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Great expectations: how do you see the year unfolding?

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#1 dudacek

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:09 PM

It is now September. The Bills talk has already become unbearable and the busiest thread on here at the moment is about PA's rectum.

With training camp here soon, is anyone interested in some actual Sabres talk about how you see this season unfolding?

I expect a more entertaining hockey team this year.
I expect the Ted Nolan stamp to firmly attach itself to this year's squad; we will be on the bad end of a few blowouts; we will spend all kinds of time in our own end; and we will still struggle mightily to score goals.

But at least we will be struggling hard. We will have more depth and better leadership; we will hit and skate and throw ourselves in front of shots. At times we will be hanging on by our fingernails. But we will hang in there. And we will play with pride.

We better hope that renewed pride is at least partly due to dumping Ehrhoff. Because his loss hurts us virtually everywhere else. Unless Pysyk and Risto make big leaps, I expect Myers to be the only defenceman capable of moving the puck out of our zone with any form of regularity. I expect this to be the team's biggest weakness, along with a dismal power play, completely lacking in a real quarterback on the point.

But once we do get it out of our zone, I expect more extended periods in the attacking end, and a much better forecheck thanks to a combination of philosophy and a forward corps more tailored to that kind of game (think Mitchell, Kaleta, Stewart, Larsson, Deslauriers, Gionta, an improving Foligno and Girgensons and the 2014 Stafford.) We will also score more thanks to better depth, but it won't be enough to make a huge difference.

That's because we will also allow more goals, probably a lot more goals. I expect Neuvirth and Enroth to each steal games this year, and I expect them to give a few away as well. I hope one of them emerges as a clear number one, but I don't expect it.

I also don't expect any breakthrough offensive leaps by any sabres player. But I do expect Myers to thrive under Nolan. And I expect that by the end of the season, Zemgus Girgensons will have started to get NHL people talking.

Overall, I expect that a more consistent effort, a better team focus, the chance to watch the ups and downs of a few intriguing young players, more unpredictable goaltending, and less Ville Leino will add up to more interesting games. I certainly expect better than the minor league team we watched after the trade deadline last year, and the deer-in-the-headlights horror show that got Ron Rolston fired.

I think that in the period in between those two segments we were probably on a pace for 60-70 points. I expect that to be what we finish with this year, good for a bottom five ticket in the McDavid derby.

What do you expect?

Edited by dudacek, 02 September 2014 - 10:40 PM.


#2 SabresFanInRochester

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:42 PM

I think Hodgson will flourish as a winger and will be the team's leading scorer.
We will see the youth parked in the bullpen for another year -- juniors and the AHL.
The team's work ethic will grow by leaps and bounds without Leino and Ehrhoff on the ice.
Kaleta will have his best season. I think he will embrace the Nolan way and be rewarded for his effort.
Ennis and GIrgensons will lead by example and earn the "C" and "A."
The biggest difference in the Sabres being more competitive will be the play of their special teams. Their PK will be led by a cuthrought shot blocking mentality and their PP will have better puck possession and creativity led by Ennis feeding Moulson and Gionta.
Stafford will still be the whipping boy even though he will enjoy an above average year on the stat sheet.
The biggest controversy will be over who the starting goalie should be. Enroth will have better save percentages and goals against but the team will appear to play a better defensive game with Neuvirth in the net.

The 2014-15 Sabres will still take their lumps, but they will not be embarrassing to watch as the effort will be there. Even though they will still finish last, it will be encouraging to see improvement in the team and will ultimately live with the leftover choice of Eichel or McDavid as the lottery system once again will reward a team that did not finish last.

View Postdudacek, on 02 September 2014 - 10:09 PM, said:

It is now September. The Bills talk has already become unbearable and the busiest thread on here at the moment is about PA's rectum.

With training camp here soon, is anyone interested in some actual Sabres talk about how you see this season unfolding?

I expect a more entertaining hockey team this year.
I expect the Ted Nolan stamp to firmly attach itself to this year's squad; we will be on the bad end of a few blowouts; we will spend all kinds of time in our own end; and we will still struggle mightily to score goals.

