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How a bad coach and an over-reacting GM could set back this franchise for years...


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“We have a little bit more information than maybe a fan does, some inner workings that we see some positives in.”  

Kim Pegula, May 2020.

Words echoed by our storied Team President explaining the retainment of GM Jason Botterill, before performing an about-face and firing him weeks later.

Botterill's departure led to the hiring of Kevyn Adams as GM after serving as the team's Senior Vice President of Business Administration for one year.  An opportunity that had more to do with the Pegula's familiarity with Adams and less to do with his executive prowess.  

This elevated Head Coach Ralph Krueger to almost de-facto AGM.  He knew more about personnel and coaching than Adams.  They were to lead this team together by adding pieces whom, on paper, seemed to increase our goal production and make the Sabres an "almost" playoff contender, if not one.

Fast-forward to a dozen games into the season and things began to fall apart with a quickness.  Our starting goalie went down for several weeks, and Adam's inability to secure an NHL-level reserve bit this team hard.  The team began to lose confidence.  Scoring ran dry.  Swagger disappeared.  Simple plays seemed impossible to make.  "Embarrassing" was a word used often to describe this team's performance.  Meanwhile our head coach kept preaching "system" and placing round pegs in square holes that would eventually fit. 

One day.

Fans and media called for Krueger's firing for weeks.  The players looked lost and careless, and those who were regular point pushers couldn't buy one.  The analytics were horrible.  Under Krueger this team looked like an AHL franchise.  Trade everybody.  Fire the coach.  Start from scratch.  Tank for who knows.  The usual Sabres drill.

But our team President--you know the one who knows more than all of us--decided that making a coaching change wasn't a prudent move.  Was it his salary?  Who knows.  But let's not fool ourselves.  Adams was given his GM role because the Pegula's knew they could control him.  It wasn't Adams call to fire Krueger, regardless of what he insisted upon in his press conferences.  This was a Pegula call.  One they failed to make until it was way, way to late.

So the Hockey President--who knows more than all of us--finally pulled the trigger.  They place an assistant coach whose highest level of Head Coaching was with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL 12 years ago, as the new head guy.

After a few flat tires, this team began to show life.  All of a sudden the players weren't so bad.  The analytics weren't as horrible.  That starting goalie who hurt himself came back, and the team began to perform.  Before you knew it, they began to win.

Now, 2-0-2 isn't a Stanley Cup run, and no one is crowning Don Granato as Sabres answer at head coach.  But one thing is clear--the Sabres struggles could be placed squarely on the shoulders of one Ralph Krueger.  Plain and simple.  He was too stubborn and too naïve to think that the players were buying into his "system".  He refused to change.  He thought he knew more than they did.  And it sabotaged Buffalo's entire 2021 season.

One thing as a fan I sometimes fail to realize is that players are human beings.  Because they make considerably more money than the average fan, doesn't take away from this fact.  Whether you are an NHL player, or work at a warehouse.  If your boss is riding you constantly and making you do something your not comfortable doing, you are not going to perform at your best.  You may even lose intensity.  Lose desire.  Because you feel no matter what you do, or how hard you try, it's not good enough.  You keep making mistakes.  You don't comprehend what your boss is trying to make you do.  Eventually, your like F' it.  I'll come do my job, do my best, and let the chips lie where they may.

If one thing the last handful of games has demonstrated, is that the players on this team are not as "horrible" as we thought.  A simple change of leadership with a relatively unknown bench boss has led to this team playing totally different.  They seem more confident.  They seem less restricted.  They seem to be having fun.  It's amazing when your jerk boss gets fired, and a new guy comes in who "gets it."

Which leads me to this.  This team isn't going anywhere.  Regardless of how many games we win, we aren't going to make the playoffs this year.  We are in 2021-22 mode.  That's exactly where Kevyn Adams' head should be at.

However, that old "blow up the team and trade everyone" take is exactly that.  Old.  Because a coach destroyed your franchise for two seasons doesn't mean you trade away valuable pieces due to his shortcomings.  Sure, UFA's who have value must be moved.  We aren't going anywhere, and to let them stay on this team and not better our future is asinine.  

But for the homegrown UFA's and RFAs that everyone wants gone...let's take a deep breath.  Sam Reinhart, the guy who supposedly can't play center, had a $13.4 million cap hit over the last 4 years, pumping out 82 goals and 106 assists during that time, and is currently one of the leading scorers on the team.  Reinhart isn't the problem, and his payday is long overdue.

Neither is Jack Eichel, a guy who scored 36 goals and 78 points in 68 games last year and who wants to win more than you or me. You'll have a better chance of winning the lottery than trading him for a draft pick or prospect that one day has the same production and/or intensity, so let's stop that silliness right now.

