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Spittin Chiclets Podcast featuring Kyle Okposo


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On 7/27/2022 at 5:10 PM, Thorny said:

Good stuff, glad to hear KO and Jack are still friends. 

It’s funny, start a thread about how Jack is universally despised and you are likely to get twenty pages. Post something about how KO likes him or how Jack, Sam and O’Reilly are friends and nary a word.

On 7/27/2022 at 1:16 PM, steveoath said:

Had no idea the "k" is silent!

No wonder he always ignores me. I’ve been calling him Kyle as he walks by. I also had no idea it was pronounced yle. 

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45 minutes ago, tom webster said:

It’s funny, start a thread about how Jack is universally despised and you are likely to get twenty pages. Post something about how KO likes him or how Jack, Sam and O’Reilly are friends and nary a word.

No wonder he always ignores me. I’ve been calling him Kyle as he walks by. I also had no idea it was pronounced yle. 

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27 minutes ago, tom webster said:

It’s funny, start a thread about how Jack is universally despised and you are likely to get twenty pages. Post something about how KO likes him or how Jack, Sam and O’Reilly are friends and nary a word.

During the Jack saga I can't recall any criticisms of Jack by his teammates either publicly or anonymously. I'm not saying that he was warmly embraced by everyone in the room. And I am not saying that he was even the leader in the room who was most listened to. It was evident to all that Jack was going to be dealt and was no longer going to be with the team. To their credit his teammates acted with class and maturity in this highly charged public conflict between the player and the organization. 

There is no doubt that Jack wanted out. And there is no doubt that the GM wanted him and the old core gone so he could start anew. It's simply something that regularly happens in the hockey business. In the end it appears to have worked out well for the parties involved. The stereotypical portrayal of a villainous Jack who sabotaged the room when he was there is a fiction. 

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1 hour ago, JohnC said:

During the Jack saga I can't recall any criticisms of Jack by his teammates either publicly or anonymously. I'm not saying that he was warmly embraced by everyone in the room. And I am not saying that he was even the leader in the room who was most listened to. It was evident to all that Jack was going to be dealt and was no longer going to be with the team. To their credit his teammates acted with class and maturity in this highly charged public conflict between the player and the organization. 

There is no doubt that Jack wanted out. And there is no doubt that the GM wanted him and the old core gone so he could start anew. It's simply something that regularly happens in the hockey business. In the end it appears to have worked out well for the parties involved. The stereotypical portrayal of a villainous Jack who sabotaged the room when he was there is a fiction. 

Obviously I’m not talking about most of the fan base but there is a vocal segment who believe that ROR left because of Jack and that everyone else hated him. You are right, he wasn’t the leader they needed, there are probably teammates that didn’t like him, blah blah blah.

For me, it’s ancient history. Of course, I also look at it as year 2 of the Adams rebuild and not year whatever of the playoff drought.

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48 minutes ago, tom webster said:

Obviously I’m not talking about most of the fan base but there is a vocal segment who believe that ROR left because of Jack and that everyone else hated him. You are right, he wasn’t the leader they needed, there are probably teammates that didn’t like him, blah blah blah.

For me, it’s ancient history. Of course, I also look at it as year 2 of the Adams rebuild and not year whatever of the playoff drought.

I, like you, consider this the second year going into the third year of the KA rebuild. In my view Krueger was the most influential person in the hockey operation in the new GM's first year. If our time frames are accurate KA should be given credit for the fast pace of this rebuild. One of his biggest accomplishments is in rebuilding the gutted hockey operation, and following that task his restocking of the talent base. In his short tenure he made two consequential personnel hires. He brought in Karmonos and installed Granato as the interim and then full time coach of the Sabres. A lot of good decisions that are now becoming evident. 

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One nugget from the KO interview that I found interesting:  when they asked him about the Sabres D corp, he spoke highly of Dahlin and Power, but also mentioned that Joki is an under-the-radar really good defenseman.  This jibes with the consistent praise of Joki that we saw from DG last year, and further supports the notion that Joki is pretty much a lock to be top 4 this year, likely as Power's partner.

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26 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

One nugget from the KO interview that I found interesting:  when they asked him about the Sabres D corp, he spoke highly of Dahlin and Power, but also mentioned that Joki is an under-the-radar really good defenseman.  This jibes with the consistent praise of Joki that we saw from DG last year, and further supports the notion that Joki is pretty much a lock to be top 4 this year, likely as Power's partner.

Really hoping you're mistaken unless either Lyubushkin has difficulties fitting into Granato's system or Jokiharju cleans up as many mistakes from his own end that he cleaned up at the other end.

