The Big Picture

People are a bit down after the loss to Carolina last night. You lose your focus when you just base opinion on the team,  if you go game by game.You have to look at the race at the moment in chunks of games. At the start of the night they were 2 points outta of 8th, and 3 points out of 7th. Guess what. At the end of the night they still are. The teams switched. Right now I’d rather be chasing the Rangers then the Canes. Getting points is the most important thing right now. If you’re gonna lose, lose in OT.

So lets pan out, and see things in a bigger light.

8th Place NY Rangers   70 points and 66 games

They gained 3 points on the Rangers in 2 games And have 3 games in hand and after tonight 4 games. The team is ravaged with injuries and slumping badly. I’m guessing the Sabres pass them by Sunday. (Doesn’t mean they will be in the playoffs)

7th Place  Carolina   71 Points   65 Games.

And after tonight they will have 3 games in hand, with 2 games left head to head. They aren’t that great a team, and probably due for a slump. Carolina can be caught. But its going down to the wire. I think.

6th Place  Montreal  77 points  65 Games

I don’t think they can get the Habs. Unless Montreal really swoons, and the Sabres Catch New Jersey fever, 6th place is too far away. But hey why not go for it, 6th place is a good place for the playoffs, because you probably get Tampa, and Tampa is not ready for the show.

I would mention the Leafs, but you can’t worry about those behind you.  But they are surging right now. So they are one of the teams fighting for the 2 spots in the playoffs.

If 91 points is the magical amount to make the playoffs. (On average)  The Sabres have 19 games left with 68 points. (does quick math) That’s 23 points.  If the Sabres want to get to the 91 point total, they will need to go 11-7-1 or 10-6-3. That’s not unrealistic. With the schedule they have, they can achieve that goal, and probably surpass it.

They are not done. They aren’t even close to being done. They looked done when Roy got hurt. But thanks to the lack of real good teams, the Sabres have climbed out of a hole and are in charge of their future.

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Northeast Division 1st round Drafting through the 00’s

Listening to Mike Schopp while driving home yesterday, a Caller came on and slammed Regier about his Drafting record. I have looked through the drafting during Regier’s tenure, and its up and down no doubt. But not as bad as this guy was claiming. But lets compare it, with the Sabres fellow Divison Mates.

This is only the first round, going into all rounds is way too much work for me.

2000

  • Buffalo:    Artem Kryukov
  • Boston     Lars Jonsson
  • Boston     Martin Samuelsson
  • Montreal Marcel Hossa
  • Montreal Ron Hainsey
  • Ottawa   Anton Volchenkov
  • Toronto  Brad Boyes

Some misses, some hits. But none of these players are still with the team that Drafted them.

Verdict:  Ottawa Wins, Boston Loses

2001

  • Buffalo        Jiri Novotny
  • Boston        Shoane Morrisson
  • Montreal   Mike Komisarek
  • Montreal   Alex Perezhogin
  • Ottawa     Jason Spezza
  • Ottawa    Tim Gleason
  • Toronto   Carlo Coloiacovo

Verdict:  Ottawa: Wins  Buffalo: Loses

2002

  • Buffalo      Keith Ballard
  • Buffalo       Dan Paille
  • Boston     Hannu Toivonen
  • Montreal  Chris Higgins
  • Ottawa    Jakub Klepis
  • Toronto  Alex Steen

Verdict:  Winner: Buffalo?  Loser: Ottawa (But later he was traded for Mike Grier)

2003

  • Buffalo     Thomas Vanek
  • Boston     Mark Stuart
  • Montreal  Andrei Kostityn
  • Ottawa   Patrick Eaves

Verdict: Solid picks  But Winner:  Buffalo  Loser: Toronto, just because.

2004

  • Buffalo   Drew Stafford
  • Montreal  Kyle Chipcura
  • Ottawa    Andrej Meszaros

Verdict :  Winner  Buffalo   Loser Toronto, why not again.

2005

  • Buffalo   Marek Zagrapan
  • Boston   Matt Laskoff
  • Montreal  Carey Price
  • Ottawa   Brian Lee
  • Toronto   Tuuka Rask

Verdict: Winner  Montreal  Loser  Buffalo, ugh Zagrapan.

2006

  • Buffalo:  Dennis Persson
  • Boston   Phil Kessel
  • Montreal   David Fischer
  • Ottawa Nick Foligno
  • Toronto  Jiri Tlusty

Verdict:  Winner Boston, Loser TBA

2007

  • Boston Zach Hamill
  • Montreal  Ryan McDonough
  • Montreal  Zach Pacioretty
  • Ottawa   Jim OBrien

Verdict: No winners or losers on this one yet.

2008

  • Buffalo  Tyler Myers
  • Buffalo Tyler Ennis
  • Boston  Joe Colborne
  • Montreal   Traded 1st for Alex Tanguay (FAILED)
  • Ottawa  Erik Karlsson
  • Toronto  Luke Schenn

Verdict:  Buffalo is the Winner at the moment.  Montreal Loses this one.