Buffalo hasn't had a sub 2.50 GAA goalie since Chad Johnson in 15-16 (yes, Chad Johnson).  Yet Ullmark is finally showing that he may be on his way to being a solid starting NHL goalie with a 2.44 GAA, with his play improving each game. Yet some are screaming for the Sabres to try and get a mid-round pick for him?  Sure, he's a UFA, but why not try to keep him?  He's home grown, and it's not like UPL is going to step in and dominate next year.  That's like dumping your girlfriend who is in the final year of med school about to get her PhD because she's not able to help pay the bills.  Imagine the thought of having two NHL caliber goalies on this team?  Shudder the thought.

Risto isn't a top line D, but with the right LD and minutes he can be an asset to this franchise.  His ferocity and will to win is unmatched.  That stuff doesn't grow on trees.  I get it, if we can get a 30g/60p top 6 for him, sure.  Otherwise, Risto isn't the problem either.

A guy like Skinner who for all of his career has been a goal and point producing machine blanks under HC Krueger, and all of a sudden he's damaged goods.  How about we pair him with an offensive minded head coach and see if that's really the case?  

Sorry, but Mittelstadt is playing like a man possessed the last handful of games.  Looks like it's finally clicked for him.  I used to consider him a trade throw-in for a goal scorer.  Now I'll reserve judgement until I see him with a competent HC.

If you want to start with players they should try to move for a bag of pucks, let's start with Eakin and Hutton.  

The point is you can't gauge this team based on their performance under one of the worst head coaches this franchise's history.  But when it comes to RFA's and some home grown UFA's, trying to trade away pieces just to trade them away for draft picks and unknown prospects will set this franchise back years.  Ralph Krueger was the problem in Buffalo, not the players.  It's time to give these guys a competent coach, and let their play under competent leadership determine their future, as well as the team's. 

And for the love of everything holy---bring in a hockey guy who can tell Kim Pegula to buzz off--I got this.  Just like Brandon Beane did for the Bills.

She is literally killing this franchise.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unfortunately assuming all said about Kim Pegula is true and not speculation I think we are probably stuck. Don't think she's going anywhere short of them selling he team. Hope I am wrong. And what do we base the idea that Beane told her to step aside? Maybe that was luck not designed. We will see if the Bills continue on their upward path. I can begin to imagine that KA will be removing the interim title from coach Donato citing improved play and all declared well with the franchise. As with the Bills hope we're lucky.

 

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7 hours ago, dejeanneret said:

Risto isn't a top line D, but with the right LD and minutes he can be an asset to this franchise.  His ferocity and will to win is unmatched.  That stuff doesn't grow on trees.  I get it, if we can get a 30g/60p top 6 for him, sure.  Otherwise, Risto isn't the problem either.

Risto has and continues to be highly overrated because of his "ferocity". 

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22 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

Risto has and continues to be highly overrated because of his "ferocity". 

I think a bunch of Hockey fans do this exact thing with Dmen who “get physical”. Overrate their true value. Especially considering the way the NHL is today vs. the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s.

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13 hours ago, dejeanneret said:

“We have a little bit more information than maybe a fan does, some inner workings that we see some positives in.”  

Kim Pegula, May 2020.

Words echoed by our storied Team President explaining the retainment of GM Jason Botterill, before performing an about-face and firing him weeks later.

Botterill's departure led to the hiring of Kevyn Adams as GM after serving as the team's Senior Vice President of Business Administration for one year.  An opportunity that had more to do with the Pegula's familiarity with Adams and less to do with his executive prowess.  

This elevated Head Coach Ralph Krueger to almost de-facto AGM.  He knew more about personnel and coaching than Adams.  They were to lead this team together by adding pieces whom, on paper, seemed to increase our goal production and make the Sabres an "almost" playoff contender, if not one.

Fast-forward to a dozen games into the season and things began to fall apart with a quickness.  Our starting goalie went down for several weeks, and Adam's inability to secure an NHL-level reserve bit this team hard.  The team began to lose confidence.  Scoring ran dry.  Swagger disappeared.  Simple plays seemed impossible to make.  "Embarrassing" was a word used often to describe this team's performance.  Meanwhile our head coach kept preaching "system" and placing round pegs in square holes that would eventually fit. 

One day.

Fans and media called for Krueger's firing for weeks.  The players looked lost and careless, and those who were regular point pushers couldn't buy one.  The analytics were horrible.  Under Krueger this team looked like an AHL franchise.  Trade everybody.  Fire the coach.  Start from scratch.  Tank for who knows.  The usual Sabres drill.