(Expecting you aren't so really hoping Henri grows as much this year as he did last.)

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13 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Really hoping you're mistaken unless either Lyubushkin has difficulties fitting into Granato's system or Jokiharju cleans up as many mistakes from his own end that he cleaned up at the other end.

(Expecting you aren't so really hoping Henri grows as much this year as he did last.)

It’s more that I think some opinions of Joki’s lack of efficacy in the D zone are a bit exaggerated.  I think he’s good there too and getting better, and that he’s a smart player who will learn to complement Power’s game well.  

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25 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

It’s more that I think some opinions of Joki’s lack of efficacy in the D zone are a bit exaggerated.  I think he’s good there too and getting better, and that he’s a smart player who will learn to complement Power’s game well.  

This is what my eye test suggests as well, as much as I respect Taro’s eye test and acknowledge the underlying numbers support his point of view.

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4 hours ago, Thorny said:

Because friendships are a positive thing in life. 

Well sure, but you don't have to be friends with everyone you work with or cross paths with. I'm sure Kyle has many friends and could live quite well without Jack being one of them. But it doesn't really matter.

these days all the players pretty much are friends. That old fashioned animosity is rare any more. Free agency probably killed it. For the most part. 

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41 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

It’s more that I think some opinions of Joki’s lack of efficacy in the D zone are a bit exaggerated.  I think he’s good there too and getting better, and that he’s a smart player who will learn to complement Power’s game well.  

Again, the biggest complaint about him is that he can not pick up the slack when his partner makes a mistake.  He also still has issues against a good cycle and has a tendency to take himself out of the play.

He has gotten way better at picking his spots on when to pinch in the other end this past year.  It was rare to see Dahlin caught defending a 2 on 1 when the 2 were paired back up after the Butcher experiment ended.  That was something we saw nightly prior to that.  He's young & improving.  But Power will learn better & the team will be more successful IMHO if his partner isn't creating those difficult situations that Henri's partner is expected to cover & his partner an cover for the inevitable rookie mistakes that Power will make.

And, would really rather have Power paired up with the veteran who has complemented players like Riley rather than the one who may "learn to complement" Power's game.  It really is that simple.  And there is an expectation that the Joker could become that player.  But, would prefer to see him w/ Bryson rather than Power when camp breaks in October.

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KO telling the story of talking to the prospects during dev camp & answering the question, “How do you earn a coach’s trust?” 

Loosely transcribed, he said it used to be you couldn’t turn pucks over at the blue line. Absolutely not. Not happening.

KO went on to say Meatballs preaches the psychology of playing fearless. “No other way to play. Not playing on your heels (and worrying about turnovers or the blue line). That’s how you’re going to play your best. If you’re on your heels, your going to stink. Why would you play any other way? You see it all the time, guys get tight in tight games. Our whole mentality is learn how to attack. Attack, attack, attack. Make plays. Play fearless. When you screw up, get back. But the whole fearless mentality is really good for our team.”

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1 hour ago, Porous Five Hole said:

KO telling the story of talking to the prospects during dev camp & answering the question, “How do you earn a coach’s trust?” 

Loosely transcribed, he said it used to be you couldn’t turn pucks over at the blue line. Absolutely not. Not happening.

KO went on to say Meatballs preaches the psychology of playing fearless. “No other way to play. Not playing on your heels (and worrying about turnovers or the blue line). That’s how you’re going to play your best. If you’re on your heels, your going to stink. Why would you play any other way? You see it all the time, guys get tight in tight games. Our whole mentality is learn how to attack. Attack, attack, attack. Make plays. Play fearless. When you screw up, get back. But the whole fearless mentality is really good for our team.”

And THAT is why Granato talks up Jokiharju.  He's a player that has been improving but also one that does not play on his heels.

IMHO, he's an ideal 5 that can improve (and likely will, though whether he gets to true 4 on a good team better is very much debatable) but the problems he has tend to be crimes of commission, not omission.  And were Power 2 years older, he'd probably be a great partner for Henri.  But the aspects of the game Henri needs to work on are not the ones a guy bringing a rookie that ideally will become a top pairing guy in fairly short order should be working on.  Again, give Power Lyubushkin.  And if it doesn't work, then put Joker there.

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8 hours ago, tom webster said:

Obviously I’m not talking about most of the fan base but there is a vocal segment who believe that ROR left because of Jack and that everyone else hated him. You are right, he wasn’t the leader they needed, there are probably teammates that didn’t like him, blah blah blah.

