Wednesday, January 25, 2012
First and foremost, I’d like to say that Jason Pominvilles comments in yesterdays Buffalo News Sports Section make me sick. Our “all-star” was quoted saying the following :
"We have full confidence in the guys that are in place, full confidence in the guys that are in the locker room," Pominville said. "Our focus is on Lindy to be there. We want to win with him. We want to win with Darcy. We've been a part of this for a long time. It's no different for them. We're all in this together.”
This dude is as brainwashed as the rest of em. I respect his loyalty but is losing so engrained in these guys that they really believe this? You’re in last place bro wake up!!!! If it was any of the other 29 real teams in the league, you would’ve never got $5m + and you would’ve been on a squad somewhere else. Anyways onto the main point of this article.
The Sabres need to trade whatever they can for the first overall pick. Although there is decent value and finds after the first overall pick, it’s pretty much a lock that you’re getting an elite player with the #1 selection. As it stands now Buffalo is 4th last in the league. If post All-Star break history tells us anything the Sabres will make a strong push. However, if they were smart they’d tank the season. Any self-respecting athlete would never do that and I see a 6th-10th pick coming our way in June. Since the “new” NHL didn’t start until post-lockout, let’s go back to 2004 to review the #1 overall selection.
2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers (Canada)
2010: Taylor Hall, Oilers (Canada)
2009: John Tavares, Islanders (Canada)
2008:Steven Stamkos. Lightning (Canada)
2007: Patrick Kane, Blackhawks (USA)
2006: Erik Johnson, Blues (USA)
2005: Sidney Crosby, Penguins (Canada)
2004: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals (Russia)
Looking at this class how could you not want the first overall pick. The only “miss” in this group is Erik Johnson. That term is thrown around lightly as he is a shutdown, offensive-defensive, who has had a 39-point season as well as represented Team USA in Vancouver in 2010. The only reason he may even be considered a slight miss is because in 2006 the selections after Johnson included: #2 Jordan Staal, #3 Jonathan Toews, #4 Nicklas Backstrom, and #5 Phil Kessel.
Although the #2 pick also pushes out very good NHL players, it is more the rule than the exception that #2 is a far step back from #1. One exception may be 2004 when Evgeni Malkin was taken right after Ovie. Although Ovie is a much more complete player, Malkin’s numbers aren’t far off and he has a Cup. The rest of the #2 overall picks are as follows:
2005: Bobby Ryan, Ducks (USA)
2006: Jordan Staal, Penguins (Canada)
2007: van Riemsdyk (USA)
2008: Drew Doughty, Kings (Canada)
2009: Victor Hedman, Lightning (Sweden)
2010: Tyler Seguin, Bruins (Canada)
2011: Gabriel Landeskog, Avalance (Sweden)
An argument can be made for Tyler Seguin but career numbers don’t like and Seguin played on a Stanley Cup powerhouse while Hall was on the last place Oilers. As we get closer to June’s draft more and more prospects will come through. NHL scouts do a pretty good job of hitting on who the number 1 guy should be. This is why the Sabres should trade whatever they can to get the first pick. Trade your entire draft. Your “franchise” goalie. Top prospects. “Core” guys. It doesn’t matter.
Let’s use 2009 and John Tavares as an example. Because all of the other guys have been around longer, their numbers are much better and the guys from 2010 and 2011 you still can’t get a great read on. The Sabres 2009 draft went like this: Mark Pysyk (D), Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (D), Steven Shipley (C) , Greg Sutch (RW), Cedric Henley (LW), and Christian Isackson (RW). Unless you’re a die-hard have you ever heard of anyone after Pysyk? Mean while Tavares will be making making his NHL ALL-Star Game debut this Sunday as he average more than a point per game this year. That is following his rookie campaign of 67 points in 79 games on a bad team. Oh and he resigned for 6 years 33 mil. Sounds like a steal for a #1 center to me.