But our team President--you know the one who knows more than all of us--decided that making a coaching change wasn't a prudent move.  Was it his salary?  Who knows.  But let's not fool ourselves.  Adams was given his GM role because the Pegula's knew they could control him.  It wasn't Adams call to fire Krueger, regardless of what he insisted upon in his press conferences.  This was a Pegula call.  One they failed to make until it was way, way to late.

So the Hockey President--who knows more than all of us--finally pulled the trigger.  They place an assistant coach whose highest level of Head Coaching was with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL 12 years ago, as the new head guy.

After a few flat tires, this team began to show life.  All of a sudden the players weren't so bad.  The analytics weren't as horrible.  That starting goalie who hurt himself came back, and the team began to perform.  Before you knew it, they began to win.

Now, 2-0-2 isn't a Stanley Cup run, and no one is crowning Don Granato as Sabres answer at head coach.  But one thing is clear--the Sabres struggles could be placed squarely on the shoulders of one Ralph Krueger.  Plain and simple.  He was too stubborn and too naïve to think that the players were buying into his "system".  He refused to change.  He thought he knew more than they did.  And it sabotaged Buffalo's entire 2021 season.

One thing as a fan I sometimes fail to realize is that players are human beings.  Because they make considerably more money than the average fan, doesn't take away from this fact.  Whether you are an NHL player, or work at a warehouse.  If your boss is riding you constantly and making you do something your not comfortable doing, you are not going to perform at your best.  You may even lose intensity.  Lose desire.  Because you feel no matter what you do, or how hard you try, it's not good enough.  You keep making mistakes.  You don't comprehend what your boss is trying to make you do.  Eventually, your like F' it.  I'll come do my job, do my best, and let the chips lie where they may.

If one thing the last handful of games has demonstrated, is that the players on this team are not as "horrible" as we thought.  A simple change of leadership with a relatively unknown bench boss has led to this team playing totally different.  They seem more confident.  They seem less restricted.  They seem to be having fun.  It's amazing when your jerk boss gets fired, and a new guy comes in who "gets it."

Which leads me to this.  This team isn't going anywhere.  Regardless of how many games we win, we aren't going to make the playoffs this year.  We are in 2021-22 mode.  That's exactly where Kevyn Adams' head should be at.

However, that old "blow up the team and trade everyone" take is exactly that.  Old.  Because a coach destroyed your franchise for two seasons doesn't mean you trade away valuable pieces due to his shortcomings.  Sure, UFA's who have value must be moved.  We aren't going anywhere, and to let them stay on this team and not better our future is asinine.  

But for the homegrown UFA's and RFAs that everyone wants gone...let's take a deep breath.  Sam Reinhart, the guy who supposedly can't play center, had a $13.4 million cap hit over the last 4 years, pumping out 82 goals and 106 assists during that time, and is currently one of the leading scorers on the team.  Reinhart isn't the problem, and his payday is long overdue.

Neither is Jack Eichel, a guy who scored 36 goals and 78 points in 68 games last year and who wants to win more than you or me. You'll have a better chance of winning the lottery than trading him for a draft pick or prospect that one day has the same production and/or intensity, so let's stop that silliness right now.

Buffalo hasn't had a sub 2.50 GAA goalie since Chad Johnson in 15-16 (yes, Chad Johnson).  Yet Ullmark is finally showing that he may be on his way to being a solid starting NHL goalie with a 2.44 GAA, with his play improving each game. Yet some are screaming for the Sabres to try and get a mid-round pick for him?  Sure, he's a UFA, but why not try to keep him?  He's home grown, and it's not like UPL is going to step in and dominate next year.  That's like dumping your girlfriend who is in the final year of med school about to get her PhD because she's not able to help pay the bills.  Imagine the thought of having two NHL caliber goalies on this team?  Shudder the thought.

Risto isn't a top line D, but with the right LD and minutes he can be an asset to this franchise.  His ferocity and will to win is unmatched.  That stuff doesn't grow on trees.  I get it, if we can get a 30g/60p top 6 for him, sure.  Otherwise, Risto isn't the problem either.

A guy like Skinner who for all of his career has been a goal and point producing machine blanks under HC Krueger, and all of a sudden he's damaged goods.  How about we pair him with an offensive minded head coach and see if that's really the case?  

Sorry, but Mittelstadt is playing like a man possessed the last handful of games.  Looks like it's finally clicked for him.  I used to consider him a trade throw-in for a goal scorer.  Now I'll reserve judgement until I see him with a competent HC.

If you want to start with players they should try to move for a bag of pucks, let's start with Eakin and Hutton.  

