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nfreeman

What would you advise TP to do?

What would you do if you were advising TP?  

55 members have voted

  1. 1. OK, TP calls you and says he needs advice on fixing the Sabres. What would you tell him?

    • Wait until the end of the season, soberly evaluate the situation, and decide at that point.
      14
    • Do not fire JB now, but immediately find and hire a Lamoriello type as hockey czar, with the czar in charge of overseeing and evaluating JB, and if necessary finding JB's replacement.
      20
    • Immediately fire JB and hire a Lamoriello type as hockey czar, with the czar in charge of finding a new GM and overseeing the GM thereafter.
      10
    • Immediately fire JB and name RK as hockey czar, so RK is in charge of finding a new GM and overseeing the GM thereafter.
      3
    • Immediately fire JB and hire a replacement GM with experience and a good track record, so the new GM has the rest of this season to evaluate the team and plan for the offseason.
      8
  2. 2. TP then asks you why things seem to be working out for the Bills but not the Sabres. How do you explain it? (You can choose more than 1 factor here.)

    • TP chose the right top guy to build and lead the franchise for the Bills in McD, but whiffed twice for the Sabres in TM and JB.
      20
    • The Sabres tanked and the Bills didn't, so the Sabres had a much higher mountain to climb, both in terms of reconstructing the team and in shedding the loser mindset..
      13
    • The Bills' roster has been constructed to find guys who play with heart and togetherness, but the Sabres' roster has not.
      21
    • The Sabres have given big contracts to, and haven't unloaded, guys who either don't produce (Leino, Moulson, KO) or don't provide leadership (Ehrhoff, ROR, Eichel), while the Bills have dumped guys like that (Dareus, McCoy, Watkins).
      17
    • The Sabres have made a number of bad trades in which they've parted with valuable assets and not gotten much back (Lehner, E. Kane, ROR), while the Bills haven't done so.
      18
    • The Bills have a better home-field advantage than the Sabres do because football crowds are naturally bigger and louder than hockey crowds.
      0
  3. 3. TP then asks you, a passionate Sabres fan, whether he should sell the team. What do you say?

    • Yes
      12
    • No
      43


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OK, we can continue to wallow in misery and snipe at each other, or we can become part of the solution.  TP clearly needs our advice.  What do you want to tell him?

I voted:

- Do not fire JB now, but immediately find and bring in a czar (I nominate Sabrespace alumnus X. Benedict).

- Most of the factors listed as between the Bills and Sabres.

- Do not sell.  We need him, it will get better if he follows our advice, and when it does it will be awesome.

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Pegula made a bad hire with Rex Ryan, because he didn't know any better and had morons advising him. I like the fact he has shown the ability to learn and is dedicated to the teams and area. JB has committed enough sins already to be replaced IMO. I'm not sure who I'd bring in, but I know there are guys who could help this team build out there. I don't see it improving, so I'm for doing it sooner rather than later. And, before the next trade deadline.

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I don’t think the comparison with the Bills doing things right is valid. The Bills aren’t as good as their record and have benefited from a schedule of bad teams. I never liked the emphasis of drafting all the high defensive picks at the expense of the offense, and passing on drafting Mahones or Watson when QB was a clear priority.

And the fact football players don’t have guaranteed contracts but hockey players do makes a difference in cutting players.

Having said that, the breaking point for me with Botts was when he recently said they need all those defensemen for depth. At this point depth on D does no good when the forwards can’t score.

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I ask him where Jason is on the trade front - this team is still some injury luck and the RIGHT good trade away from exciting March hockey and a just-miss of the playoffs, with things pointing in the right direction and fans feeling good. If Jason's hands are tied and everyone knows he's backed into a corner and so won't give him anything of value, since they don't have to, it's time to move on from Jason, as it's unforgivable to have this roster right now with no way out, and with teams actively trying to keep us here, using our own situation as leverage against us. That's just never an acceptable situation to blunder yourself into. However, if things are moving and I like the sound of what's coming, I'd tell him to let that play out, and then judge where the team is at the end of the season. Either way, I'd suggest finding a hockey czar that has a track record of success and knowledge, and hiring him above Jason to oversee things, telling Jason that as long as this team isn't spinning in mud and is moving in the right direction, he has nothing to worry about - that it's simply a move that should have happened 9 years ago. 