Okay, let’s go back a year and use 2008. Steven Stamkos has had seasons of 46, 95 and 91 points- hitting 23 goals his rookie year, followed by 51 and then 45 with an NHL Cover Appearance. This year he’s currently 4th in the league with 52 points (32 goals) through 47 games. That would make his career total 284 points in 290 career regular season games. The Sabres draft consisted of Tyler Myers (D), Tyler Ennis (RW) (both round 1), Luke Adam (C), Corey Fienhage (D), Justin Jokinen (RW), Jordon Southorn (D), Jacob Lagace (LW), and Nick Crawford (D). Aside from Myers and Ennis have you heard of any of these guys? Myers had a great rookie campaign and is one of the rare guys the Sabres threw into the mix right away. It took Ennis 2 years in the minors until he came up and had 48 point “rookie” season. Myers slumped his sophomore year and Stamkos finished 5th in the league in scoring. 3rd year in the league? Myers struggled, then got back to form…Stamkos finished 5th again with 91 points.
The point is the Sabres do a decent job of drafting guys, and developing them. They seem to have 1 or 2 good years before their talent seems to be haulted for whatever reasons. Draft a #1 guy that can contribute immediately and lets get this franchise back on track.
Monday, January 23, 2012
After years and years and years oh and years of begging, pleading and praying for Darcy Regier & Lindy Ruff to be fired they are still employed by the Buffalo Sabres and may have made their best case yet to be dismissed. Some how.
What does Lindy Ruff have over this city and its hockey team that he is more indestructible than Teflon and cockroaches? The guy is a career loser who is poison to almost any player brought into the organization. Star goalies, top line talent, big free agents, high draft picks and luck coming out of a year long lock out. None of these things have been good enough for this guy to win a championship in the National Hockey League. Yet fifteen years of failure is not enough of a track record to warrant a firing? Has he secretly promised to develop the waterfront or bring back Bethlehem Steel and we just have to wait fifteen more years?
The Buffalo Sabres in 2011/12 have been the most embarrassing Buffalo sports team since at least the 2002 Buffalo Bills. Even the 3rd worst-in-the-league 4-12 2010 Buffalo Bills weren't as pathetic as this squad. They are dead last in the conference, fifteenth out of fifteenth after forty-eight games! They have won two of their last eleven games and haven't been competitive since Ryan Millsie Miller got ran by Milan Lucic back in early November.
If there has ever been a professional sports team begging more for significant changes from the head coach on down I would love a list. Players playing well below expectations? Check. Quit on their coach and just ignore him? Check. A coach with no answers and saying they will need their goalie to stand on his head just to win one game? Check. Outraged and nearly ambivalent fan base? Check.
The situation is so dire, pathetic and sad that they might as well wait until the offseason. No one wants them to fire Lindy Ruff now and have the team play .500 the rest of the season. Clearly they are a 100% pretender with glaring problems. Lose as many as possible, play for a draft pick and clear house April 9th (the Monday after the season ends).
The only real question at this point is did fan boy owner Terry Pegula really believe the sole reason this team has been playing pitiful for the past 3+ months is because of injuries? What professional franchise would allow their season to disintegrate while doing nothing for months and months?
Anyone with DirecTv or Fios has seen for weeks that something, anything needed to be done to change the team. 9-24 over their last 33 games and nothing could be done to at least try and shake things up?
This pitiful stretch shouldn't only shake the fans' belief in Dracy Regier and untouchable Lindy Ruff (if for some reason you still had some hope) but it should force us to reexamine the fanboy owner Terry Pegula.
If this fly by night savior was willing to sit around and let these scrub losers ruin another season when exactly would he step in and demand change? Less than a year into his ownership tenure and he has already destroyed his credibility? Actually maybe that was already done at the introductory news conference when he spoke about the unassailable Ruff. Or when he allowed Regier to rebuild the team yet again.
Who would have thought this is where this franchise would be right now? When do Bills OTA's start?
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Sabres: Trade Deadline Dilemma
With the 2011-2012 NHL Trade Deadline about 5 weeks away, the Buffalo Sabres have a serious dilemma. Do they try to move key pieces of their “core” while they still have at least some value and try to salvage what is left of the season? Or (my pick) do they ride it out, finish in the bottom 7 of the league, thus getting a higher draft pick? Not only a higher pick but hopefully this would wake up Old Man Pegula and he would finally blow this thing up.
When looking on TSN’s website they had this to say:
“NHL's Most Wanted
With multiple teams in the hunt for a top-six forward, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun runs down the list of names that may be available on in a piece on ESPN.com.