The point is you can't gauge this team based on their performance under one of the worst head coaches this franchise's history.  But when it comes to RFA's and some home grown UFA's, trying to trade away pieces just to trade them away for draft picks and unknown prospects will set this franchise back years.  Ralph Krueger was the problem in Buffalo, not the players.  It's time to give these guys a competent coach, and let their play under competent leadership determine their future, as well as the team's. 

And for the love of everything holy---bring in a hockey guy who can tell Kim Pegula to buzz off--I got this.  Just like Brandon Beane did for the Bills.

She is literally killing this franchise.  

 

 

Good post if you are trying to say Ralph was the problem and don’t trade everybody solely based on how they played under Ralph then you have a point, but the roster is still not good enough to win anything.  The losing culture that permeates still needs to be removed.  That means players, coaches, etc.   
 

Talent improvement through savvy management (trades/free agents), better scouting/drafting, and better player development are all badly needed.  A vision on how to get there is needed. Better contracting to support that vision is needed.  Buy in from all involved, top to bottom,  is needed.  
 

Kim is not going away.  Like with the Bills, finding Front Office leadership that is so good, and so trusted that they can keep her from getting involved in Hockey Operations is the key to recovery and growth.  Until that is fixed you won’t be able to build the coaching staff or the players needed to win the Cup.  
 

Granato’s short term success is nice, it tells us that the biggest problem was removed.  It does change much else.  This team does not have NHL caliber Hockey Operations.  Not even close.  Adams and Kim need to fix the Hockey Operations, otherwise they will most likely be bringing in the next coach who will be ignored by the players in about 2 years (max).   

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5 minutes ago, Zamboni said:

I think a bunch of Hockey fans do this exact thing with Dmen who “get physical”. Overrate their true value. Especially considering the way the NHL is today vs. the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s.

Yes, because we are just a bunch of dinosaurs living in the past who know nothing of the modern game.

It couldn’t be that he actually is pretty good at separating the puck from opposing forwards, allowing his teammates to get it. A play that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet.

Yep. Me want smash.

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Ton of good stuff in the OP; Kim, however, needs to be replaced with Terry.

I think Eichel, Ullmark, Krueger and COVID created a perfect storm that exaggerated how bad this team is.

But it also reinforced the fragility of the core group.

I think it would be a mistake to "blow it up" trade for futures, and start from scratch again.

But I think it would be an even bigger mistake to come back with the same core and trust a new coach to be the cure.

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9 minutes ago, SwampD said:

Yes, because we are just a bunch of dinosaurs living in the past who know nothing of the modern game.

It couldn’t be that he actually is pretty good at separating the puck from opposing forwards, allowing his teammates to get it. A play that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet.

Yep. Me want smash.

What I usually see is Risto attempting to play the body, the puck immediately is sent to the net where his teammates are undoubtedly completely unprepared for the predicament he has left them in.  

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Yeah, it’s easy to say “keep all the good players, duh”, but when actually making these decisions it’s important to consider contract status.  What if the team is going to blow itself up instead?  There may not be a choice.

Yes, of course keep: 

Sam, oh unless he is walking away as a UFA in 14 months,

Jack, except if he is about to demand a trade, and tell you which team it’s going to be to.

Linus, unless he is leaving in a couple months.

Jeff, who are we kidding, he isn’t going anywhere.

Risto, also can walk away in 14 months.

I’m not saying that this means all these guys must be traded, but it’s certainly an important element of the discussion when thinking about this stuff.

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IMO...the rumored speculation about Beane and McD telling the Pegula's to "stay away/hands off", including some who have thought they might even have such verbiage in their contracts is hogwash.  I don't believe it for a single second.

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1 hour ago, SwampD said:

Yes, because we are just a bunch of dinosaurs living in the past who know nothing of the modern game.

It couldn’t be that he actually is pretty good at separating the puck from opposing forwards, allowing his teammates to get it. A play that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet.

Yep. Me want smash.

If that were true, how come all his metrics show the opposite? 

Also that would show up in the advance stats that are tracked. Or it is a fake thing that has no positive impact on the hundreds of games of data we have with Risto.

1 minute ago, LabattBlue said:

IMO...the rumored speculation about Beane and McD telling the Pegula's to "stay away/hands off", including some who have thought they might even have such verbiage in their contracts is hogwash.  I don't believe it for a single second.

Why not?

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10 hours ago, dejeanneret said:

“We have a little bit more information than maybe a fan does, some inner workings that we see some positives in.”  

Kim Pegula, May 2020.

Words echoed by our storied Team President explaining the retainment of GM Jason Botterill, before performing an about-face and firing him weeks later.