But at least we will be struggling hard. We will have more depth and better leadership; we will hit and skate and throw ourselves in front of shots. At times we will be hanging on by our fingernails. But we will hang in there. And we will play with pride.

We better hope that renewed pride is at least partly due to dumping Ehrhoff. Because his loss hurts us virtually everywhere else. Unless Pysyk and Risto make big leaps, I expect Myers to be the only defenceman capable of moving the puck out of our zone with any form of regularity. I expect this to be the team's biggest weakness, along with a dismal power play, completely lacking in a real quarterback on the point.

But once we do get it out of our zone, I expect more extended periods in the attacking end, and a much better forecheck thanks to a combination of philosophy and a forward corps more tailored to that kind of game (think Mitchell, Kaleta, Stewart, Larsson, Gionta, an improving Foligno and Girgensons and the 2014 Stafford.) We will also score more thanks to better depth, but it won't be enough to make a huge difference.

That's because we will also allow more goals, probably a lot more goals. I expect Neuvirth and Enroth to each steal games this year, and I expect them to give a few away as well. I hope one of them emerges as a clear number one, but I don't expect it.

I also don't expect any breakthrough offensive leaps by any sabres player. But I do expect Myers to thrive under Nolan. And I expect that by the end of the season, Zemgus Girgensons will have started to get NHL people talking.

Overall, I expect that a more consistent effort, a better team focus, the chance to watch the ups and downs of a few intriguing young players, more unpredictable goaltending, and less Ville Leino will add up to more interesting games. I certainly expect better than the minor league team we watched after the trade deadline last year, and the deer-in-the-headlights horror show that got Ron Rolston fired.

I think that in the period in between those two segments we were probably on a pace for 60-70 points. I expect that to be what we finish with this year, good for a bottom five ticket in the McDavid derby.

What do you expect?

I think our special teams coaching has been pathetic and that will change this year. Trying to stick to a system that lacks players who fit the system is done. Instead, players will be allowed to use their strengths. Buffalo will be able to attack more... borderline force the puck, as their players will be allowed to use their talents. Ennis will be able to hold the puck and work from the wall without making the point man shoot into the defenders shin pads. Myers will be able to carry the puck in and when he dumps the puck off, we will have someone there to forecheck. I think we will see something refreshing this year. Do I know anything from an inside source? No. Is it a ton of wishful thinking... yes.

#3 dudacek

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:55 PM

View PostSabresFanInRochester, on 02 September 2014 - 10:42 PM, said:


I think our special teams coaching has been pathetic and that will change this year. Trying to stick to a system that lacks players who fit the system is done. Instead, players will be allowed to use their strengths. Buffalo will be able to attack more... borderline force the puck, as their players will be allowed to use their talents. Ennis will be able to hold the puck and work from the wall without making the point man shoot into the defenders shin pads. Myers will be able to carry the puck in and when he dumps the puck off, we will have someone there to forecheck. I think we will see something refreshing this year. Do I know anything from an inside source? No. Is it a ton of wishful thinking... yes.

I just don't think they have the personnel.

Moulson is the only power play ace on the roster, in the garbage collector role.
I think Hodgson could thrive on the power play, because he can pass and finish, but he needs more elite talent to work with.
Ennis can make plays, but is not elite at this level, stafford and Stewart are big bodies with skill, but they are afterthoughts, and Reinhart will be great in the future, but is too young to make an impact now. Gionta has lost his shot.
That's a mediocre group of forwards, lacking the impact guy.

But it's the blueline that is the real problem. Myers can lug the puck, and knows when to move in, but he can't distribute and he doesn't have a deadly shot. He's a complementary guy when the puck is in the attacking zone. Benoit probably is the best-equipped to be a quarterback, but he's a fringe NHLer. Our only hope is Rasmus turning into Denis Potvin. It could happen but I doubt it's this year.

#4 LaLaLaFontaine

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 04:08 AM

Last year we were dead last. Since then we got rid of our best goalie, best defender and best offensive guy.

But we have started to get a new mindset and culture. So I expect we will be bottom three and show some good games.

#5 Taro T

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 05:56 AM

Haven't given overall much thought, but I see Kaleta missing at least a dozen games this year w/ a broken hand suffered while trying to catch a puck to block it.  Guy could really benefit from having his gloves duct taped to his stick on the pk.

