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The Krueger Effect

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8 minutes ago, Broken Ankles said:

    What I can appreciate from RK, and it was never directly discussed in the article, was the decision behind breaking up the Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart line.   There is a quote from Skinner and how he is working well with MoJo, but the question is never asked WHY was the decision made.  I think it's significant.    I think Reinhart has the offensive skill set to drive a line (whether from the RW or C position).   But Sam is in a contract year, and its vital that he proves himself for this contract.   Having Jack center him is a way of RK saying I'm going to give you every opportunity for you to succeed and get a long term deal.  While at the same time saying to JB, let's see him validate his worthiness to the upcoming contract offer.    The same (to a lesser extent) can be said of Olafsson.   He's also an  RFA, and while his term and AAV will not be near what Sam's will be, the stats he can obtain to increase the overall value are attainable with Jack more so than anyone else on this team.   And the message to Skinner thus far has been, you earned the right to your extension, now deliver under more difficult conditions.  

I think the fact that Jeff, not Sam, has been tapped to drive L2 supports  @nfreeman’s contention that Jeff is the better player.

But I think it has more to do with chemistry, whether that is driven by contract or less mercenary factors.

Players have talked about being able to talk to Ralph and feeling like he listens. I wonder if Sam and Jack talked to him about their desire to play together. I remember Sam’s surprise in training camp when a reporter told him he and Jack were being broken up.

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It's an interest question as why Jeff is on Line 2.  

I believe roster construction may have been the ultimate decider once they decided to move MoJo to center.  

The Sabres had 5 legit players for the top 6 in Sam, Jeff, MoJo, VO and Jack.  On paper this was 3 LW, 1 C and 1 RW.  You also have 2 snipers at LW (VO and Skinner) but one is a rookie.  MoJo, Sam and Jack are all good all-around players with MoJo likely being the best two-way player of the group.  

So how do allocate these 5?  Ultimately they moved MoJo to center and the dominoes fell from there. The next question was with which center to place VO.  Ultimately it was decided that the rookie would be best with Jack while the vet Skinner would be best playing with MoJo as he got used to playing center again.  That slotted Sam back with Jack and left an open RW with MoJo.  There RK took a chance on a vet like Sobotka and his excellent FO skills to further  support MoJo's transition back to center.

 

 

Edited by GASabresIUFAN

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I think it's interesting that Olofsson is the oldest of the 1st line players.  Jack is the youngest.

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I’m really enjoying these intelligent insightful posts from everyone. I learn more about this game here at Sabrespace than any other environment. 

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13 minutes ago, bunomatic said:

I’m really enjoying these intelligent insightful posts from everyone. I learn more about this game here at Sabrespace than any other environment. 

Agreed 

 

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2 hours ago, Broken Ankles said:

    What I can appreciate from RK, and it was never directly discussed in the article, was the decision behind breaking up the Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart line.   There is a quote from Skinner and how he is working well with MoJo, but the question is never asked WHY was the decision made.  I think it's significant.    I think Reinhart has the offensive skill set to drive a line (whether from the RW or C position).   But Sam is in a contract year, and its vital that he proves himself for this contract.   Having Jack center him is a way of RK saying I'm going to give you every opportunity for you to succeed and get a long term deal.  While at the same time saying to JB, let's see him validate his worthiness to the upcoming contract offer.    The same (to a lesser extent) can be said of Olafsson.   He's also an  RFA, and while his term and AAV will not be near what Sam's will be, the stats he can obtain to increase the overall value are attainable with Jack more so than anyone else on this team.   And the message to Skinner thus far has been, you earned the right to your extension, now deliver under more difficult conditions.  

It was answered, several times actually.  It comes down to wanting scoring on each line and also carefully managing offensive responsibility with defensive responsibility on the lines as well. RK talked about it at length a few times actually.

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2 hours ago, dudacek said:

I think the fact that Jeff, not Sam, has been tapped to drive L2 supports  @nfreeman’s contention that Jeff is the better player.

But I think it has more to do with chemistry, whether that is driven by contract or less mercenary factors.

Players have talked about being able to talk to Ralph and feeling like he listens. I wonder if Sam and Jack talked to him about their desire to play together. I remember Sam’s surprise in training camp when a reporter told him he and Jack were being broken up.

 

30 minutes ago, matter2003 said:

It was answered, several times actually.  It comes down to wanting scoring on each line and also carefully managing offensive responsibility with defensive responsibility on the lines as well. RK talked about it at length a few times actually.

   I would argue that a FL#1 of Skinner Eichel Vesey is more Defensively responsible, and would maintain chemistry.   Evidence is such that Olofsson has been replaced many times for Vesey  in close games.  This would move Sam and Victor to FL#2 which would be slightly less responsible defensively but probably improve chemistry (MoJo and his countryman Olofsson) and improve offensive production.   And Jimmy is a FA next year too.   Why not see if he is motivated?  Victor has done everything the Sabres has asked from a developmental perspective, which is why I think he gets the opportunity to play along side Jack over others.   His wicked one-timer not withstanding. 