For me, it’s ancient history. Of course, I also look at it as year 2 of the Adams rebuild and not year whatever of the playoff drought.

The one similarity that applies to the ROR and Jack departures is that pervasive losing is corrosive and creates an environment where players want to get away from. It becomes dispiriting to the fans and players. I'm confident that this team and organization has turned the corner where there is atmosphere is more positive and the players are enthusiastically invested in. I do believe in the credo: that success breeds success. 

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On 7/31/2022 at 6:56 PM, Taro T said:

And THAT is why Granato talks up Jokiharju.  He's a player that has been improving but also one that does not play on his heels.

IMHO, he's an ideal 5 that can improve (and likely will, though whether he gets to true 4 on a good team better is very much debatable) but the problems he has tend to be crimes of commission, not omission.  And were Power 2 years older, he'd probably be a great partner for Henri.  But the aspects of the game Henri needs to work on are not the ones a guy bringing a rookie that ideally will become a top pairing guy in fairly short order should be working on.  Again, give Power Lyubushkin.  And if it doesn't work, then put Joker there.

Ok — but just for poops and giggles and the sake of argument — what is your prediction?  As between Joki and Loobie, who will get more time with Power (or Dahlin), and who will spend more time on the 3rd pair with Bryson or Fitzie?

I’ll predict Joki gets quite a bit more time with Power/Dahlin and Loobie spends quite a bit more with Bryson/Fitzie.

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21 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

Ok — but just for poops and giggles and the sake of argument — what is your prediction?  As between Joki and Loobie, who will get more time with Power (or Dahlin), and who will spend more time on the 3rd pair with Bryson or Fitzie?

I’ll predict Joki gets quite a bit more time with Power/Dahlin and Loobie spends quite a bit more with Bryson/Fitzie.

Jokiharju will be with Power, although Lubushkin has great defensive metrics He actually pulled down Chychrun’s Offensive Numbers when paired together in Arizona. I doubt they want the same to happen to Power 

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11 hours ago, nfreeman said:

Ok — but just for poops and giggles and the sake of argument — what is your prediction?  As between Joki and Loobie, who will get more time with Power (or Dahlin), and who will spend more time on the 3rd pair with Bryson or Fitzie?

I’ll predict Joki gets quite a bit more time with Power/Dahlin and Loobie spends quite a bit more with Bryson/Fitzie.

My prediction is that Granato will end up putting Jokiharju with Power because he can't help himself.  (He loves him some Joker.)  But when Lyubushkin is with Power it'll work better.

Dahlin gets the most ice time by far, with Samuelsson then Power close behind.  Jokiharju will edge Lyubushkin in ice time for 4 v 5 total with Bryson a distant 6th. (That's all per game.  Injuries will obviously effect total ice time.)

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On 7/31/2022 at 10:55 AM, JohnC said:

I, like you, consider this the second year going into the third year of the KA rebuild. In my view Krueger was the most influential person in the hockey operation in the new GM's first year. If our time frames are accurate KA should be given credit for the fast pace of this rebuild. One of his biggest accomplishments is in rebuilding the gutted hockey operation, and following that task his restocking of the talent base. In his short tenure he made two consequential personnel hires. He brought in Karmonos and installed Granato as the interim and then full time coach of the Sabres. A lot of good decisions that are now becoming evident. 

So you are counting Adams’ first year or no? Technically we are officially in year 3, if you chalk up the first go round to Krueger it’s Adams’ “second” rebuild year 

On 7/31/2022 at 12:37 PM, nfreeman said:

One nugget from the KO interview that I found interesting:  when they asked him about the Sabres D corp, he spoke highly of Dahlin and Power, but also mentioned that Joki is an under-the-radar really good defenseman.  This jibes with the consistent praise of Joki that we saw from DG last year, and further supports the notion that Joki is pretty much a lock to be top 4 this year, likely as Power's partner.

Lbyushkin is much better suited to 3rd pair, so I agree 

On 7/31/2022 at 1:57 PM, PerreaultForever said:

Well sure, but you don't have to be friends with everyone you work with or cross paths with. I'm sure Kyle has many friends and could live quite well without Jack being one of them. But it doesn't really matter.

these days all the players pretty much are friends. That old fashioned animosity is rare any more. Free agency probably killed it. For the most part. 

Haha, you go ahead and tell Kyle that you are sure about his friend situation and give him your suggestion 

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43 minutes ago, Thorny said:

Haha, you go ahead and tell Kyle that you are sure about his friend situation and give him your suggestion 

It's possible he's not telling the truth either. He might just say he's friends with Jack, keeps in touch (sort of) and won't burn any bridges. You never know who might be a team mate next right? After he retires, could lose some numbers like we all do with our work "friends". 