#6 bunomatic

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 08:41 AM

We'll still be bottom 3 when all is said and done but I've said it before we'll be looking for a true heavyweight to be our backbone by week 3 or 4. There's more toughness or gumption in the lineup but no one to stop other teams from exploiting us that way. Cody Mc doesn't count in this regard. He'll be too busy icing his hand or taping his shoulder.

#7 Claude_Verret

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 08:54 AM

An excellent shot at the bottom five with a damn good opportunity to be in the bottom three.  The good news being that along the way the games shouldn't be nearly as painful to watch as last year.  Also the official end of tank talk come April 2015 no matter where we finish.

#8 nfreeman

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 09:55 AM

I do not expect the Sabres to finish DFL.  Accordingly, I do not expect the Sabres to get a top-2 pick.

I expect a number of younger vets to have good-to-very-good years, including most of the following:  Myers, Weber, Foligno, Stafford, Ennis, Kaleta, Girgensons and Hodgson.

I expect the Sabres to continue to go slowly in bringing up and giving ice time/prominent roles to the kids, including Risto, Pysyk, Zadorov, Armia, Griggy and Reinhart.

I expect the team to play with passion and unity and not to be pushed around by anyone.

I expect them to be last in the NHL in scoring again.

I expect Stafford and Stewart to be traded at the deadline.

I expect to be optimistic this time next year about a playoff run.

#9 dEnnis the Menace

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:22 AM

View Postnfreeman, on 03 September 2014 - 09:55 AM, said:

I do not expect the Sabres to finish DFL.  Accordingly, I do not expect the Sabres to get a top-2 pick.

I expect a number of younger vets to have good-to-very-good years, including most of the following:  Myers, Weber, Foligno, Stafford, Ennis, Kaleta, Girgensons and Hodgson.

I expect the Sabres to continue to go slowly in bringing up and giving ice time/prominent roles to the kids, including Risto, Pysyk, Zadorov, Armia, Griggy and Reinhart.

I expect the team to play with passion and unity and not to be pushed around by anyone.

I expect them to be last in the NHL in scoring again.

I expect Stafford and Stewart to be traded at the deadline.

I expect to be optimistic this time next year about a playoff run.

Let's not forget, we could win 10 more games this year and still finish last.  I think we'll be in bottom 3 this year, and I absolutely agree with the bolded

#10 drnkirishone

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:47 AM

How can you believe we will be last in scoring and not last in the standings? Our goaltending has gotten worse. short of myers having a mvp season, I see no way our GAA drops so much to overcome lowest scoring team title.

#11 Potato

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:51 AM

I think whether this team improves dramatically over last year depends a lot on the goaltending and defense (Out: Hank, McBain, The Hoff; In: Gorges, Benoit, Meszaros).  I don't think there is any question the team should be better up front.  But, can they keep the puck out of their own net?  That'll be interesting to see.

#12 nfreeman

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:57 AM

View Postdrnkirishone, on 03 September 2014 - 10:47 AM, said:

How can you believe we will be last in scoring and not last in the standings? Our goaltending has gotten worse. short of myers having a mvp season, I see no way our GAA drops so much to overcome lowest scoring team title.

Good question.  The Sabres were historically bad last year in scoring -- the 2nd-lowest scoring team had 38 goals more than they did.  (In contrast, the 2nd-highest scoring team had 2 goals less than the leader.)  So they can score quite a few more goals this year and still come in last.

As for the goaltending, I agree that it will likely be worse.  However, I think team defense will be better.  I also think there will be a number of teams tanking hard.  It all adds up, IMHO, to not finishing DFL.

#13 drnkirishone

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:11 PM

View Postnfreeman, on 03 September 2014 - 10:57 AM, said:



Good question.  The Sabres were historically bad last year in scoring -- the 2nd-lowest scoring team had 38 goals more than they did.  (In contrast, the 2nd-highest scoring team had 2 goals less than the leader.)  So they can score quite a few more goals this year and still come in last.