Botterill's departure led to the hiring of Kevyn Adams as GM after serving as the team's Senior Vice President of Business Administration for one year.  An opportunity that had more to do with the Pegula's familiarity with Adams and less to do with his executive prowess.  

This elevated Head Coach Ralph Krueger to almost de-facto AGM.  He knew more about personnel and coaching than Adams.  They were to lead this team together by adding pieces whom, on paper, seemed to increase our goal production and make the Sabres an "almost" playoff contender, if not one.

Fast-forward to a dozen games into the season and things began to fall apart with a quickness.  Our starting goalie went down for several weeks, and Adam's inability to secure an NHL-level reserve bit this team hard.  The team began to lose confidence.  Scoring ran dry.  Swagger disappeared.  Simple plays seemed impossible to make.  "Embarrassing" was a word used often to describe this team's performance.  Meanwhile our head coach kept preaching "system" and placing round pegs in square holes that would eventually fit. 

One day.

Fans and media called for Krueger's firing for weeks.  The players looked lost and careless, and those who were regular point pushers couldn't buy one.  The analytics were horrible.  Under Krueger this team looked like an AHL franchise.  Trade everybody.  Fire the coach.  Start from scratch.  Tank for who knows.  The usual Sabres drill.

But our team President--you know the one who knows more than all of us--decided that making a coaching change wasn't a prudent move.  Was it his salary?  Who knows.  But let's not fool ourselves.  Adams was given his GM role because the Pegula's knew they could control him.  It wasn't Adams call to fire Krueger, regardless of what he insisted upon in his press conferences.  This was a Pegula call.  One they failed to make until it was way, way to late.

So the Hockey President--who knows more than all of us--finally pulled the trigger.  They place an assistant coach whose highest level of Head Coaching was with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL 12 years ago, as the new head guy.

After a few flat tires, this team began to show life.  All of a sudden the players weren't so bad.  The analytics weren't as horrible.  That starting goalie who hurt himself came back, and the team began to perform.  Before you knew it, they began to win.

Now, 2-0-2 isn't a Stanley Cup run, and no one is crowning Don Granato as Sabres answer at head coach.  But one thing is clear--the Sabres struggles could be placed squarely on the shoulders of one Ralph Krueger.  Plain and simple.  He was too stubborn and too naïve to think that the players were buying into his "system".  He refused to change.  He thought he knew more than they did.  And it sabotaged Buffalo's entire 2021 season.

One thing as a fan I sometimes fail to realize is that players are human beings.  Because they make considerably more money than the average fan, doesn't take away from this fact.  Whether you are an NHL player, or work at a warehouse.  If your boss is riding you constantly and making you do something your not comfortable doing, you are not going to perform at your best.  You may even lose intensity.  Lose desire.  Because you feel no matter what you do, or how hard you try, it's not good enough.  You keep making mistakes.  You don't comprehend what your boss is trying to make you do.  Eventually, your like F' it.  I'll come do my job, do my best, and let the chips lie where they may.

If one thing the last handful of games has demonstrated, is that the players on this team are not as "horrible" as we thought.  A simple change of leadership with a relatively unknown bench boss has led to this team playing totally different.  They seem more confident.  They seem less restricted.  They seem to be having fun.  It's amazing when your jerk boss gets fired, and a new guy comes in who "gets it."

Which leads me to this.  This team isn't going anywhere.  Regardless of how many games we win, we aren't going to make the playoffs this year.  We are in 2021-22 mode.  That's exactly where Kevyn Adams' head should be at.

However, that old "blow up the team and trade everyone" take is exactly that.  Old.  Because a coach destroyed your franchise for two seasons doesn't mean you trade away valuable pieces due to his shortcomings.  Sure, UFA's who have value must be moved.  We aren't going anywhere, and to let them stay on this team and not better our future is asinine.  

But for the homegrown UFA's and RFAs that everyone wants gone...let's take a deep breath.  Sam Reinhart, the guy who supposedly can't play center, had a $13.4 million cap hit over the last 4 years, pumping out 82 goals and 106 assists during that time, and is currently one of the leading scorers on the team.  Reinhart isn't the problem, and his payday is long overdue.

Neither is Jack Eichel, a guy who scored 36 goals and 78 points in 68 games last year and who wants to win more than you or me. You'll have a better chance of winning the lottery than trading him for a draft pick or prospect that one day has the same production and/or intensity, so let's stop that silliness right now.