The list includes Derek Roy, Brad Boyes and Drew Stafford in Buffalo; Vaclav Prospal, Antoine Vermette and Kristian Huselius in Columbus; Ales Hemsky in Edmonton; Tuomo Ruutu in Carolina; and Jason Blake in Anaheim. “
This is why I say stick with option B above. Teams are always going to overpay for underachieving players. This may be hated by all, but I say make no moves at the deadline. Everyone has seen what Darcy’s moves produce. Trading someone useless for a 2nd round pick. Then trading that pick for a rent-a-player who in some cases scores in his first game but is otherwise useless (see: Zubrus, Bernier, Moore, Torres, Boyes). So unless TPegs is going to all of a sudden renege on what he said and fire Darce and Lindy (which we all know isn’t happening) then I say don’t make a move. Stand pat, keep blaming injuries, and take a 13th place finish in the east. This summer is when you need to make a real push. Below is a list of Buffalo Sabres Free Agents starting July 1, 2012 as well as their age and cap hit.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
Boyes, Brad » Forward 29 $4,000,000
Hecht, Jochen » Forward 34 $3,525,000
Kotalik, Ales » Forward 33 $3,000,000
Gaustad, Paul » Forward 29 $2,300,000
Morrisonn, Shaone » Def 29 $2,075,000
MacIntyre, Drew » Goalie 28 $525,000
Leggio, David » Goalie 27 $525,000 2012
Ryan, Michael » 31 $525,000 2012
Stuart, Colin » F BUF 29 $525,000 2012
Whitmore, Derek » Forward 27 $525,000
Restricted Free Agents:
Kaleta, Patrick » Forward 25 $907,500
Ennis, Tyler » Forward 22 $875,000
Brennan, T.J. » Def 22 $875,000 2012
Schiestel, Drew » Def 22 $750,000
Gragnani, Marc-Andre » Def 24 $550,000
Biega, Alex » Def 23 $527,500
Turnbull, Travis » Forward 25 $525,000 2012 (RFA)
Persson, Dennis » Def 23 $525,000
Szczechura, Paul » Forward 26 $525,000
There are people on this list that a) need to be re-signed b) impartial if they’re re-signed c) absolutely no chance, they better not be coming back. The UFA’s that need to be brought back are basically all of the AHL guys aside from Kotalik and Morrisson. Everyone else PEACE THE F OUT. Gaustad, Boyes overpaid for doing nothing. 21 points in 77 combined games? Wat?! And I don’t wanna here that it’s not the GooseShits roll to score…guess what? The way our team is laid out, it is! Our RFA’s I’d bring em all back as they’d all only require a slight raise and from the last their production warrants the type of money they get. MiniMite Tyler Ennis only has 5 points but something tells me he’ll step his game up. Last year alone warrants $1million as I firmly believe he’s ust going through the sophomore slump.
Now I wont list all the leagues RFA’s because god knows we’re not making any one an offer because we love our precious draft picks but I will list the top UFA’s and who I think we should make a push for. The list is not exactly sexy and I think we’d be better off making trades before free agency but the entire list with salaries can be found at http://capgeek.com/free_
The TOP 20 Highest PAID Free Agents for 2012:
Semin, Alexander » F WAS 27 $6,700,000 2012 (UFA)
Smyth, Ryan » F EDM 35 $6,250,000 2012 (UFA)
Lidstrom, Nicklas » D DET 41 $6,200,000 2012 (UFA)
Parise, Zach » F NJD 27 $6,000,000 2012 (UFA)
Huet, Cristobal » G CHI 36 $5,625,000 2012 (UFA)
Brodeur, Martin » G NJD 39 $5,200,000 2012 (UFA)
Rolston, Brian » F NYI 38 $5,062,500 2012 (UFA)
Rozsival, Michal » D PHO 33 $5,000,000 2012 (UFA)
Huselius, Kristian » F CLB 33 $4,750,000 2012 (UFA)
Doan, Shane » F PHO 35 $4,550,000 2012 (UFA)
Langkow, Daymond » F PHO 35 $4,500,000 2012 (UFA)
Penner, Dustin » F LAK 29 $4,250,000 2012 (UFA)
Liles, John-Michael » D TOR 31 $4,200,000 2012 (UFA)
Hemsky, Ales » F EDM 28 $4,100,000 2012 (UFA)
Boyes, Brad » F BUF 29 $4,000,000 2012 (UFA)
Blake, Jason » F ANA 38 $4,000,000 2012 (UFA)
Selanne, Teemu » F ANA 41 $4,000,000 2012 (UFA)
Wideman, Dennis » D WAS 28 $3,937,500 2012 (UFA)
Avery, Sean » F NYR 31 $3,875,000 2012 (UFA)