As for the goaltending, I agree that it will likely be worse.  However, I think team defense will be better.  I also think there will be a number of teams tanking hard.  It all adds up, IMHO, to not finishing DFL.
I can understand that. However I think the lowest scoring team is going to be the last place team also

#14 wjag

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:19 PM

I expect Ted Nolan to be fired by December.

**

braces for incoming...

Edited by wjag, 03 September 2014 - 06:26 PM.


#15 dudacek

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:27 PM

View Postwjag, on 03 September 2014 - 06:19 PM, said:

I expect Ted Nolan to be fired by December.

Seriously? Why?

#16 wjag

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:31 PM

View Postdudacek, on 03 September 2014 - 06:27 PM, said:

Seriously? Why?

1.  He is not Tim's guy
2.  He will try to win
3.  He won't win
4.  He will be made the scape goat
5.  His firing will allow the tank to continue
6.  Tim can install his guy

#17 dudacek

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:40 PM

1 Tim hired him
Two and three cancel each other out.
4 Eventually, but not yet. He'll look like a fool firing a winning coach with this roster and will lose the players.
5 The tank gains nothing if he fires a losing coach
6 see one

Ted is a no-lose situation this year - given the franchise's state, he's a success win or  lose.
The only way  gets fired is if he is openly insubordinate

#18 wjag

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:45 PM

View Postdudacek, on 03 September 2014 - 06:40 PM, said:

1 Tim hired him
Two and three cancel each other out.
4 Eventually, but not yet. He'll look like a fool firing a winning coach with this roster and will lose the players.
5 The tank gains nothing if he fires a losing coach
6 see one

Ted is a no-lose situation this year - given the franchise's state, he's a success win or  lose.
The only way  gets fired is if he is openly insubordinate

He's not Tim's guy.  The fact that he hired him is more a matter of not upsetting the apple cart too soon.  He is PLF's coach/friend and as a result, he has to go.  My take is Tim forced PLF out and now he will set his sights on his coach.

A bad team doesn't get better by firing the coach mid season.  They get worse.

Tim is just now putting his stamp on this franchise and TN doesn't fit.

Edited by wjag, 03 September 2014 - 06:50 PM.


#19 nfreeman

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:50 PM

It would take a major off-ice soap opera for Nolan to be fired this year.

#20 wjag

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:51 PM

View Postnfreeman, on 03 September 2014 - 06:50 PM, said:

It would take a major off-ice soap opera for Nolan to be fired this year.

Unlike what happened last year?  I know this is unthinkable to many on here, but it makes sense to me.  Ted must go.  If Tim really wants to own this team, he needs to get rid of his inherited coach.

Edited by wjag, 03 September 2014 - 06:53 PM.


#21 dudacek

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:53 PM

View Postwjag, on 03 September 2014 - 06:45 PM, said:



He's not Tim's guy.  The fact that he hired him is more a matter of not upsetting the apple cart too soon.  He is PLF's coach and as a result, he has to go.  A bad team doesn't get better by firing the coach mid season.  They get worse.

Tim is just now putting his stamp on this franchise and TN doesn't fit.

I agree with most of that, except that right now, Ted does fit. He is the right guy to emphasize character and hard work and install the proper culture Tim wants the young guys to grow in.

He gets fired when he shows he isn't the right guy to push a talented team over the top.

#22 wjag

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:54 PM

View Postdudacek, on 03 September 2014 - 06:53 PM, said:

I agree with most of that, except that right now, Ted does fit. He is the right guy to emphasize character and hard work and install the proper culture Tim wants the young guys to grow in.

He gets fired when he shows he isn't the right guy to push a talented team over the top.

or... he refuses to do the GM's bidding.  Which I think we all agree is very likely.  Tim needs a tank this year, and he needs it bad.

Edited by wjag, 03 September 2014 - 06:55 PM.


#23 dudacek

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:06 PM

View Postwjag, on 03 September 2014 - 06:54 PM, said:



or... he refuses to do the GM's bidding.  Which I think we all agree is very likely.  Tim needs a tank this year, and he needs it bad.

I think Tim would be perfectly happy with a team that's in the playoff hunt because that would mean a lot of his young talent really stepped up and are showing they could be for real, and that he's found his goalie of the future.

We don't need McDavid to be a contender.