2009

  • Buffalo     Zach Kassian
  • Boston     Jordan Caron
  • Montreal   Louis Leblanc
  • Ottawa     Jared Kowan
  • Toronto   Nazem Kadri

Verdict:  Too early to tell.

As you can tell by just comparing the ’00’s to just the division, Darcy probably did better then the rest of the divison. Toronto has not benefited really from their drafts up until Brian Burke took over. 3 Straight 1st round picks of the Leafs, eventually wind up on the Blues.

One thing you can also tell is Darcy had a terrible record with Europeans, its even worse when you look at later rounds through the decade. Its abysmal. I can see why they pulled out of Europe. Or the scouts they used, just scammed them of money. Dennis Persson the boat is still out on, but could turn out to be a solid D Man, when he gets up from Portland, or traded.

Darcy’s  recent drafts are excellent. Maybe video scouting is the future. The proof is in the picks. We’ll its a long term experiment. But one thing is certain, his drafting record is not that bad. And in fact its getting better.

 

 

 

 

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Trade Ideas based on nothing.

I love the Trade Deadline, its fun, fast paced and always interesting. People always say its a waste of time, but that’s not true. We all love it, like we love the Draft. Who gets who?It’s like Christmas but in February and you actually don’t get anything.

The rumors leading up are always interesting, because usually the are based on nothing, but speculation and people making stuff up, to drive traffic. Eklund has made this a business model. Would love to see how much he rakes in every year, by just making stuff up

I can make stuff up too. But I will do it on rumors and articles I’ve seen on what other teams need and just pretend that the Sabres are the only team that can fill that need.

Yesterday I saw that Vancouver might be looking for a 4th line center. Mmm. Really?

Rob Niedermeyer anyone? Has cup experience, a center, A 4th LINE CENTER. And he’s a British Columbia Native. Seems like a perfect fit for me. Just send back a 6th round pick, or some Salmon, whatever. You can have him.

Hey its the trade deadline, so its time for the “Lanche to trade John Michael Liles. And since he’s friends with Ryan Miller, he’s gotta come to Buffalo right? Ugh. So if the Sabres were to go get John Michael Liles, what would they give up? I would say Sekera, and a 2nd round pick. You do the favor of removing Liles from the Avalanche Cap, and give them a puck moving defenseman, (sometimes who moves it to the other team) and could use a change of scenery.

Trading away a 2nd Round pick are you crazy?

Ahh, you see it is not our own, but it was acquired by Trading Tim Connolly to the Washington Capitals. (or whoever will take him for a 2nd round pick)

You may say Jon, we just traded 2 centers away. Is Paul Gaustad a 2nd line Center?

Well obviously not. Does that mean we’re trading for Brad Richards? NO! Of course not. That’s crazy. You trade for Paul Statsny. A 1st round pick, Luke Adam and TJ Brennan. I’m not trading Drew Schiestel. And obviously since he was on the Olympic team with Miller, they are obvious friends. Duh.

Are you over the cap with the trades you made?

I don’t know, I didn’t do the math, none of these things are going to happen anyway, so why bother.

What if they do?

Then I am obviously a genius, or Darcy Regier reads this blog and did what I suggested. And then we are all in huge trouble. Because I know absolutely nothing.

Will you be disappointed at the deadline?

No, I don’t expect anything, but the Rangers to ruin their future to trade for Brad Richards, who will sign in Tampa next year anyway.

Well the deadline is days away, but there are 2 games before then, so get your fill of Tim Connolly now, before he’s gone.

No, don’t cry Chippewa Bars, you’ll be okay.

 

 

 

 

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Pittsburgh North

Well we knew about Ted Black, but we didn’t know about Ken Sawyer. But it is obvious that Terry Pegula is mining his Pennsylvania roots and getting guys tied to the resurgence of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The exciting thing about Ted Black is his Tv roots. He can hopefully improve the TV product, get the Sabres out of the MSG black hole. And the embarrassing Sabre HD channel. I think a Sabre specific channel is a bit of a stretch. I would love if a Empire Sports Network could make a comeback. The Time Warner Sports channel is nice. But your missing all the viewers of Fios, Directv and other satellite providers.

Maybe a Buffalo Hockey Channel. Show Sabres, Griffs, Purple Eagles, Niagara Ice Dogs, local High School hockey. We love hockey here. And of course the summer would be a problem with programming. Well its an idea and needs a ton of work.

These guys have no ties to the team, besides Terry Pegula being a fan of the team and Lindy Ruff. But if Darcy Regier stays status quo, he’s gone. And with no doubt a GM with Pittsburgh ties will be brought in. That guy? Jason Botterill. The Asst Gm of the Penguins. Who played for Lindy Ruff, in the pre lockout years. Imagine a former player being your GM. He might not be Ray Shero, but he sure is learning from him. And the Penguins are always one of the more active teams out there.

Darcy is safe for now. But he is definitely on notice. There are no financial restraints and you have resources to do what you want. Now go out there and get it done. If not, there are plenty of people to take your job. Hopefully for him the word is out and players maybe more interested in being a Sabre.