Buffalo hasn't had a sub 2.50 GAA goalie since Chad Johnson in 15-16 (yes, Chad Johnson).  Yet Ullmark is finally showing that he may be on his way to being a solid starting NHL goalie with a 2.44 GAA, with his play improving each game. Yet some are screaming for the Sabres to try and get a mid-round pick for him?  Sure, he's a UFA, but why not try to keep him?  He's home grown, and it's not like UPL is going to step in and dominate next year.  That's like dumping your girlfriend who is in the final year of med school about to get her PhD because she's not able to help pay the bills.  Imagine the thought of having two NHL caliber goalies on this team?  Shudder the thought.

Risto isn't a top line D, but with the right LD and minutes he can be an asset to this franchise.  His ferocity and will to win is unmatched.  That stuff doesn't grow on trees.  I get it, if we can get a 30g/60p top 6 for him, sure.  Otherwise, Risto isn't the problem either.

A guy like Skinner who for all of his career has been a goal and point producing machine blanks under HC Krueger, and all of a sudden he's damaged goods.  How about we pair him with an offensive minded head coach and see if that's really the case?  

Sorry, but Mittelstadt is playing like a man possessed the last handful of games.  Looks like it's finally clicked for him.  I used to consider him a trade throw-in for a goal scorer.  Now I'll reserve judgement until I see him with a competent HC.

If you want to start with players they should try to move for a bag of pucks, let's start with Eakin and Hutton.  

The point is you can't gauge this team based on their performance under one of the worst head coaches this franchise's history.  But when it comes to RFA's and some home grown UFA's, trying to trade away pieces just to trade them away for draft picks and unknown prospects will set this franchise back years.  Ralph Krueger was the problem in Buffalo, not the players.  It's time to give these guys a competent coach, and let their play under competent leadership determine their future, as well as the team's. 

And for the love of everything holy---bring in a hockey guy who can tell Kim Pegula to buzz off--I got this.  Just like Brandon Beane did for the Bills.

She is literally killing this franchise.  

 

 

 

Amen brother. To me, you have nailed it! It has been a coaching thing all along in my mind. This club has the uncanny ability to select crappy coaches and unfortunately, several seasons in a row of doing so. Also a President of Hockey Operations would be strongly advised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Zamboni said:

I think a bunch of Hockey fans do this exact thing with Dmen who “get physical”. Overrate their true value. Especially considering the way the NHL is today vs. the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s.

So, In the mid 90’s a big line was drawn and all big strong physical defensemen became outdated and eradicated in the “modern” game of today?   Yeah, right.  
 

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Isn't the problem really switching systems/philosophies without switching the players to go with that?

You say for example pair Skinner with an offensive minded coach. That's probably going to be good for Skinner I agree. Housley did that. But did we win? No. The minute you start to cater to players you have to cater to all the players and it never works out well. 

Look at Pittsburgh this year under Sullivan. They have a number of great offensive players but they weren't getting to the next level. This year he has them tougher, more defensive, more structured and they are winning tough games. Point being, it's always about having a philosophy, having the players buy in fully, and sticking with that system. 

We tried open run and gun with Housley and it failed so we went balanced D (allegedly) with Kreuger but the players never adjusted to it, or didn't like it and just wouldn't do it, but they clearly never bought in and the leadership never got them to buy in and we switch back and forth and flounder.

Team needs a clear vision. This is how we play this is who we are (or in our case will be). That has to be stated, set and affirmed in every aspect and at every level. Then it has to be committed to. Solid management structure. Long term plan that you stick to and a core that buys into that vision. Those who don't have to be gone asap. 

I mean really, who are we? What are we? idk. Until we know that, we can't make the rest of the pieces fit. 

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4 hours ago, inkman said:

What I usually see is Risto attempting to play the body, the puck immediately is sent to the net where his teammates are undoubtedly completely unprepared for the predicament he has left them in.  

But that doesn’t happen when Chara, Jones, Parayko and most other defenseman play the body? 

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13 hours ago, dejeanneret said:

“We have a little bit more information than maybe a fan does, some inner workings that we see some positives in.”  

Kim Pegula, May 2020.

Words echoed by our storied Team President explaining the retainment of GM Jason Botterill, before performing an about-face and firing him weeks later.

Botterill's departure led to the hiring of Kevyn Adams as GM after serving as the team's Senior Vice President of Business Administration for one year.  An opportunity that had more to do with the Pegula's familiarity with Adams and less to do with his executive prowess.  

This elevated Head Coach Ralph Krueger to almost de-facto AGM.  He knew more about personnel and coaching than Adams.  They were to lead this team together by adding pieces whom, on paper, seemed to increase our goal production and make the Sabres an "almost" playoff contender, if not one.