Now, most of the people on this list have flaws. They are either too old or too paid. Alex Semin will get his money somewhere but hes not worth the $7.5 mill he’ll demand, especially because he disappears in the postseason. Parise may be the sexiest pick on here but does Buffalo really need another tiny, overpaid ($7m a year) winger whose average for his career is 57 points per season. Plus the Devils have been so bad we it is unknown if he’d be able to make it through a whole postseason tourney. The only person on this “top 20” list that should truly garner interest from the Sabres is John Michael Liles. He is a 31-year old, top 4 defenseman. He is on pace for a career high 51 points (supposed to be Ehrhoff) who has never had less than 30 points in any given season. He already has 10 points on the Power Play this year and his current salary of $4.55 million is worth it. Next year when he commands $5 mill, I say go for it. A real puck moving d-man like Liles will only raise the game of guys like Ehrhoff, Sekera, etc because their won’t be the pressure to be the man.
Anyone on the Sabres from Roy all the way down to Miller should be on limits for trades. It hasn’t worked yet so why not try something different? Bring in a real #1 center like Eric Staal, who is waiting for a change of scenery. There has been rumors that the he was on the block and was possibly getting moved to the Leafs. The situation would be ideal. Dish Roy and and anyone else equaling $8.25 million (Staal’s cap hit) and bring this guy in. A change of scenery might be just what he needs to turn his weak 25 point season around. The guy has been the captain of the Hurricanes since I can remember and has a Cup under his belt. He is 27 year old Canadian with hockey in his blood. At 6’4, 205 he would bring the size and grit Buffalo was looking for all while bringing in a #1 scoring center. Throughout the course of his career Staal has put up season point totals of 100, 70, 82, 75, 70, and 76. That is a 6 year average of 79 points per year. That is a guy who warrants $8million. Blue and Gold gave old Roysie 6 years and 4 million per for 61 points per year. Oh and Staal has never played less than 70 games in a year. He had perfect attendance his first 4 years, played 70 the next and missed 1 game this past year. The dude is the real deal. In the only 2 years he has been in the postseason he has 28 points in 25 games (cup year) and 15 points in 18 games. Built for the long haul.
Staal is your guy Buffalo, go get him.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Courtney Upshaw OLB/DE, Alabama 6'2 265
"Buffalo did well when it drafted Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus with its first pick last year, but the pass rush still needs a lot of help. Upshaw is currently the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft, and he should be able to apply a lot of pressure to opposing quarterbacks from the edge for whoever gets him for 2012. No Buffalo player had more than 5.5 sacks in 2011, and the Bills simply can't get enough pressure without bringing extra players. Upshaw is a part of the solution. This is a big-time talent, a player who already was making an impact at Alabama as a freshman. He'll follow a similar path as a pro."
Courtney Upshaw OLB/DE, Alabama
This is a reach, but we've seen the Bills do crazy things on Draft Day before. One thing this front office has been infamous of is telegraphing its picks. Chan Gailey repeatedly mentioned acquiring a running back prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, and sure enough, he picked C.J. Spiller despite having Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson on the roster.
Gailey has recently harped about not being able to get to the quarterback, and it's easy to understand why. No one on the team finished with more than 5.5 sacks on the year.
Courtney Upshaw is currently the top pass-rusher available in the wake of his MVP performance in the so-called national championship. He'll be the preferred prospect if the Bills want to run a 3-4.
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa 6'6 300
Though the Bills' offensive line has often been denounced, it really isn't that terrible. Chris Hairston didn't play badly at left tackle, and Buffalo has several decent offensive linemen.
