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#1 Crusader1969

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:47 AM

What's the game plan for the Sabres next season? What expectations for the 2018/19 season do you have? Can they become a playoff team or are we still "a couple of years away"?

#2 Skurk Liger

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:55 AM

What's the game plan for the Sabres next season? What expectations for the 2018/19 season do you have? Can they become a playoff team or are we still "a couple of years away"?

Clear out more dead weight and the "party" atmosphere surrounding this team. Continue to develop the talent in the system while having a good draft. 

 

I don't think they make the playoffs next year. 



#3 Alkoholist

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:07 AM

They damn well better expect to make the playoffs next season. The waiting list for STHs has evaporated and it's time to see what these guys are made of. If they come out of the gate stinking up the joint again next season than Housley's seat will start to get warmer and warmer with each passing loss.

 

Bad news for next season - Kane will likely be gone. 1 year still remaining on the deals for Moulson and Pominville. Bogosian will still have another season after this one. Eichel will have a $10 million cap hit.

 

The good news - Gorges off the books. Available prospects from an improved Rochester team including Guhle, Ullmark, and possibly CJ Smith. Likely top 5 pick from the 2018 draft who will likely be able to contribute right away (Svechnikov, Tkachuk, Zadina, or maybe even Dahlin but not likely).

 

The best news - Lord and Savior Casey Mittelstadt may grace us all with his presence to rescue this struggling franchise from the doldrums of the NHL standings basement.

 

There's still a lot of unknowns at this point. Depending on what we get for Kane and whether Mittelstadt decides to stay in school another year, along with where we end up in the draft could have a big impact on how the lines look next season.



#4 Sabre Dance

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:16 PM

The lineup is just one of the issues this organization has to address in the off-season (albeit the most important).  There are issues with the arena, the "in-game experience", the front office, the AHL affiliate....well, the list goes on.  Perhaps owning two major sports franchises is one too many for TP.  There seems to be a general lack of focus in the entire Sabres' organization. Maybe now that attendance is finally tailing off and game tickets are selling for less on the secondary market than tickets to high school games, the powers that be will finally pay some attention. They've tread on the goodwill of their fan base for just a little too long.

Hey, the expansion team in Vegas has fewer losses than the Sabres have wins.  I know that choosing players in an expansion draft is not the same as an established team trying to retool, but the dang Golden Knights are on top of their division.  There should be more than a few embarrassed GMs around the league...



#5 (E5)

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:23 PM

Fold and come back as an expansion team and incorporate the team in a tax friendly state that other teams take advantage of.



#6 woods-racer

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:14 PM

Vegas paid 500 million to the owners to be this good. Owners don't care.

 

Next new franchise is going to pay the owners> 700 million. They won't care if the new franchise is good either.



#7 Thorny

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:43 PM

The game plan is to win.

#8 We've

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:50 PM

Clear out more dead weight and the "party" atmosphere surrounding this team. Continue to develop the talent in the system while having a good draft. 

 

I don't think they make the playoffs next year. 

 

A couple of no nonsense grizzled vets would go along way with this team.



#9 Crusader1969

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:58 PM

The game plan is to win.

Is throwing out the same lineup and telling them go out and win enough?

I believe that you are one of the best posters on this site and have way more to add than "just win". What would you like to see Botterill do?

A couple of no nonsense grizzled vets would go along way with this team.


UFA Or trades?

Edited by Crusader1969, 12 February 2018 - 07:57 PM.


#10 We've

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:13 PM

UFA Or trades?

 

Yes.



#11 Thorny

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:50 PM

Is throwing out the same lineup and telling them go out and win enough?
I believe that you are one of the best posters on this site and have way more to add than "just win". What would you like to see Botterill do?

UFA Or trades?


Ya, it was a poor excuse for a post.

But Jack's latest injury has me feeling like Boromir after the second arrow, right about now.

#12 PerreaultForever

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 02:00 AM

I think the team next year will be younger and faster. Will they win? No idea. Hope so. 