The Bills' front office has a LOT of very good names in scouting and management fields. It's LARGE and it's well-defined, everyone knows their exact role. Sean and Brandon expect continual growth and demonstrated results, and everyone holds to that. I recall reading posts from knowledgeable football people on TBD, and articles written by sports journalists, that highlight how the Bills' front office is ideally put together. Even though there's not some football president, the sheer scope of the operation and the fact that they have it all covered with competence and interdependence has led to NFL stability rare for most franchises, certainly including ours. It has allowed them to routinely move in new team leaders, avoid embarrassing off field stuff, regularly shuffle in successful late round picks, and develop their own players. There has been meaningful, observable growth in nearly every important young player and draft pick. The culture Sean and Brandon have created is applied to all members of the organization, including themselves, and works well. Sean is far from perfect, but even the biggest skeptics can admit that he's gotten better about things like 4th down decisions. He's won his last two challenges as well. All they ask for is a little improvement every day, and they do their best to make sure it happens with them too. This is so important in the NFL because 16 games creates unheard of levels of importance and clutch/choke opportunities in ways we don't even think about, ways that don't compare to hockey. This level of importance makes it so that most teams are a mess, even when they're good. we may not yet be good, but we're not a mess. The only team that is both elite in players and not a mess is probably New England. A few teams join them every year, but don't stay for more than a couple. They are so obviously trying to create their own New England. It's not near complete, and it could easily fail, but it's working so far in these early stages, and is fun to watch. It helps that Russ Brandon is gone.

The Sabres like to talk the talk w.r.t. unifying messages, but they flagrantly violate their own terms with regularity, which erodes the trust in the process on the players' end. They couple this with demonstrably poor player evaluation. They've shown little evidence that they understand their own problems, much less know how to address them. Ralph is probably fine, I don't think any less of him than I did when he was hired (though I don't think more yet either). They likely need an entire front office overhaul and restructuring. I don't know the details of their coaching staff behind Ralph, of their pro and amateur scouting, their development team, but the sum of them doesn't work. I'd tell Pegula that the first way to start is to do what Toronto did with Shanahan. Find somebody who knows something about hockey, and have THEM make the next move. You obviously don't know enough, and that's not a big deal - none of us would either. 

He doesn't need to sell the team if he can find this czar. If he insists on being THE ultimate say in hockey stuff, then I'd prefer he find someone he knows is intent on keeping the Sabres here forever, and selling it to them, but that's not a comfortable thing to assume, and so I'd rather he just find the right czar and chill out in Florida, only thinking about how fun it'll be to watch his team, rather than pretending he knows how to fix things and trying to act on that

Edited by Randall Flagg
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   With all their wealth, they( Pegulas) come from a position of weakness. The thing they are best at is firing people who don't work out. Conversely, the thing they are worst at is hiring the right people. These people throw money around as a means to seek approval. Exhibit: that grossly ostentatious, entitled feeling locker room. Or, it invites sycophants. The former or the latter, you get impulsive hires like LaFontaine and Craig Patrick( can anyone tell me what Craig Patrick actually did for this organization?), Rex Ryan(Bills), extending Doug Whaley(Bills) on the yacht, before firing him,  Russ Brandon (both), and that other guy who played grab ass with the female help at PSE and was fired.

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The Evander Kane trade was not bad. We traded 17 games of a player we were not going to sign. This is a recording. 

Edited by LGR4GM
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The problem wasn't trading Kane away; I was all in on that. 

and return was OK.

The problem was trading for Kane in the 1st place. 

Vancouver just valued Tyler Myers at $6M per year.  Joel Armia is scoring goals for Montreal; he  probably has more goals than our entire 3rd/4th lines.

Jack Roslovic is still a good prospect/player.   Brenden Lemieux (who didn't want to play in Buffalo) is still in the NHL.   Stafford was still serviceable for

a couple years.

Our return was not even an ECHL level goalie, an injury prone d-man, Danny O'Regan who left as a UFA, and the main pick which got us Montour.

Would you trade Myers, Roslovic, Armia, & Lemieux for Montour and Bogosian?    Lemieux - Roslovic - Armia would make a great 3rd line for us.

Yes, the Skinner trade was a Miro Satan-esque steal.  

But the ROR trade has been a disaster, especially with St. Louis making the playoffs at the last minute and then winning the cup, "because Buffalo".   We'd better hope that Ryan Johnson turns into a great player because Thompson's ceiling looks to be Joel Armia.