However, Riley Reiff is a solid value here and Buffalo's offensive line isn't exactly great. There aren't any great options for the Bills, so they go with the "safe" pick. (via bleacherreport)
Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford 6'6 304
Andrew Perloff (si.com):
Quinton Coples DE, UNC, 6'6 285
Coples disappointed some scouts this season, but the Bills need more pressure up front and he has a lot of natural talent. The big question with Coples is attitude. He'll have to prove he wants it in pre-draft interviews.
Abysmal. Horrendous. Laughable. These are just some of the words that describe the
Buffalo Sabres this season. Coming off a relatively “big” win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last Friday the 13th, the ‘bres were looking for their first back-to-back wins since a 5-1 trouncing of the ole’ Ottawa Senators (still one of our most dominating wins of the season). They started their grueling 7-game road trip heading to the Colliseum to play the lowly Islanders.
The result: Michael Grabner again owned us and our only big game (ha) player choked on a penalty shot with 1:24 left, leading to a 4-2 loss. Making it 6 losses already this year to teams in 13th-15th place in the (Eastern Conference) standings. Not exactly the track record of a pre-season pick to win a division. The following game? An embarrassment and a game that pretty much sums up the Sabres season thus far. A 5-0 drubbing by Hockeytown’s Red Wings.
You would think the old Blue and Yellow (cue music) would have responded. A team
whose strength was once games on the road and that was once 8-3 away from HSBC er F'N Center, now find themselves 8-11 in games on the road. What we got was not a response. What we got was what we’ve had all season, a team that lacks any big time players, real leadership, any grit, any true size (I don’t know what their obsession is with mini mites), and any clutch goals in crucial situations. Don’t try to argue and say that Pominville is 14th and making his first AllStar Game appearance. He will cool off and knowing we are a big hockey market, GBetts had to put someone in the game.
Watching the Sabres play the Red Wings on Monday was like watching a real NHL powerhouse scrimmage a Junior Varsity hockey team. It’s no wonder Detroit has 4 cups and 6 cup appearances since ’95. It’s sad really. Detroit celebrates cups on the
reg, seemingly being a contender every year. Here we in Buffalo are, wet-dreaming of the “good ole days” when we got 4th place . Those are the “glory” days.
Making it to the ECF and losing 2 years in a row is considered a success. If this
was a stepping stone for finally coming out of the tourney and making it to the show, that’d be one thing. But it’s not, the Sabres have regressed to the point where it is baffling. We finally got an owner who seemed to care, making renovations, supporting our town, and spending to the cap. However, by constantly defending Lindy and Darc, blaming our failures on injuries and accepting 11th place his motto should be “From here on out we have one goal and that is to be complacent with mediocrity.”
Spend to the cap- hurr-freakin-ray. Problem is, what did he spend it on? Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff and RobYn Regehr…oh boy, this could be a whole separate topic. Robyn Regehr hasn’t been incredible but hes been solid. He is definitely filling the role of 4th defensemen. The guy is tough and seems to make pretty good decisions with the puck. Leino and Ehrhoff on the other hand? Yikes.
Now, I will be the first to admit these guys sounded sexy to me when we signed them. Leino was the Sabre killer who shined in the playoffs and Ehrhoff was the #2 defensemen on a President’s Trophy winner. Boy, do I wish we didn’t have 2 Jochen Hecht’s and a Hank Tallinder back. Both Leino and Ehrhoff have been injured/suspended and it’s almost as though they’re trying to do as little as possible.
When you see Leino it’s like they cloned Hecht’s game, put a beard on the guy and overpaid him by about $3 million. Seriously, what does this guy do? 10 points? Although I can’t blame him because he’s had one slightly below-average, 53 point year (and this was playing with Briere and Hartnell). There hasn't been one strong point of his game so far other than he can turn back and forth with the puck in the corner for way too long. Good grief! Another wnywatercooler blogger may be correct when he says this is the worst contract in Buffalo sports history. And if you want a fun game, try and predict how many times Leino is going to fall to the ice each night. On his roughly 16 minutes of ice time each night, it’s pretty much a lock hes going to hit the floor at least 5 times. You think its funny now but watch.