#13 Huckleberry

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 05:38 AM

Send casey mittlestadt back another year for seasoning that is what they should do.    not NHL ready yet, kid needs more muscle.



#14 Kruppstahl

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 05:55 AM

What's the game plan for the Sabres next season? What expectations for the 2018/19 season do you have? Can they become a playoff team or are we still "a couple of years away"?

We're a couple of years away.

 

I don't think a lot of fans realize how messed up this organization is.

 

Botterill is a big believer in developing the proper way, from within the organization and having a competitive group in Rochester.

 

It all takes time to develop and we are starting out, right now, close to square 1.

Well, it's square 1, but with Jack Eichel already acquired.

 

So maybe square 2. 



#15 Crusader1969

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:32 AM

Send casey mittlestadt back another year for seasoning that is what they should do.    not NHL ready yet, kid needs more muscle.

 

 

i see that point but then I see so many examples of guys coming out of college after 1 year and doing well. In the last game against Colorado, Jost was an example of a guy who has 5 AHL games on his resume and is now a big part of the teams turnaround.

 

As for the muscle point, I would ask "How much muscle does Mitch Marner have?"  How about Matthew Barzal?

 

If Mittlestadt signs after his freshman year and is one of the best players at camp next year, why would he be sent down?   next year, the motto should be "the best players play".  



#16 Skurk Liger

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:42 AM

Tyson Jost has 13 points in 38 games, he may be a part of the turn around but I he isn't a big part. 

 

The Sabres should do what Colorado did though. Get rid of anyone who isn't here for the team. The underachievers and the lazy players can go. Start making being a Sabre mean something. 



#17 Crusader1969

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 03:11 PM

Tyson Jost has 13 points in 38 games, he may be a part of the turn around but I he isn't a big part. 

 

The Sabres should do what Colorado did though. Get rid of anyone who isn't here for the team. The underachievers and the lazy players can go. Start making being a Sabre mean something. 

 

 

True about Jost but I could have used Dylan Larkin or Clayton Keller as examples. If Mittelstadt is one of the top 9 fowards at training camp next fall, he should make the team.



#18 Huckleberry

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 06:17 AM

I think signing Borgen and Olofsson should our first priority.   And gettin samson some wingers to play with at center.



#19 Sabre1974

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 07:22 AM

I think signing Borgen and Olofsson should our first priority.   And gettin samson some wingers to play with at center.

Agree



#20 GASabresIUFAN

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:28 AM

Off-season game plan Part 1

The Forwards:
It's becoming clear that Sam (RFA), Jack, ROR and KO are the big 4 for the time being and will be again next season. After we trade Kane we need two top 6 LWs and have little in proven players for those jobs. This group also needs to get faster and play with more of an edge and more for each other.

Beside the big 4, the questions stem from who will be back and at what positions. Plus can Jbot find a way to upgrade the top 6 without given up to much.

A) Signed additional Forwards: Larsson, Girgensons, Pommers and ERod
b) Key RFAs (NHL) - Sam, Wilson.; (AHL) - Baptiste, Bailey, Smith, Fasching
c) UFAs : Pouliot, Nolan, Josefson
D) Prospects making the jump to NA Pro Hockey: Asplund: Olofsson, Pu (already signed) and possibly Mittelstadt.

Jbots job
Job 1) Trade Kane and get something positive in return. I'm hoping for an near ready good prospect and maybe a draft pick. Any roster player will likely be a cap dump and a warm body so Jbot doesn't have to raid Rochester.

Job 2) With Jack out and Kane traded, Jbot and his staff need to do a thorough evaluation of each forward to see who is part of the solution and who isn't. So far Sam, ERod and Wilson seem to be stepping up.
I'd actually like to keep Erod, Wilson and Girgensons. We are stuck with Pommers for one more year. I'm trading Larsson because we desperately need an upgrade of the 3rd line center. Larsson doesn't give us size, speed or scoring.