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Krueger made a comment in his post game last night that raised my eyebrow a bit, in that it seemed innocuous enough, but might have been a little more meaningful than he made it seem.

"Our game asks for a lot of movement, a lot of speed, a lot of skating, and we hit a bit of a wall today..."

I've gotten the general vibe from Krueger since even before the season started that one of his underlying goals was to shake these guys down by asking a lot from them. More than any coach previously has asked.

He mentions regularly that everyone is bought in and working hard, and I think that's his way of reinforcing his expectations from them. If he says they're working hard, they better look like it. Giving them mornings off before home games isn't just smart coaching from a physical standpoint, it's a little bit of psychology too.

Unfortunately, I think he knows that asking them to work at this level might not be something they can sustain. The way for this team to succeed may ultimately be its undoing this season if the players simply cannot keep up.
 

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46 minutes ago, darksabre said:

Krueger made a comment in his post game last night that raised my eyebrow a bit, in that it seemed innocuous enough, but might have been a little more meaningful than he made it seem.

"Our game asks for a lot of movement, a lot of speed, a lot of skating, and we hit a bit of a wall today..."

I've gotten the general vibe from Krueger since even before the season started that one of his underlying goals was to shake these guys down by asking a lot from them. More than any coach previously has asked.

He mentions regularly that everyone is bought in and working hard, and I think that's his way of reinforcing his expectations from them. If he says they're working hard, they better look like it. Giving them mornings off before home games isn't just smart coaching from a physical standpoint, it's a little bit of psychology too.

Unfortunately, I think he knows that asking them to work at this level might not be something they can sustain. The way for this team to succeed may ultimately be its undoing this season if the players simply cannot keep up.
 

Ralph said the coaches were even feeling the effects of 13 games in 24 nights.

And he was looking a little frazzled himself.

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It will be good for them to have today off. Everyone needs a short break. I think Dahlin in particular will benefit from a step back. 

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Didn't Phil come in here saying the boys would need to be able to handle the rigours of his system?

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1 hour ago, darksabre said:

Krueger made a comment in his post game last night that raised my eyebrow a bit, in that it seemed innocuous enough, but might have been a little more meaningful than he made it seem.

"Our game asks for a lot of movement, a lot of speed, a lot of skating, and we hit a bit of a wall today..."

I've gotten the general vibe from Krueger since even before the season started that one of his underlying goals was to shake these guys down by asking a lot from them. More than any coach previously has asked.

He mentions regularly that everyone is bought in and working hard, and I think that's his way of reinforcing his expectations from them. If he says they're working hard, they better look like it. Giving them mornings off before home games isn't just smart coaching from a physical standpoint, it's a little bit of psychology too.

Unfortunately, I think he knows that asking them to work at this level might not be something they can sustain. The way for this team to succeed may ultimately be its undoing this season if the players simply cannot keep up.
 

That's absolutely a concern.  BUT with the majority of the key players being very young, very fast, or both (and the top D pairing not necessarily having blazing speed but good speed and a history of ridiculous minutes), if any team is built to play a fly as long as you're on the ice style; it's this one.

And, except for Okposo, they can easily walk away from anybody at the end of the season that doesn't fit the style with a few guys already in the pipeline ready to backfill those ranks.  (How effectively remains to be seen, but there are bodies already penciled in for next year that are expected to fit in )

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Their schedule hasn't been too crazy.  Most of the season is like this.

 

 

They will get a lot of time off before the Sweden trip and after it.  The week I'm worried about is Thanksgiving---there's games in Florida Sun/Mon, home game Wednesday, Thanksgiving Thursday, then a back-to-back Fri/Sat both against Toronto.  Toronto only plays the Red Wings that week.  Everyone wants them to play Toronto well, but they're going to be in an awful situation to do so.

Edited by triumph_communes
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First time in what seems like ages that whatever is needing fixing is not the coaching. That's been fixed I believe.

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4 minutes ago, Radar said:

First time in what seems like ages that whatever is needing fixing is not the coaching. That's been fixed I believe.

This week, in particular, will verify that (or not).  They get several days to address some things that have slipped lately.  If they can do that and it shows this weekend, you will be correct.

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5 hours ago, triumph_communes said:

Their schedule hasn't been too crazy.  Most of the season is like this.

 

No one has played more games and that includes a West Coast roadie. 

Its been 13 games and 10 flights in 26 nights. That’s pretty crazy.

Edited by dudacek
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4 hours ago, Radar said:

First time in what seems like ages that whatever is needing fixing is not the coaching. That's been fixed I believe.

I certainly believe it's far better than it was but two things I've noticed so far disturb me:

1) The line changes have been a real issue. In addition to multiple too many men penalties it feels as if we constantly execute a line change when it either kills off a rush the other way or leaves us in a position to get toasted the other way. Haven't got burned bad by this yet but if it continues it's only a matter of time.