Otherwise, someone else is taking that 4 hour drive north from the Steel City.

 

 

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1 day to Pegula, 1 week to the Deadine

This should be an eventful place the next week. You have the Pegula press conference tomorrow. 1 week till the trade deadline and 3 home games. I heard Vogl and Harrington just pitched tents in the box office area, instead of going back and forth all week.

Seriously, I think we have been waiting months to hear from Terry Pegula on his plan of action. I don’t know if its going to be everything we expect from Terry, but anything that says our plan is to win the Stanley Cup, will be cheered by the masses. After 3 straight losses, any positive news is good news.

There are so many questions to be asked. I doubt the Press conference could handle them all.

What is your plan with Regier/Ruff?

Are you going to spend to the Cap?

What improvements are planned for the Arena?

Will the Variable pricing stay?

Will you keep the Bandits?

We’ll just have to wait one more day for Pegula Day. And he’ll have 6 days to influence what the Sabres due to at the Deadline. If he wants Regier to sell or make a push. If he can release the Money in/Money out standards of the past, it could make Darcy a better dealer, like he was when Golisano took over. The trades he made before the Lockout were criminal.  He built that Presidents Trophy team through deals before the Lockout. And I have been waiting for that GM since.

As a Regier fan, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was on his way out come the summer. Pegula just might want his own man, with a similar vision he has in running a team. And you know what, I can accept that for 189 million reasons.

The Trade Deadline is always a mystery for us Sabre Fans, because nothing ever leaks with Darcy. But does that change with Pegula and especially with is Twitter friendly daughters? In my opinion, there aren’t any players on the roster that are safe in my eyes. If you can get a good return for them. Why not?

As for Trade Ideas? I have no clue. I don’t know who’s available and I have no idea what the market it. What does a Connolly get you? Depends on the other team. The Thrashers may pay one thing, while the Kings another. Is what they offer good enough for you? There are so many variables to consider its pointless to speculate, in the end its just making stuff up.

We have all week to think about it and read the rumors. And I am one person who can wait.

Happy Pegula Eve everyone!

 

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No need to panic

Mark Mulville buffalo news

 

The Sabres are 1-2-1 in their last 4 games. And I can see the fanbase already getting worried again.  Why? They were going to slump sometime in the final 30 games. Might as well be now. Plenty of time to recover and regain your bearings.

Yes this team is flawed. Yes, this team probably doesn’t have what it takes to win a Cup. Yes, they are streaky and lack passion from time to time. So what? I want them in the playoffs, because the playoffs are fun. They are too far ahead to get a good draft pick now. So go for the playoffs. Make some moves at the deadline that can make the team better, while also not hurting next year’s chances.

I have always been a Regier apologist. Now he has a owner who has the passion and the money to build a true winner. Not just a money maker. If Darcy does nothing great at the deadline or worries about contracts. (Which he will) Then he’s gone when the season is over with. No doubt about it. Then we’ll be in for a ride with the New GM putting his stamp on the team.

Some may criticize Darcy for letting the Market get set by others. Well the problem is we don’t know everything about the market. Kaberle probably didn’t want to come here. Lots of players don’t want to come play in Buffalo. Especially those with a No Trade clause. In the last player poll. The Sabres were ranked 3rd in markets players least wanted to play in. Only beating The Islanders and The Thrashers. But we can never know what the real market holds. Not every player holds the same commodity, like a can of Coke does. A Tim Connolly and a Craig Rivet, probably hold 30 different values. But a can of Coke usually costs the same no matter where you go. That is why I never question what the market rate is, because I have no idea what it really was.

So bottom line, no time to panic. Just because they lost a few and other teams made moves is no reason to worry. Just go with the flow and ride it out. Should be a fun last 2 months.

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Digging out

Buffalonians know about digging out, especially with our winters. But the Sabres have been digging out since the Fall. The terrible start has put them where they are. A 500 start and they might be a 6th or 7th seed right now.Lets recap

October  3-7-2

November 6-6-1

December 6-5-1

January 8-3-1

February 4-3-1

A 12-6-2  stretch since the new year has gotten the Sabres within 2 points of 8th. Its a huge confidence boosting stretch that gets a team in a frame of mind to keep it going till the Playoffs. If the Sabres continue on this course they will make the playoffs. Whether its 6th, 7th or 8th, depends on the teams above them. Many of them struggling or just playing .500 hockey.

91 points is usually the magic mark. Which means the Sabres have to pick up 31 points in the final 26 games. That equates to a final stretch of 15-10-1. Compared to what they have been doing and up coming schedule, its totally not out of the question. It may not have to even come to that.

I know people say they aren’t a cup contender. Lets get to the playoffs before writing them off. The Playoffs are fun, even if its one and done. If they get Tampa, they can beat Tampa. Philly? Probably not. But it would fun. Boston or Montreal? They could beat them, maybe Montreal. Whatever. Lets win some games. Let Pegula set the standard for the future. Lets get a center in here who can score.

The Sabres can do this. And it will make the Spring fun.

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