Job 3) Make sure we qualify the RFAs and get Sam signed to a reasonable bridge deal. If he reaches 40 pts again, I'd expect a 3 year 12 mill deal.

Job 4) Pray we get one of picks 1-4 in the 2018 draft. With three very talented LWs following Dahlin at 1. I doubt if any of the three will be NHL ready next year, but all three should be ready by fall 2019.

Job 5) If we get one of the 3 LWs, then we need to hope one of Mittelstadt, Nylander, or even Smith or Olofsson could do the job as early as next season, but again almost certainly by fall of 2019. If none are ready then Jbot might need to find another stop gap or two from either inside the organization or elsewhere.

Job 6) find a decent 3rd line center.

Job 7) We have a slew of good forward prospects entering the organization or looking for an opportunity in Buffalo. Pu starts his ELC. Hopefully Jbot can sign Olofsson and Asplund and get them into Roch. Given Nylander's struggles, it might be best to leave Mittelstadt in college one more year to get stronger.

Job 8) throw all positions except for the big 4 open to competition in camp. We have enough internal talented guys who could win the other 9 forward jobs without wasting resources.

Bottomline, I want to get young, cheaper and faster. I'd like to see Olofsson and Smith (both 23) get legit shots are winning a top 6 LW job, especially if we somehow get Dahlin or miss out on Zadina, the Russian or Tkachuk.

Roster
Girgensons Eichel Okposo
Zadina ROR Sam
Smith (Sam Gagner) Baptiste/ Pommers
Wilson Erod Bailey/Fasching

The LW competition should be crazy. Smith, Girgensons, Olofsson, Zadina (aka 1st rd pick) Wilson, Bailey and possibly Nylander and Mittelstadt might all be candidates for the 4 LW jobs.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN, 16 February 2018 - 12:29 PM.


#21 PerreaultForever

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:39 AM

 

Bottomline, I want to get young, cheaper and faster. 

 

 

That's it. 



#22 Jacque Richard

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 11:36 AM

Who will buy seats after reading the news, good luck Pegula and brandon

#23 Skurk Liger

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 11:45 AM

Who will buy seats after reading the news, good luck Pegula and brandon

http://buffalonews.c...ticket-brokers/



#24 Jacque Richard

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:50 PM

Folks here are getting smarter with their loot. Pegula thinks the fan base will keep supporting your crappy product. Not going to happen anymore.

#25 GASabresIUFAN

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:55 PM

Part 2: The Defense

Signed: Scandella, Ristolainen, McCabe, Beaulieu, Bogosian and Guhle
Key RFAs: Antipin, Nelson
UFA: Falk, Redmond

The easiest thing for Jbot to do is re-sign Antipin and the emerging Nelson, promote Guhle and roll the dice Bogo gets and stays healthy. In all honesty, another year undef Housley and the experience playing in the same system swith basically the same group, should show significant improvement. Adding Nelson and Guhle adds more speed and better puck movement. In year 2, both Anitipin and Baloo should be better as well and they have good speed and puck skills. I also think it isn’t unreasonable to also re-sign Falk as Bogo insurance.

While that could lead to a decent improvement, that group doesn’t solve one of the fundemental issues with this group and that is the over working of Rasmus Ristolainen. His recent play is again a symptom of an over worked player who is being asked to do to much. Add Guhle should help, but it isn’t reasonable to expect a rookie to solve the Risto problem. We need to build an effective 2nd pair anchored by somene how can play 22-25 minutes a night. This is asking alot I know, but these players are out there and it is job one for Jbot to find one.

So gameplan.
1) Qualify and re-sign Nelson and Antipin. Nelson’s arrival in Buffalo has made a huge difference this season. Right now I’d say he has earned a shot to be in Buffalo’s top 6 next fall. I suspect Antipin returns to Russia, but there have been some really nice moments and if can take the next step, we might really have something here.
2) Dispose of Bogo (but in a kind and humane way). At this point his injury prevents a buyout. That leaves us four choices. 1) if healthy keep him and see if he can build some trade value. 2) if unhealthy, place him on LTIR permenantly 3)if healthy bit the bullet and send him to Roch. 4) trade him as is for a bag of pucks and keep 50% of his salary on the books for two more years.