Furthermore, Ehrhoff…frag-i-le. Holy cow. This guy was supposed to be a smooth, puck moving, 15-goal, 50 point defensemen. We gave him 10, yes 10 years, which at 4 million per, seemed like a steal. My how it has been the opposite. Tied for a team 2nd worse -11, Ehrhoff has been the pits. Fans find themselves cringing every time he has the puck in his own zone and on the power play? Does he have a clause where he gets a bonus for other teams potting SHG’s? Buffalo is 4th worst in the league with 5 shorties allowed and its almost a lock Ehrhoff is responsible for 3 of those. Way to go Terrance.
It’s always important to stay optimistic especially because of what the Blue and Gold
did last year after Christmas. Yes they were only 1 of 3 teams to make the playoffs after being out on Jesus' birthday. It was 8 points at that. Their stats on Christmas were almost identical. They had the exact same record at the halfway point this year, 18-18-5, as they did last year. Last year was the exception, not the rule. If that type of record happens in 2 straight years it’s not coincidence it’s habit. But face it Buffalo sucks. The GM sucks the coach sucks, everyone is overpaid.
When Kevin Sylvester is doing play-by-play, our broadcast team goes from half-suck (Harry Neale is the absolute worst) to completely-suck. Gaustad sucks. Our fans are weak and soft- even the players have said it. Even Tyler Myers sucks again. It’s hard to read this and argue with any of those points. Its hard to look at the standings, see that we have 43 points and are 3 away from LAST PLACE in the conference and say we don’t suck. Oh wait, we’ve had injuries. Guess what, every team has injuries. Yes there must be something in the water in Buffalo because the Bills suffer the same issues every year. Guess what, maybe our players are too weak to cut it and surprise our strength and conditioning staff….yup, sucks. Terry Pegula basically insulted fans intelligence by saying the only reason we’re not good is because of injury. You can’t develop chemistry, blah blah blah. No Terry it’s because the guys you have on the team are limited in what they can do.
They’re not motivated because they’ve heard the same speech over and over again. When Lindy Ruff started here, 56k was a fast internet speed. Bill Clinton was JUST STARTING his second term as president. There have been approximately 170 coaching changes since Lindy took over. Are you shitting me? The guy has been to one Cup and lost and that was only because of Hasek, lost in 3 ECF and that’s it.
Look up how many playoff series the guy has won since 2006-2007. Lindy is loved dearly in the Queen City, myself included. I firmly believe if he goes somewhere else,
he’ll win a cup. It’s just not going to be here. Him and Darcy have got to go. Brian Burke has even gone on record saying Darcy is basically impossible to do business with. I firmly believe that Darcy has just been holding on and been trying to not get fired for roughly 5 years now. He has been riding the Drury/Briere acquisitions to the ground and still takes no blame that they left. He has been forgotten this year because he’s spent to the cap. Well guess what, he still sucks and will never land another GM job again- if he ever gets fired.
It’s time to realize that guys like Paul Gaustad are great in theory- size, leadership, grit but he is a fourth liner period. He’s not meant to be a go-to center on the 2nd line. Guys like Derek Roy and Drew Stafford have worn out their welcome. Yes, Roysie was a point per game player before his injury. But guess what, injuries change a players game, just ask Timmy Connolly. And yes Stafford did light the lamp 30 times last year but I think that will be the peak for his career. It’s like he’s afraid to shoot the puck. Numerous times he has point blank opportunities and he has dished it off only for the puck to end up in our own net. And not to mention these guys lack of defensive zone play. Wait, goaltending hasn't been mentioned? On to Ryan Millsie Swiss Cheese Miller.
This guys is the symbol of what’s wrong with the Sabres. He had one good year, got paid and now he sucks. Nobody wants to trade him for fear that he’ll be good somewhere else. No one wants to part ways for fear of what we won’t get in return. This dude can’t handle criticism even though he's 42nd in Goals Against Average and 40th in Save Percentage. Remember there are only 30 teams in the league and no those are not typos.
I am not sure if Enroth is your franchise goalie yet but it’s pretty clear like most professionals he would take most of the blame and not throw his teammates under the bus. Miller did have one good (not great) year when he won the Vezina and he got a Silver Medal. But guess what? His team lost in the 1st round of the playoffs because he got outplayed by a backup and he let in a poor angle “golden” goals to lose the Olympics and let down his country. Hockey is a team game and there is 20 guys out there each and every night. Ask anyone though, it starts from the net out. Goalies are supposed to have amnesia, in that they are supposed to forget about goals that they just got burned on. Miller is a head case. He can’t handle pressure, can’t handle the media and basically can’t handle any adversity in big games whatsoever. You’re not going to win many games when your “superstar” goalie is worse than last in the league statistically.