Fast-forward to a dozen games into the season and things began to fall apart with a quickness.  Our starting goalie went down for several weeks, and Adam's inability to secure an NHL-level reserve bit this team hard.  The team began to lose confidence.  Scoring ran dry.  Swagger disappeared.  Simple plays seemed impossible to make.  "Embarrassing" was a word used often to describe this team's performance.  Meanwhile our head coach kept preaching "system" and placing round pegs in square holes that would eventually fit. 

One day.

Fans and media called for Krueger's firing for weeks.  The players looked lost and careless, and those who were regular point pushers couldn't buy one.  The analytics were horrible.  Under Krueger this team looked like an AHL franchise.  Trade everybody.  Fire the coach.  Start from scratch.  Tank for who knows.  The usual Sabres drill.

But our team President--you know the one who knows more than all of us--decided that making a coaching change wasn't a prudent move.  Was it his salary?  Who knows.  But let's not fool ourselves.  Adams was given his GM role because the Pegula's knew they could control him.  It wasn't Adams call to fire Krueger, regardless of what he insisted upon in his press conferences.  This was a Pegula call.  One they failed to make until it was way, way to late.

So the Hockey President--who knows more than all of us--finally pulled the trigger.  They place an assistant coach whose highest level of Head Coaching was with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL 12 years ago, as the new head guy.

After a few flat tires, this team began to show life.  All of a sudden the players weren't so bad.  The analytics weren't as horrible.  That starting goalie who hurt himself came back, and the team began to perform.  Before you knew it, they began to win.

Now, 2-0-2 isn't a Stanley Cup run, and no one is crowning Don Granato as Sabres answer at head coach.  But one thing is clear--the Sabres struggles could be placed squarely on the shoulders of one Ralph Krueger.  Plain and simple.  He was too stubborn and too naïve to think that the players were buying into his "system".  He refused to change.  He thought he knew more than they did.  And it sabotaged Buffalo's entire 2021 season.

One thing as a fan I sometimes fail to realize is that players are human beings.  Because they make considerably more money than the average fan, doesn't take away from this fact.  Whether you are an NHL player, or work at a warehouse.  If your boss is riding you constantly and making you do something your not comfortable doing, you are not going to perform at your best.  You may even lose intensity.  Lose desire.  Because you feel no matter what you do, or how hard you try, it's not good enough.  You keep making mistakes.  You don't comprehend what your boss is trying to make you do.  Eventually, your like F' it.  I'll come do my job, do my best, and let the chips lie where they may.

If one thing the last handful of games has demonstrated, is that the players on this team are not as "horrible" as we thought.  A simple change of leadership with a relatively unknown bench boss has led to this team playing totally different.  They seem more confident.  They seem less restricted.  They seem to be having fun.  It's amazing when your jerk boss gets fired, and a new guy comes in who "gets it."

Which leads me to this.  This team isn't going anywhere.  Regardless of how many games we win, we aren't going to make the playoffs this year.  We are in 2021-22 mode.  That's exactly where Kevyn Adams' head should be at.

However, that old "blow up the team and trade everyone" take is exactly that.  Old.  Because a coach destroyed your franchise for two seasons doesn't mean you trade away valuable pieces due to his shortcomings.  Sure, UFA's who have value must be moved.  We aren't going anywhere, and to let them stay on this team and not better our future is asinine.  

But for the homegrown UFA's and RFAs that everyone wants gone...let's take a deep breath.  Sam Reinhart, the guy who supposedly can't play center, had a $13.4 million cap hit over the last 4 years, pumping out 82 goals and 106 assists during that time, and is currently one of the leading scorers on the team.  Reinhart isn't the problem, and his payday is long overdue.

Neither is Jack Eichel, a guy who scored 36 goals and 78 points in 68 games last year and who wants to win more than you or me. You'll have a better chance of winning the lottery than trading him for a draft pick or prospect that one day has the same production and/or intensity, so let's stop that silliness right now.

Buffalo hasn't had a sub 2.50 GAA goalie since Chad Johnson in 15-16 (yes, Chad Johnson).  Yet Ullmark is finally showing that he may be on his way to being a solid starting NHL goalie with a 2.44 GAA, with his play improving each game. Yet some are screaming for the Sabres to try and get a mid-round pick for him?  Sure, he's a UFA, but why not try to keep him?  He's home grown, and it's not like UPL is going to step in and dominate next year.  That's like dumping your girlfriend who is in the final year of med school about to get her PhD because she's not able to help pay the bills.  Imagine the thought of having two NHL caliber goalies on this team?  Shudder the thought.

Risto isn't a top line D, but with the right LD and minutes he can be an asset to this franchise.  His ferocity and will to win is unmatched.  That stuff doesn't grow on trees.  I get it, if we can get a 30g/60p top 6 for him, sure.  Otherwise, Risto isn't the problem either.