I don’t think he has any trade value as is and still won’t even if he comes back healthy. I also don’t want him on this roster next year even if healthy. If healthy I’m demoting him to Roch. If he proves healthy and dominates then we’ll re-evaluate sometime next season. If unhealthy then LTIR is the way to go.

3) Find a 2nd line D. If we somehow get lucky and land Dahlin in the draft, then Xmas arrived early and we are likely good to go. If not, then jbot needs to work then phones. Really, I’m only looking for an improved version of McCabe. He managed to find Scandella last off-season, can he find another this off-season?

Roster
Scandella Risto
Dahlin/FA/Trade Guhle
Nelson McCabe
Antipin Baloo

#26 GASabresIUFAN

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 05:11 PM

Part 3

Goaltending

 

It's becoming clear that Lehner is no longer part of the future here.  I was for giving him an offer this off-season and letting him share the net with Ullmark next season, but that seems like a huge waste at this point. 

 

It's better to start fresh.  Trade Lehner at the deadline for the best offer of a draft pick and goalie.  Let that goalie split with Johnson for the rest of the season and then start fresh next fall.  Ullmark has proven that he can play in the NHL and looks ready to be a starter after his work in Rochester this season.  In the off-season find a former starter that is looking for some PT to backup (and be insurance for Ullmark)

 

So the gameplan

1) Trade Lehner at the deadline. If there is no market, then give him a qualifying offer and then trade him in the summer.  

2) Let Johnson walk at season's end

3) Sign a UFA to split/backup Ullmark.  Lehtonen, Ward, Halak, Bernier, Khudobin. Hutchinson and Hutton are all UFAs. My preference is Khudobin or Halak, but I don't have a big preference. 

 

Signed: Ullmark 1 yr 750K 

RFA; Lehner (qualifying offer $4 mill), Kasdorf

UFA: Johnson, Wilcox

 

One interesting side note on goaltending is will we draft one this draft after grabbing the Fin last season.  Also will be sign Pekke and get him here to learn the NA game.  Johansson has done better is the ECHL then I thought and looks primed to take over for Ullmark in Roch.  Wilcox seems to have done a decent job at the AHL backup, but I doubt Kasdorf returns.  That leaves an opening for a starter in the ECHL.



#27 GASabresIUFAN

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 02:01 AM

Off-season gameplan.

 

1) Step one: Get good value for Kane and try to improve the team at the deadline: Fail!

 

Now that we have traded Kane away for a box of Tim Horton Glazed Donuts, a bag of pucks and Danny Boy, a buddy of Jack's (any question who's team this is now?), it's time to get serious about the future (such that it is).

 

2) 19 game try out.  Jbot said Baptiste and Nelson will be brought back from Roch.  I'm going to assume that means for the rest of the season. Apparently they were sent down to qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs (Funny, but didn't we just discuss that clear day rosters were a thing of the past)   He also said Danny Boy will report to Rochester.  Obviously Wilson, ERod, Nelson, Nick and others are being given a 19 game tryout to prove they are part of the solution for next year.  It also makes me wonder why Danny Boy isn't being given the same opportunity.  Lehner may also be on a display to hopefully create some off-season trade buzz.  Whether he returns next season is going to be a great debate this summer

 

3) Jbot said the organization is going to make changes.  I also that means roster and management.  

a) Here was the 2017-18 opening day roster (I've list the contract status for this off-season if an RFA or UFA)

Forwards:  Kane,  Eichel, Okposo, ROR, Reinhart (RFA), Girgensons, Larsson, Josefson (UFA), Moulson, Pominville, Nolan (UFA), Pouliot (UFA), and Griffith plus ERod (on IR to start)

Defense: Scandella, Ristolainen, Bogosian (now on IR), McCabe (now on IR), Tennyson, Antipin (RFA), Beaulieu, Gorges (UFA) plus Falk (UFA) - IR  to Start year.

