from being by far the worst team (record-wise) to ever win 10 games in a row

So with that being said, yes I want Skinner-Eichel together soon, unless Eichel-Olofsson-Reinhart start outscoring their opponents at even strength. I'm not saying they've failed to this point, or that I wouldn't give them more games, just that if the script doesn't change from its brief start, we should adjust accordingly. 

This is not “ignore the signs because we are winning” pushback.

So far, the pluses of Krueger’s player deployment have objectively outweighed the minuses for the team.

You and others were correct to question the wisdom of separating Jack and Jeff, and have no reason to stop questioning after such a small sample size. But the results thus far have unquestionably supported the move.

I suspect hockey being the way it is there will be times during the season where they will not, and part of Krueger’s success will be dictated by how well he reads those signs.

But if we have 15 points after nine games and Jack continues to be non-productive 5 on 5 but his line continues to positively tilt the ice, Johansson’s line does the same and Skinner continues to score, why change?

Edited by dudacek
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18 minutes ago, Beer said:

Flag, it's a great post.  Money puck.  I think it will be important to give time to Olofsson-Eichel-Reinhart and Skinner-Johansson-Soboka before we rush back to Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart (1-dimensional).  I have to believe that two capable lines will be more beneficial in the long run.  Skinner can drive the 2nd line.  I don't see Olofsson being able to do that if you switched he and Skinner.

Are there any stats on drawing penalties?  As discussed above, this team is going to thrive on the PP.  This could be another benefit to splitting up Eichel and Skinner on separate lines because they both are very capable of drawing penalties.

Right, it's too early for trends to be cemented - which is why I started by saying that "I'm going to be watching the Eichel line tonight" for ES production. Just that, if it doesn't start to happen, I'd like to go back to Eichel-Skinner. 

And I know Skinner can drive a second line, but Sam was very good away from Eichel last year too, so that's the thing I'd go for. I think Sam-Mojo-Olofsson could be very good if we wanted to go that way, with Jack-Jeff up top. But again, this is only if our top line continues to get outscored, I'm not gonna nag Ralph for any lineup decisions right this second.

I would try to avoid 53-9-23 for the reasons you state. 

And you're right, drawing penalties is incredibly important. But Jack-Jeff drew them at a ludicrous rate together last season, nothing about them playing together indicates to me that it would happen less often, because it's not like Skinner is a puck-dominant player without Jack. He does his thing no matter where he is, and he's historically a 25-35 goal scorer doing it away from Jack, and gets bumped up when with Jack. So I don't think that'd be a huge issue, but I'm sure it's something you could watch for. 

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6 minutes ago, dudacek said:

This is not “because we are winning” pushback.

So far, the pluses of Krueger’s player deployment have objectively outweighed the minuses for the team.

You and others were correct to question the wisdom of separating Jack and Jeff, and have no reason to stop questioning after such a small sample size. But the results thus far have unquestionably supported the move.

I suspect hockey being the way it is there will be times during the season where they will not, and part of Krueger’s success will be dictated by how well he reads those signs.

I'm not saying anything in this thread has been. 

We have won 2 of 3 games, which is nice, but we will not win at that rate IF the Eichel line can't score at even strength, so literally allllllllllllll I'm ssayyyyyyyyyyyying is that if that brief trend continues, we should shake things up. Nothing more, nothing less.

Edited by Randall Flagg
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2 hours ago, Weave said:

Mine too.  Division rival with a good track record against and noone on the roster that you worry about hurting our guys.  Makes for fun games to watch.

Who was the last truly hated Montreal player?  Been a long time since Knuckles Nilan or Shayne Corson.

Max Domi has had a couple questionable moments. 

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42 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

I suspect this may be true too, but as you know from the energy I put into things like the Larry line, and Rodrigues, I'm all about fine-tuning roster choices so that you maximize what you have in every instance on the ice, because I really think it makes a difference. You can watch any one game and say "yeah well making this small switch wouldn't have changed the result tonight" and be 'technically' correct, but a lot of hockey games happen to build your final record, and the way last season unfolded has changed the way I look at how hockey works - it has become clear to me that those small changes matter as much as anything else as time goes on, and they're also the thing the guys in charge have the most control over, since trades require other interested parties which can be hard to find in the grind of the season.