I say blow it all up. This team doesn’t have solid goaltending to bail out a horrible
offense, and cant get timely goals to bail out struggling, head case goalies. Finish this year out but after that its time to clean house and start over. Get rid of the GM who is lost. Get rid of the coach who changes line combinations more times than Drew Stafford hits the chip strip. Get rid of a head case goalie whose overvalued while you can still get something for him. Get rid of mini mite forwards who can’t handle the playoffs and promote Kassian, Enroth, McNabb, Tropp to full time duties. Last year I wrote an article like this and we took off. Ideally, that will happen again but realistically the Sabres are lookin' at a bottom 7 finish and a lottery pick. #1 overall pick anyone??!?!
Friday, January 13, 2012
Steve 51-33 (7-10)
New Orleans @ San Francisco over 47.5
New England -13.5
NY Giants +7.5 (wish it was still 9)
Wreck 44-39-3 (7-10)
Green Bay -7.5
New Orleans -3.5
New England -13.5
Thursday, January 12, 2012
- Tashard Choice - Running Back
- Stevie Johnson - Wide Receiver
- Roscoe Parrish - Wide Receiver
- Derek Hagan - Wide Receiver
- Ruvell Martin - Wide Receiver
- David Martin - Tight End
- Scott Chandler - Tight End
- Demetrius Bell - Left Tackle
- Chad Rinehart - Right Guard
- Kraig Urbik - Offensive Line (RFA)
- Rian Lindell - Kicker
- Andra Davis - Middle Linebacker
- Kirk Morrison - Middle Linebacker
- Reggie Torbor - Outside Linebacker
- Reggie Corner - Cornerback
- Bryan Scott - Tweener Linebacker/safety
- Garrison Sanborn - Long Snapper (RFA)
Monday, January 9, 2012
Oh jeez Louise. Are the Buffalo Sabres more disappointing than the Buffalo Bills? In August there was no way that statement could be true because there was no appointment for the Bills. They were supposed to be pitiful so they couldn't disappoint. Wait what? I don't know either way after 41 games (the statistical midpoint) the Sabres are far and away the most disappointing and pitiful team in Buffalo.
Fourth in the division, eleventh in the conference seven points out of last and NINE 9! points behind the Ottawa Senators. What prognosticators had that one before the season started? Oh, maybe I did.
This team was grossly overrated to begin with. Their fan boy owner is as blind as Stevie Wonder. How the fuck could any Sabres fan or hockey observer possibly have any faith in Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier? Fourteen seasons together wasn't enough of a track record to realize these two are losers?
Ryan Miller has flashes of greatness but is average at best. Wait, 36th in the league in GAA isn't hall of fame worthy? Alright fine what about save percentage, ouch 37th. Could we get some new paint for the blue lines for this guy at this point?
Well at least we still have Derek Roy, Jochen Hecht, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek as the solid core to lead this team to the promised land. There was no way we could possibly allow Drew Stafford to be signed by someone else in restricted free agency either. I mean these guys are all studs.
The only one worth a damn out of that group is Vanek and all five are over paid. What does Regier see in this "core" that I don't? Well other than losing.
This team doesn't just need to fire their coach or make a trade or two they need the nuclear option. Has Iran or North Korean perfected a bomb yet? No they'll have to wait a few more years just like Sabres fans.
This is the worst part about having a fan boy owner. I didn't trust/love this guy from the start because he was too in love with the foundations of the franchise and too reluctant to make changes. He couldn't possibly fire his idol Lindy Ruff and he knows if he recast the position of general manager that too would mean the end to his beloved Lindy.
Alright fine, Terry Pegula hasn't even been the owner for a full calendar year but how much of a pattern does he need until he realizes this core, this coaching staff, this management team is a failure and will not bring him his desired cup?