Goalies: Lehner (RFA) Johnson (UFA)

That's 25 players with 4 already gone.  I don't expect any of the UFAs to return (that another 6 players gone).  But that is now enough to fix this roster.  We need Guhle and Ullmark to step into next year's lineup, but I don't know if any other reinforcements will be coming from Roch or the organization.  Trade and cheap UFA seem to be the JBot off-season approach. ROR has said ROR is a core piece.  KO is untradeable.  That leaves only Reinhart as a top asset that could bring back top talent.  Still 50% of that opening day roster will be gone by next fall.  

 

b) coaches and management shakeup.  I expect Wowie to have a couple of new coaches.  Housley will be back, but Jbot force a change or two to the staff?  Also, I expect more changes in the scouting department.  After Mittelstadt's pick, I wasn't impressed with the rest of the draft last year.  

 

4) Draft prep.  He has to get this pick right given the lack of return for Kane.  We are almost certainly going to get a top 5 pick.  The top 4 players maybe be NHL ready next season, but even if not, Jbot must come away with a top 6 forward or a top 2 D.  

 

5) Winning back the fans.  Talk about organization problem.  Ratings are down, seats are empty.  Cheaper tickets would be a nice start.  Not likely to happen but.......


Edited by GASabresIUFAN, 27 February 2018 - 02:03 AM.


#28 GASabresIUFAN

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 03:40 PM

Just read a THN article on the Sabres. http://www.thehockey...o-glory-fastest

They have me comvinced that Mittelstadt will be in Buffalo next fall and that Jbot wants him in the middle. Now your talking.
A spine of Jack, ROR and Mittelstadt is something to look forward to.

Roster in pencil
Girgensons Jack Ko
Olofsson ROR Sam
O’Regan Mittelstadt ERod
Wilson Larsson Baptiste

Scandella Ristolainen
Guhle McCabe
Antipin Nelson
Baloo Bogo

#29 Crusader1969

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 10:09 PM

Just read a THN article on the Sabres. http://www.thehockey...o-glory-fastest
They have me comvinced that Mittelstadt will be in Buffalo next fall and that Jbot wants him in the middle. Now your talking.
A spine of Jack, ROR and Mittelstadt is something to look forward to.
Roster in pencil
Girgensons Jack Ko
Olofsson ROR Sam
O’Regan Mittelstadt ERod
Wilson Larsson Baptiste
Scandella Ristolainen
Guhle McCabe
Antipin Nelson
Baloo Bogo


That lineup would look a lot better with Dahlin/Svechnikov/zadina/Tkachuk. Added. Plus a Nylander living up to expectations. Not to mention Bailey.

I would guess CJ Smith will be ahead of Olofsson as Victor may need time to adjust to the NHL rinks

#30 Robviously

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 10:52 PM

Just read a THN article on the Sabres. http://www.thehockey...o-glory-fastest

They have me comvinced that Mittelstadt will be in Buffalo next fall and that Jbot wants him in the middle. Now your talking.
A spine of Jack, ROR and Mittelstadt is something to look forward to.

Roster in pencil
Girgensons Jack Ko
Olofsson ROR Sam
O’Regan Mittelstadt ERod
Wilson Larsson Baptiste

Scandella Ristolainen
Guhle McCabe
Antipin Nelson
Baloo Bogo

What an utterly dreary lineup that is.  Even with Mittelstadt adding some speed and excitement, that looks like basically the same underachieving team as this year. 

 

Here's hoping JB makes a big hockey trade.  Or two.  And if not a flashy trade, at least move out guys like Girgensons and Larsson who have seemingly been in Buffalo forever, and adding nothing.

 

The Sabres should also be in on college free agents in a big way, both because JB likes college players and because we're a pretty good fit for these guys (i.e. they can play in the NHL right away with significant minutes and we have other young players we're building around).  