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I didn't like any of the options for question 2 and because I refused to pick one, I couldn't cast my vote. The Bills may not be as big of a mess as the Sabres, but they are a paper tiger at best and have no real shot at contending for a title. I refuse to give McClappy credit for anything and I won't spend a dime on the team while he's still employed.

I've wanted Botterill gone since the O'Reilly trade and I didn't like the Kane trade because it was stupid asset management (if they had no interest in re-signing him they should have traded him much earlier and not just sit on him until 17 games before his contract ran out). To say the return was good because it was only for 17 games of Kane ignores that fact. A late first and Danny O'Nobody is a crappy return for a top 6 forward in his prime like Kane.

I want the next GM to have experience as a GM in the NHL before taking the job and he should decide whether to keep Kreuger or kick him to the curb. My personal preference is to shitcan him and bring in Gronborg but that will be up to the new guy.

I hope the new GM prioritizes the center position because it's severely lacking at this point and we're right back to pinning our hopes to kids years before they are ready thanks to fatter, dumber, Pugsley. It should be normal to have guys like Mittelstadt and Cozens to spend a season or two at wing while they adjust to the NHL and the team should have enough centers on the roster to make that possible. One injury at the position to Johansson (who we're lucky he was even able to handle the job to begin with) and we're giving his minutes to a guy who wasn't even good enough in the coach's eye to get ice time all season before injuries (Rodriguez).

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The czar/president of hockey ops idea seems like the right first move to me. Firing JB in the near future and installing, say, Randy Sexton as interim GM while you search for someone new does nothing to change the perception that TP is too quick to fire people, and probably limits the pool of experienced GM candidates who are willing to come here. 

With a good president of hockey ops, you start to change that perception. Future GM/coach candidates may not trust TP at first, but hopefully they'd trust the czar, who has established relationships in the league. I hope TP would be willing to make such a move. Maybe he would be wary because of the way things went with LaFontaine. Maybe he would think it unnecessary because of the success the Bills are having with a similar organizational structure. Based on the way other teams around the league fill positions like this, we'd probably be looking at someone with some history with the organization.

I remember how excited I was the day we hired LaFontaine and would probably feel a similar burst of energy (and, dare I say it, hope) if something similar happened again. That would be nice.

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My suggestion would be to have him hire a committee of former team executives that have been successful within the NHL to provide him input on whether Botterill 'has what it takes'. Have Meehan heading it up along with at least 2 established people that have no prior ties to the Sabres. 

Would also suggest having at least 1 person that is currently active within Hockey Canada or USAHockey to make sure the advice isn't only coming from dinosaurs.

Because if Botterill is the (a?) right guy, then this 9 year nightmare is close to ending.  If not, we get to watch them spin their wheels a few more years should he stay even just 1 more year.

I would also suggest they put together a list of all the current GMs and potential GM candidates ranking them all and if somebody above Botterill's grouping becomes available then drill another well and land him as either Botterill's replacement or boss.

Really don't have a good feel for whether J Botts is the right guy or not.  ( Hoping he is and believe he might be.) In large part because Regier seemed SOOOO wrong (and at the end was wrong), but had the NHL enforced its rules he had a 50-50 chance of having built a winner in '99; was within the crook owners being willing to pay fair market for Peca or being willing to bring in equivalent value from winning it all in '01; and then was within a properly disinfected shin pad from winning it all in '06; and he built a Presidents Trophy winner in '07.  So, through '06-'07, how wrong was Darcy?

My gut inclination is to keep Botterill, but be checking that list early and often and if somebody better comes available or if the wheels fall off - make the move.

Would also have a ranking of all the scouts league wide and working elsewhere and would add anybody ranking above how their own are ranked whenever 1 is available. (Either as a replacement or an addition.) Improve the scouting (both amateur and pro), improve the analytics, and even a bozo like Waddell looks competent.  If Botterill IS good, having better info will only make him better.  And if he isn't, having the best staff will make that next guy look like a genius provided they get that 1 right.

 

Being rid of Brandon was a good 1st step in the right direction.

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4 hours ago, pastajoe said:

I don’t think the comparison with the Bills doing things right is valid. The Bills aren’t as good as their record and have benefited from a schedule of bad teams. I never liked the emphasis of drafting all the high defensive picks at the expense of the offense, and passing on drafting Mahones or Watson when QB was a clear priority.

And the fact football players don’t have guaranteed contracts but hockey players do makes a difference in cutting players.

Having said that, the breaking point for me with Botts was when he recently said they need all those defensemen for depth. At this point depth on D does no good when the forwards can’t score.