#24 Numark

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:17 PM

View Postwjag, on 03 September 2014 - 06:54 PM, said:

or... he refuses to do the GM's bidding.  Which I think we all agree is very likely.  Tim needs a tank this year, and he needs it bad.

I don't think a GM in the universe would ask his coach to lose on purpose, no different than a coach would never ask his players to lose on purpose.  Anyone involved directly with the outcome of a game, would never lose on purpose (besides rare circumstances such as gambling).  A GM may construct his team to not very good, but you better believe he still expects the players and coach to do the best job possible.  Thinking otherwise doesn't really make sense as that would ruin your career (losing on purpose, or asking someone to lose on purpose).  


So Nolan may get fired for not being Tim's guy, but it won't be because he wouldn't lose on purpose.  But just imagine if a GM asked a coach to lose and then fired him for winning.  Good luck finding a new coach or ever being in a front office again.

#25 weave

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:24 PM

I expect that paying attention to the games will be quite a challenge for me by the middle of November.

I expect that game day threads will average less than 10 pages.

I expect continued divide on this forum over cheering for this team to lose.

I expect Samson to play the entire season.

I expect team GAA > 2.30.

I expect Matt Moulson to lead the team with 25 goals.

I expect the season to finish with the Sabres drafting (own pick) somewhere between 4 and 6.

#26 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 01:17 AM

It's going to be a rough season. I know some people are excited by some new toys, as always, but this team will not be much better results-wise as last years squad.

They will be getting a top-2 pick.

#27 ubkev

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 02:30 AM

I expect the Sabres to be dead last in goals.

I expect the Sabres to be dead last in the standings.

I expect the Sabres power play to suck.

I expect Kaleta and McCormick to get hurt.

I expect Samson to play all year with Buffalo.

I expect Rasmus to play all year with Buffalo.

I expect Zadorov to play in juniors.

I expect Gionta to wear a letter.

I expect Grigorenko to score enough points to get some people excited for 2015/2016.

I expect Armia to dominate the AHL and be a regular contributing call up.

I expect to draft Connor McDavid.

#28 nfreeman

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:09 AM

View Postubkev, on 04 September 2014 - 02:30 AM, said:

I expect to draft Connor McDavid.

How can you expect this?  Even if the Sabres finish DFL, there is still something like an 80% chance that a different team will get the #1 pick.

#29 dEnnis the Menace

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:13 AM

View Postnfreeman, on 04 September 2014 - 08:09 AM, said:

How can you expect this?  Even if the Sabres finish DFL, there is still something like an 80% chance that a different team will get the #1 pick.

well...not quite...we also have the Islanders pick so the % drops a little...and St Louis' (although that's irrelevant here) :P

#30 BRAWNDO

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:37 AM

View Postubkev, on 04 September 2014 - 02:30 AM, said:

I expect the Sabres to be dead last in goals.

I expect the Sabres to be dead last in the standings.

I expect the Sabres power play to suck.

I expect Kaleta and McCormick to get hurt.

I expect Samson to play all year with Buffalo.

I expect Rasmus to play all year with Buffalo.

I expect Zadorov to play in juniors.

I expect Gionta to wear a letter.

I expect Grigorenko to score enough points to get some people excited for 2015/2016.

I expect Armia to dominate the AHL and be a regular contributing call up.

I expect to draft Connor McDavid.

All this except, Reinhart gets loaned to Team Canada for the World Juniors and will be a healthy scratch more often then not Oct thru Dec.

I would be okay with Eichel as well.

#31 nfreeman

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:51 AM

View PostdEnnis the Menace, on 04 September 2014 - 08:13 AM, said:

well...not quite...we also have the Islanders pick so the % drops a little...and St Louis' (although that's irrelevant here) :P

D'oh!  And I've been predicting that the Islanders will stink!

Good call.

#32 wyldnwoody44

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 02:38 AM

Sabres are gonna win the cup this year..... While being dead last in scoring

Enroth/neuvirth combo will accomplish a total of 62 combined shutouts

Nolan will fight someone on the other teams bench

Our leading scorer will be lucky to have 20 goals

St Louis does a 180 and takes the 1st overall pick

Oh and everything I post this year will be a steaming pile of dog s#it