#31 We've

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 07:11 AM

What an utterly dreary lineup that is.  Even with Mittelstadt adding some speed and excitement, that looks like basically the same underachieving team as this year. 

 

 

Agreed.  That line up is basically a shuffling of the deck.  I need to see some serious roster turnover that doesn't include a bunch of middling prospects who haven't shown anything yet.



#32 We've

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 07:39 AM

Good article by John Vogl implicating the players as not listening to their coach as the crux of the problem.  I don't need to see this roster re-shuffled.  I need to see it replaced.

 

http://buffalonews.c...ter-of-respect/

 

Coach Phil Housley has a great knack for forecasting exactly what the opponent will do, and he explains it clearly in the morning. When the puck drops, the opponent follows the blueprint and the Sabres stand there and get run over.

 



#33 N S

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 10:08 AM

My off season game plan is to go to the beach as often as possible and work on my tan.



#34 dudacek

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 11:07 AM

Good article by John Vogl implicating the players as not listening to their coach as the crux of the problem.  I don't need to see this roster re-shuffled.  I need to see it replaced.
 
http://buffalonews.c...ter-of-respect/


It was a good piece. And it begs the question, who are the worst offenders?
The Sabres only have a handful of players “worthy” of entitled attitudes. And over the past couple months they've been the best players.

Harrington also had an interesting take on Kane.
Credit where credit is due.

#35 We've

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 11:32 AM

It was a good piece. And it begs the question, who are the worst offenders?
The Sabres only have a handful of players “worthy” of entitled attitudes. And over the past couple months they've been the best players.

Harrington also had an interesting take on Kane.
Credit where credit is due.

 

None of them are worthy of being entitled.  Noone on this team has won a damned thing to be able to say they know better. 



#36 GASabresIUFAN

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 11:50 AM

The thing I think is most interesting in the article is how well prepared and knowledgeable is about the Sabres' opponents.  You'd think a room full of professional athletes would start to listen if the coach is telling them the right things time and again and he is proven right time and again.

 

Is the problem entitled youth? Vets on fat pay checks without drive?  My guess is it is the vets.  An analogy for the Untouchables, you need to go to the farm and get the kids before they are corrupted.  Again Colorado eliminated anyone over 30 in their locker room last off season.  We should at least do the same.

 

We may not love the lineup I suggested earlier, but it was done with internal talent and eliminating anyone over 30 (including Pommers) and anyone I thought was an issue (it's way Bogo is on the pine). Frankly, I'd send Bogo to the minors and eat his contract or send him to LTIR if he isn't healthy.


Edited by GASabresIUFAN, 03 March 2018 - 11:54 AM.


#37 N S

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 11:56 AM

The Sabres have very few vets, if any, on fat pay cheques without drive, IMO.

 

Moulson is gone, Bogo and Pommer ... who else with big pay? ... all of them have drive still, but diminished skill due to age and / or being injured.



#38 Randall Flagg

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 11:58 AM

It's that dastardly Pominville, and his ornery friend Gorges. I just know it. 



#39 mjd1001

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 12:04 PM

With Risto, Nelson, Scandella, McCabe, Guhle, a HEALTHY Bogo (wishfull thinking), Antipin, and Beauleau....I think this D-core won't be a liability anymore.  Great? nope, but I think you can get by with them and be a good team with that group providing you have quality up front.

 

Of course, It would be great to have an top-notch D-core, and on paper I thought those guys could be one...but after watching many of them for a few year....slightly above average is probably their ceiling, and I'm not too upset with that.  Just get Risto's minute down, have 2 of the 3 of McCabe, Scandella, or Bogo be fully healthy, and they'll be OK.



#40 dudacek

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 12:10 PM

None of them are worthy of being entitled. Noone on this team has won a damned thing to be able to say they know better.

No one is ever worthy of entitlement, thus the quotes.
But Sam, Jack and Risto in particular come from a background of being the golden boys for their particular national team programs. Which has to breed a certain amount of arrogance.

Edited by dudacek, 03 March 2018 - 12:11 PM.