 

The Bills may not be, but every year teams make the playoffs due to playing weak schedules.  It's honestly long overdue for the Bills.  

This is coming a year early for the Bills, the expectation wasn't to be making the playoffs until next season, but I think they have done a great job rebuilding the OLine and adding playmakers in Brown, Beasley, Knox and Singletary.  With another offseason where they have tons of Cap Space and extra picks to use to maneuver around the draft board in the mid rounds, I am expecting they will add more on offense to bolster what they started and add another pass rushing DE hopefully.

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Point of order, the Bills aren't better. They are just experiencing their version of the Sabres last 2 Octobers.  That house of cards is about to come crashing down.

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28 minutes ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

Point of order, the Bills aren't better. They are just experiencing their version of the Sabres last 2 Octobers.  That house of cards is about to come crashing down.

Nah! Care to elaborate? Are you implying they aren't going to the playoffs? Because I think you'd be wrong.

The situations aren't even comparable.

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29 minutes ago, Torpedo Forecheck said:

Nah! Care to elaborate? Are you implying they aren't going to the playoffs? Because I think you'd be wrong.

The situations aren't even comparable.

I agree.  The Bills certainly have capitalized on a soft schedule, and they've beaten either zero or 1 good team this year, but they are miles ahead of where the Sabres are.  Even if they lose to Dallas, they'll have won 2/3 of their games at the 3/4 point of the season.  They will also, as you point out, probably make the playoffs for the 2nd time in the last 3 years.  They've become, if not a top-echelon organization, certainly an upper-echelon and respected one.

The Sabres, on the other hand, are looking at yet another lost season, with a quiet arena, thousands of empty seats, terrible rankings in player surveys and periodic statements from former players about how gruesome it was to play here.

The good news is that consistent winning would solve these problems, and they have strong ownership and a decent amount of talent.  I think the right senior management group, in combination with the right coach and goalie, could right the ship pretty quickly.  I'm just becoming increasingly skeptical that JB is the man for the job.

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Remember when Terry offered Patty the GM position? That should tell most of what you need to know. It’s not that he knows just as much as us in hiring the correct hockey person, it’s that he knows considerably less. How are we so confident he would hire the right hockey czar? That’s arguably more important than hiring a GM and HC combined. 

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6 hours ago, pastajoe said:

I don’t think the comparison with the Bills doing things right is valid. The Bills aren’t as good as their record and have benefited from a schedule of bad teams. I never liked the emphasis of drafting all the high defensive picks at the expense of the offense, and passing on drafting Mahones or Watson when QB was a clear priority.

And the fact football players don’t have guaranteed contracts but hockey players do makes a difference in cutting players.

Having said that, the breaking point for me with Botts was when he recently said they need all those defensemen for depth. At this point depth on D does no good when the forwards can’t score.

I am skeptical about the Bills as well.But that doesnt mean I dont have optimism. The next 5 games will tell a lot. They need to be competitive vs NE and BALT.

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I don't know anything about the Bills, but my gut says they aren't as good as you think they are. maybe I'm wrong, but if they are a team built around players with heart that's a good thing and that's the thing I voted for.

Also voted to fire JBot and replace him with an old school GM but no to selling the team as he has deep pockets and I doubt there'd be a buyer around better who'd keep the team in Buffalo long term.

I've tried to stay with JBot and be optimistic but it's not trending in the right direction so I think it better to start over. Even if JBot gets lucky and we add several talented players next year via free agency and/or our prospect(s) we will still be so soft we will simply have a new type of frustration to deal with and will get beaten and beaten up regularly by the bigger, badder, and playoff ready teams. The philosophy, imo, is simply wrong.

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the bills roster a fullback, purposefully bring in players for toughness and to set the tone. Cody Ford and feliciano come to mind here. Both of those guys can be beat one on one, but both of those guys are mean bastards who will line up and punch you in the gut 50 snaps in a row.

you don’t need to be the best but at least play like it matters to you  

what would this rosters results look like at this point of the season with ted Nolan behind the bench?

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3 hours ago, Torpedo Forecheck said:

Nah! Care to elaborate? Are you implying they aren't going to the playoffs? Because I think you'd be wrong.

The situations aren't even comparable.

They are about to drop 5 straight

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9 hours ago, Scottysabres said:

What would I advise TP to do? Get off the roll and clean this ***** up.

I had to log in at work to give this props.  Seriously underrated response.

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