2) It is painfully obvious that teams have figured out that when they hit us with an aggressive forecheck we look like chickens with our heads cut off. From what I've seen there has been no attempt to try and make a tactical adjustment to counter this. We all know there is a system in place, but if something isn't working you have to fix the problem.  

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26 minutes ago, sabremike said:

I certainly believe it's far better than it was but two things I've noticed so far disturb me:

1) The line changes have been a real issue. In addition to multiple too many men penalties it feels as if we constantly execute a line change when it either kills off a rush the other way or leaves us in a position to get toasted the other way. Haven't got burned bad by this yet but if it continues it's only a matter of time.

2) It is painfully obvious that teams have figured out that when they hit us with an aggressive forecheck we look like chickens with our heads cut off. From what I've seen there has been no attempt to try and make a tactical adjustment to counter this. We all know there is a system in place, but if something isn't working you have to fix the problem.  

A good forecheck is something that just about any team has trouble with.  I agree that Buffalo needs to improve against an aggressive forecheck, but they also worlds better against the forecheck than any time in the past several years.  I think they are on the right track and regularly beating the opponents forecheck with quality passes and dmen skating the puck up ice.

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On 10/24/2019 at 11:57 AM, Broken Ankles said:

 

   I would argue that a FL#1 of Skinner Eichel Vesey is more Defensively responsible, and would maintain chemistry.   Evidence is such that Olofsson has been replaced many times for Vesey  in close games.  This would move Sam and Victor to FL#2 which would be slightly less responsible defensively but probably improve chemistry (MoJo and his countryman Olofsson) and improve offensive production.   And Jimmy is a FA next year too.   Why not see if he is motivated?  Victor has done everything the Sabres has asked from a developmental perspective, which is why I think he gets the opportunity to play along side Jack over others.   His wicked one-timer not withstanding. 

I think Johanson combined with Skinner was a good idea. Playmaker and scorer combo. Sam on that line is not a sniper. Oloffson added as well gives you that but the line would be less physical. Skinner seems more able to handle himself and adding Sobotka (for now) gives a little more room for Johanson (who is surprisingly fast in open ice) and maybe protects his potential fragility a little bit. Jack is a complete player so needs less of that and hence Reinhart, more skilled but less physical, fits the role with Olofsson as a speed sniper. I wouldn't change the lines, unless someone can come up better than Vlad.

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1 hour ago, PerreaultForever said:

I think Johanson combined with Skinner was a good idea. Playmaker and scorer combo. Sam on that line is not a sniper. Oloffson added as well gives you that but the line would be less physical. Skinner seems more able to handle himself and adding Sobotka (for now) gives a little more room for Johanson (who is surprisingly fast in open ice) and maybe protects his potential fragility a little bit. Jack is a complete player so needs less of that and hence Reinhart, more skilled but less physical, fits the role with Olofsson as a speed sniper. I wouldn't change the lines, unless someone can come up better than Vlad.

I agree.  I like what Johanson and Skinner have done.  Developing something.  Their give & go against Arizona was a thing of beauty.  But Vlad just looks lost in the offensive zone.  Any benefit he make to the defensive responsibility is lost (plus some) in the offensive side.  Maybe Tage can fill this void if he improves his defense on the farm. 

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14 hours ago, sabremike said:

I certainly believe it's far better than it was but two things I've noticed so far disturb me:

1) The line changes have been a real issue. In addition to multiple too many men penalties it feels as if we constantly execute a line change when it either kills off a rush the other way or leaves us in a position to get toasted the other way. Haven't got burned bad by this yet but if it continues it's only a matter of time.

2) It is painfully obvious that teams have figured out that when they hit us with an aggressive forecheck we look like chickens with our heads cut off. From what I've seen there has been no attempt to try and make a tactical adjustment to counter this. We all know there is a system in place, but if something isn't working you have to fix the problem.  

Ages with your assessment of running around when being heavily forechecked. Haven't noticed the line change issue but I'm watching games on tv so it's hard to notice as I may if at games. 

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17 hours ago, Broken Ankles said:

But Vlad just looks lost in the offensive zone. 

But that's his job:  "Hey Vlad, go get lost in the offensive zone.... and take some defenders with you."

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On 10/29/2019 at 3:49 PM, dudacek said:

No one has played more games and that includes a West Coast roadie. 

Its been 13 games and 10 flights in 26 nights. That’s pretty crazy.

Try actually facing the travel of BEING a west cost team. 

It's certainly a reasonably heavy schedule but I wouldn't call it crazy, at least to start a season. West cost teams in particular face difficult schedules like this fairly often. Leafs just did 13 in the same nights. Most of the teams they've played more than in the month, it's by a single game. 

It goes without saying I'm quite happy with their record in the month, given the reasonably difficult yet not insane schedule. 

Edited by Thorny

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