Closely following our middle six starting during the win streak, being alarmed by what I saw, "but we are winning" push-back to any of these suggestions at the time, and then seeing that problem continue unabated for 2 months even as it contributed in a large way to unraveling our season, when within-the-organization changes were available, I dunno, I just watched the amount it mattered accelerate as we did nothing to change it. Hell, it's how Bill Belichick dominates seasons that only have 16 opportunities for decisions like that to play out. He meticulously perfects and exploits every possible position, in large and small ways, and views even the tiniest detail as critical to maximizing the chances of success, and he'll tell you that. So yes, I'm going to keep harping "the little things" and cite work I've already done and successful predictions in the face of the very same "eh it doesn't actually matter, you're being ridiculous, this is fine" that's already being set to start again like last season never happened or was always doomed to fail from the start as if there was nothing we could have done to stop ourselves from being by far the worst team (record-wise) to ever win 10 games in a row

So with that being said, yes I want Skinner-Eichel together soon, unless Eichel-Olofsson-Reinhart start outscoring their opponents at even strength. I'm not saying they've failed to this point, or that I wouldn't give them more games, just that if the script doesn't change from its brief start, we should adjust accordingly. 

I think something to keep in mind is that Krueger has stressed players spending a lot of time together to learn each other's habits and know where they'll be on the ice.

So the reason I think we're seeing Olofsson with Eichel right now is that Skinner and Eichel already know each other really well. If Ralph wants to be able to switch Olofsson and Skinner at will as the season goes on, he needs Olofsson to have a good familiarity with Jack so that it works. Then you can slide Olofsson back with Johansson and let them get comfortable while Jack and Jeff do their thing on the top line.

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1 minute ago, darksabre said:

I think something to keep in mind is that Krueger has stressed players spending a lot of time together to learn each other's habits and know where they'll be on the ice.

So the reason I think we're seeing Olofsson with Eichel right now is that Skinner and Eichel already know each other really well. If Ralph wants to be able to switch Olofsson and Skinner at will as the season goes on, he needs Olofsson to have a good familiarity with Jack so that it works. Then you can slide Olofsson back with Johansson and let them get comfortable while Jack and Jeff do their thing on the top line.

And I'm good with this. I don't think Ralph has explicitly made any errors or anything, and I'm as excited as anyone to see it play out. Just laying out what I'm looking for over the next couple weeks, and what I'd like to change if the top line can't stay above water in goals

Edited by Randall Flagg

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2 minutes ago, darksabre said:

I think something to keep in mind is that Krueger has stressed players spending a lot of time together to learn each other's habits and know where they'll be on the ice.

So the reason I think we're seeing Olofsson with Eichel right now is that Skinner and Eichel already know each other really well. If Ralph wants to be able to switch Olofsson and Skinner at will as the season goes on, he needs Olofsson to have a good familiarity with Jack so that it works. Then you can slide Olofsson back with Johansson and let them get comfortable while Jack and Jeff do their thing on the top line.

I agree this is possible and think it would be prudent.

1 minute ago, Randall Flagg said:

And I'm good with this. I don't think Ralph has explicitly made any errors or anything, and I'm as excited as anyone to see it play out. Just laying out what I'm looking for over the next couple weeks

And I agree this is something to watch. 

So far Krueger has exhibited the tendency to think big picture.

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It's painful for me to say, as one of Jack's biggest fans, and there are a lot of factors that have nothing to do with Jack influencing it, but in his career he is ultimately a pretty damn negative ES player, and that's something that would necessitate changing one way or another for this team to be good. We KNOW that when he's with Jeff, he can be a VERY positive player for a very long period of time. And that the team can win while this happens. That's why it's my first default for if things were to go sour.

Edited by Randall Flagg

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Saw the opener.   Missed the last two because I was in Nashville(excuse me for being distracted).  😈

Good guys in a big way tonight...

Buffalo 5

Montreal 2

Eichel(2), Reinhart, Joker and Girgensons with the goals. 

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There was a neat article in The Athletic (***** gotta cancel my free week subscription, good catch Flagg), after the Canadiens-Leafs game, highlighting the differences in roster building those two teams take, Leafs with the superstars taking up most of their cap, and MTL with the goalie and 4 middle-six-tier lines. (Though their top line is legit)

I think it's possible that Montreal's depth gives our guys some trouble, particularly Mittelstadt's line. Although last year some of the best games from guys playing in tonight's Sabres depth (Rodrigues, Sobotka, Okposo in particular) came against the Canadiens. 

It should be exciting either way if last year has any carry over. 

 

Edited by Randall Flagg

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I hope Dahlin smokes Domi in the corner and then gives him the Swedish meatballs (Scandinavian for tea baggin).