A guy like Skinner who for all of his career has been a goal and point producing machine blanks under HC Krueger, and all of a sudden he's damaged goods.  How about we pair him with an offensive minded head coach and see if that's really the case?  

Sorry, but Mittelstadt is playing like a man possessed the last handful of games.  Looks like it's finally clicked for him.  I used to consider him a trade throw-in for a goal scorer.  Now I'll reserve judgement until I see him with a competent HC.

If you want to start with players they should try to move for a bag of pucks, let's start with Eakin and Hutton.  

The point is you can't gauge this team based on their performance under one of the worst head coaches this franchise's history.  But when it comes to RFA's and some home grown UFA's, trying to trade away pieces just to trade them away for draft picks and unknown prospects will set this franchise back years.  Ralph Krueger was the problem in Buffalo, not the players.  It's time to give these guys a competent coach, and let their play under competent leadership determine their future, as well as the team's. 

And for the love of everything holy---bring in a hockey guy who can tell Kim Pegula to buzz off--I got this.  Just like Brandon Beane did for the Bills.

She is literally killing this franchise.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent rant. Bravo! 

Edited by Kong
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7 hours ago, inkman said:

What I usually see is Risto attempting to play the body, the puck immediately is sent to the net where his teammates are undoubtedly completely unprepared for the predicament he has left them in.  

So what I'm hearing you say is Risto is playing HIS man and nobody else covers the front of the net.

Edited by Let's Go B-Lo
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I'm not so sure Eichel isn't the problem anymore. He is the captain and under his watch this team has done nothing. Lots of different players, coaches and GMs. Same piss poor results.

Maybe the reason the team performs so poorly is because their captain allows them to and doesn't hold anyone accountable. Maybe he gets coaches fired. Maybe his untouchableness on this team allows him to get away with things that wouldn't fly on other teams and rubs his teammates the wrong way?

Maybe that is too harsh but at this point he could equally be part of the problem just as much as he could be part of the solution.

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1 hour ago, matter2003 said:

I'm not so sure Eichel isn't the problem anymore. He is the captain and under his watch this team has done nothing. Lots of different players, coaches and GMs. Same piss poor results.

Maybe the reason the team performs so poorly is because their captain allows them to and doesn't hold anyone accountable. Maybe he gets coaches fired. Maybe his untouchableness on this team allows him to get away with things that wouldn't fly on other teams and rubs his teammates the wrong way?

Maybe that is too harsh but at this point he could equally be part of the problem just as much as he could be part of the solution.

Eichel was hurt this season but it was pretty clear he was checked out from the start.  
 

I believe he was made Captain much too soon.  He came to a team stripped of veteran leadership.  He did not respect the veterans that were brought in (Matt Molsen being the exception).  He was a young partier that was unfortunately matched and influenced by other young partiers (ROR, Kane, and Sam).  He really lacked the maturity and the experience you expect from a captain.  His outbursts and body language told you that.  Some of his press interviews were pretty hard to take.   In this way Eichel was mismanaged.  
 

All that said, McDavid was Captain two years earlier than Eichel so some young players can do it.  

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1 minute ago, Pimlach said:

Eichel was hurt this season but it was pretty clear he was checked out from the start.  
 

I believe he was made Captain much too soon.  He came to a team stripped of veteran leadership.  He did not respect the veterans that were brought in (Matt Molsen being the exception).  He was a young partier that was unfortunately matched and influenced by other young partiers (ROR, Kane, and Sam).  He really lacked the maturity and the experience you expect from a captain.  His outbursts and body language told you that.  Some of his press interviews were pretty hard to take.   In this way Eichel was mismanaged.  
 

All that said, McDavid was Captain two years earlier than Eichel so some young player can do it.  

He was not "checked out."

He was hurt.

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Just now, SwampD said:

He was not "checked out."

He was hurt.

Hmmm.  Ok.  I said he was hurt.  I said it before Ralph lied about him not being hurt.  
 

I do believe he was not engaged in the game this year.  He played, got a few assists, did very little else.  I call it checked out.  Don’t be surprised to see him ask for a trade.   

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15 minutes ago, Pimlach said:

Hmmm.  Ok.  I said he was hurt.  I said it before Ralph lied about him not being hurt.  
 

I do believe he was not engaged in the game this year.  He played, got a few assists, did very little else.  I call it checked out.  Don’t be surprised to see him ask for a trade.   

Disengaged and injured, still almost a point per game player. If he asks for a trade (he won't),… don't give it to him.

Edited by SwampD
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