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3 hours ago, Thorny said:

So you are counting Adams’ first year or no? Technically we are officially in year 3, if you chalk up the first go round to Krueger it’s Adams’ “second” rebuild year 

 

I'm not counting Adams's first year when Krueger was the coach. As I said before Krueger was the most influential person in the hockey operation at the time. It wasn't until Krueger was fired that everything that Krueger espoused was dramatically changed, starting with the designation of Granato as the interim coach. That's when the Adams clock starting ticking for me. And during that tumultuous year it took time to undo what had previously been done. 

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5 hours ago, JohnC said:

I'm not counting Adams's first year when Krueger was the coach. As I said before Krueger was the most influential person in the hockey operation at the time. It wasn't until Krueger was fired that everything that Krueger espoused was dramatically changed, starting with the designation of Granato as the interim coach. That's when the Adams clock starting ticking for me. And during that tumultuous year it took time to undo what had previously been done. 

imo you can't just toss a year off a guy's resume because he inherited a mess. new GMs usually inherit a mess, that's why they get hired. 

I don't think he gets any credit for firing Kreuger (it was an obvious move) or for hiring Granato as interim head coach (who else was an option on the team?). I'm not convinced making Granato full time head coach was any sort of great move either. Was he the choice, or was he the fall back when other options didn't happen? We will never know and they would never say if that was the case. The guy you hire is always the guy you always wanted most.

Adams clock ticks from the minute he gets hired.

 

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8 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

imo you can't just toss a year off a guy's resume because he inherited a mess. new GMs usually inherit a mess, that's why they get hired. 

I don't think he gets any credit for firing Kreuger (it was an obvious move) or for hiring Granato as interim head coach (who else was an option on the team?). I'm not convinced making Granato full time head coach was any sort of great move either. Was he the choice, or was he the fall back when other options didn't happen? We will never know and they would never say if that was the case. The guy you hire is always the guy you always wanted most.

Adams clock ticks from the minute he gets hired.

 

Yes, the new GM inherited a mess. That's obvious But that doesn't mean that he was able to instantaneously wipe the slate clean and install his replacements and start implementing his plans. The quibbling over when the clock started when he had full authority is not very meaningful because no matter how you calculate the time the GM has accomplished a lot during that period of time. 

Let's look at what KA during his time as a GM. He nearly completely  rebuilt and restaffed the hockey operation. He dealt the old core and got a fair-value return on those assets. This roster has substantially turned over with younger replacements. The prospect pool has increased. The point here is regardless how you manage the clock the GM has put this franchise is a good situation to succeed in the near future. Compare that to where this franchise was before he took over? 

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9 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

imo you can't just toss a year off a guy's resume because he inherited a mess. new GMs usually inherit a mess, that's why they get hired. 

I don't think he gets any credit for firing Kreuger (it was an obvious move) or for hiring Granato as interim head coach (who else was an option on the team?). I'm not convinced making Granato full time head coach was any sort of great move either. Was he the choice, or was he the fall back when other options didn't happen? We will never know and they would never say if that was the case. The guy you hire is always the guy you always wanted most.

Adams clock ticks from the minute he gets hired.

 

I agree with all of this.  You prefer a measure of the whole, from the moment he was hired, to today.

Using quick metrics over the past 5 seasons, what do we find?

Last year's team finished relative to last 5 seasons (using projected numbers since 2019-2021 did not have 82 game seasons):

  • Most GF - 232
  • Second Most GA - 290 (291)
  • Best Divisional Finish (5th)
  • 75 points (projected points in 2019-20 would have been 81, but they were still 6th in division)

If you account for carryover impact from one season to the next given the difficulty in flipping a roster in the NHL (and in Buffalo), the team trended down with Krueger and is trending back up with Adams. We still need more time to know if it will continue or if it was just managing mediocrity.

As for not giving credit, you have to. Obvious choices are not always made. And if you are going to put the mess a person inherits on their resume then you have to also account for the decisions they make, no matter how obvious. Same with Granato. Whether or not he was the only candidate (no way he was the ONLY candidate) he was the one who was hired and all indications are the team has improved under him.

Your statement above begins with lobbying for a holistic view and then quickly moves into picking specific events all of which you present as negatives or at best neutral. If you want the holistic view, then you use everything. 

I see nothing that indicates this team is not in a better position now than it was before Adams.

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