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45 minutes ago, darksabre said:

I think something to keep in mind is that Krueger has stressed players spending a lot of time together to learn each other's habits and know where they'll be on the ice.

So the reason I think we're seeing Olofsson with Eichel right now is that Skinner and Eichel already know each other really well. If Ralph wants to be able to switch Olofsson and Skinner at will as the season goes on, he needs Olofsson to have a good familiarity with Jack so that it works. Then you can slide Olofsson back with Johansson and let them get comfortable while Jack and Jeff do their thing on the top line.

No way this happens.  If you have two lines that produce, why change it?  The easier thing to do is replace Vlad with someone who can contribute more offensively to the second line.  Otherwise, unless there is an obvious net-negative problem (other than Vlad), moving pieces around on the top two lines only breaks up the mojo they have been working to build up.  Shuffling line mates around for no good reason does not at all seem like RK's modus operandi.

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2 minutes ago, ... said:

No way this happens.  If you have two lines that produce, why change it?  The easier thing to do is replace Vlad with someone who can contribute more offensively to the second line.  Otherwise, unless there is an obvious net-negative problem (other than Vlad), moving pieces around on the top two lines only breaks up the mojo they have been working to build up.  Shuffling line mates around for no good reason does not at all seem like RK's modus operandi.

The thing is that we don't have two lines that produce.

Plus if by some chance you get to the playoffs or something and you're really leaning on matchups to be a difference maker, you want the flexibility to move players around in your top six to get the best production against other teams.

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6 minutes ago, darksabre said:

The thing is that we don't have two lines that produce.

Plus if by some chance you get to the playoffs or something and you're really leaning on matchups to be a difference maker, you want the flexibility to move players around in your top six to get the best production against other teams.

For a three game tally, so far, yes, the top two lines are giving us points. Only Vlad has no points.  

On the second point...it's a good point.  I think the objective this season for RK, at least (let's forget about Botterill a moment), is to get into the playoffs.  If specific line combos get you there, so be it.  If they pack away points and are looking like a lock for the playoffs, then I can see messing around with lines to address what you're talking about - that would only make sense.  I don't believe that's the immediate objective for RK, though; you have to make it to the playoffs, first, and we're not guaranteed that, yet (he says with hopeful eyebrows).

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5 hours ago, Huckleberry said:

Time to light them up Jackie boy.

Don't worry, he'll get his 16 goals tonight to get that up to 1 per game.

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How many more games does Vlad get before Head Coach Ralph Krueger is forced to adjust the lines?  10... 20?  I would think Erod or Tage would give us more scoring prowess on the 2nd line.  I thought about KO but he seems to be playing well on the 4th line with Larry & Z.  He has a bit more jump in his step this season (a least to my eye).

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7 minutes ago, Beer said:

How many more games does Vlad get before Head Coach Ralph Krueger is forced to adjust the lines?  10... 20?  I would think Erod or Tage would give us more scoring prowess on the 2nd line.  I thought about KO but he seems to be playing well on the 4th line with Larry & Z.  He has a bit more jump in his step this season (a least to my eye).

One thing I like so far is the absence of knee jerk reactions to line juggling. Seemed like Phil was too quick to change things where as Ralph is giving the players a chance to build chemistry. 

On that note I think Vlad stays put for a while. Not because of his abilities but because things are working ok as is. But I do get where you are coming from. 

Edited by SABRES 0311

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I love playing the Habs, always have since the Pear-O days. 

Looking forward to see Erod play well tonight and stick.  When Sheary comes back maybe he pushes Sobie to the bench. Not seeing anything out of Vessey either   

I liking the start and they way RK has them playing, but I keep thinking of this lineup with another legit Top 6 forward.  

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Okay 4th game of the season and we already have some good in depth analysis and discussion occurring.

That' something I'll consider a positive by the way because i can't recall ever having this depth of fan analysis this early in season recently. 

So a division 4 pt game against a an old rival for Early season Wednesday night hockey. 

Sabres show us what they got and how they plan to entertain the home crowd with a rousing, high energy 3-2 win in OT..

Let's Go Buffalo... Home ice advantage protect your goal, Playoffs or bust.        

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1 hour ago, ... said:

For a three game tally, so far, yes, the top two lines are giving us points. Only Vlad has no points.  

In 3 games, the top 6 forwards have 4 ES goals.  It’s something, but it’s not a lot.  Something to watch going forward.

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I'd love a barn-burner tonight. I'm going Sabres over Habs 7-5 with an Okposo empty netter.

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