Fourteen more years? Funny how the goal has gone from Stanley Cup to just making the playoffs yet again.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
I needed a little time to reflect on the disappointment and embarrassment of the 2011 season before writing my 2011 season year in review. Had I written this blog any earlier this week, I would have been calling for the release of the entire 53 man roster. Then, today after we signed David Clowney, I have renewed hope in what is going on at One Bills Drive.
The Bills were awesome to start the season. They were exciting to watch. The opening day destruction of the Chiefs 41-7 got things rolling. The Bills had three consecutive home wins that rival any stretch of regular season home games in the history of Ralph Wilson Stadium. It began with the win over the Raiders and Fitz' now famous scream after the 4th down touchdown pass to David Nelson. Drayton Florence's interception return of Tom Brady to give the Bills the lead against New England was the most exciting play at the stadium since Sam Adams was barreling down the sideline against those same Patriots. The Eagles game was the one that made me think that this team was legitimately a 10 win contender. Then, it all fell apart.
The Bills started 5-2. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and was a pro bowl candidate. Fred Jackson had 721 yards rushing and 353 yards receiving. He was an MVP candidate, on pace for the Bills yardage records. Nobody thought this team would be anything like 2008...who would have imagined that they would actually be worse?
The 7 game losing skid was embarrassing. The Bills had their worst 3 game stretch in team history, getting outscore by 80 points, 106-26. Never in the history of the franchise have they been outscored by such a margin in a 3 game stretch.
What was the problem? People blame injuries. I blame lack of talent and poor coaching, especially on defense. In back to back seasons, the Bills have allowed the 2nd most points in team history. The Bills allowed 27.1 points per game during the 2011 season (434 total) which was good for third worst in the league. The Bills defense was supposed to be better than last year's. We drafted Dareus. We picked up Barnett. Merriman was supposed to be healthy. Young guys from the 2010 draft were supposed to take the next step. After all, how could that defense possibly be worse than they were in 2010? Well, they allowed 425 points last year which was 5th worst in the NFL. So, with better players (allegedly) the Bills defense actually got worse. Yeah, I know, Kyle Williams was hurt. Kyle Williams was healthy on this defense a season ago. How good is Kyle Willams?
The real issue, as mentioned, is the young guys. Torell Troupe and Alex Carrington were supposed to be impact players on this defense. They are closer to being out of the league than they are of being impact players. Arthur Moats has had a moment or two in this league...fact is, he is not a good football player. Batten is a poor mans Josh Stamer. Coleman got cut. On the bright side, the Bills got to see a lot of rookies Kelvin Sheppard, Aaron Williams and Da'Norris Searcy this season. They will need to produce in a big way next year.
Rush YPG 28th (139)
Pass YPG 19th (232.1)
Total TPG 26th (371.1)
PPG 30th (27.1)
These numbers were just not good enough to allow George Edwards to keep his job. The Bills needed to find a scapegoat and he was it. Dave Wannstedt will take over in 2012 and the Bills will likely switch back to the 4-3. This will suit Dareus and Williams better and they are the Bills best defensive players. Oh and if you are thinking about how the Bills took the ball away a lot this year which covered up for their other obvious shortcomings, their 31 takeaways were tied for 5th in the league. This is great...except when you give it away 30 times. Thanks Fitz.
This is a great segue into the offense. They were unstoppable early in the season. Then they faced Rex Ryan, lost Eric Wood, lost Fred Jackson, lost Don Jones, lost Roscoe Parrish, lost D Bell, lost Chris Hairston, lost Kraig Urbik, lost Scott Chandler. Holy moley. Stevie Johnson was favoring a groin injury. At one point in the season finale, the Bills receivers were Hagan, Ruvell Martin, Naaman Roosevelt and David Nelson. I love Nelson, but he isn't saving that group of cast offs. Injuries did affect the offense, there is no doubt. I still think the Bills have a decent offense led by a decent quarterback in Fitz.
Fitz did however lead the NFL in interceptions with 23...which isn't really a good way to start my explanation of why he is OK and the least of our problems. The fact is though, I can't blame him for all of these. Yeah, watching him throw the deep ball is painful. He isn't good at it. It makes it harder when you are throwing to maybe one NFL caliber player. He also lost his best lineman and center Eric Wood. The Bills had no replacement for him. Levitre tried against Dallas...but it didn't really work out too well to say the least.
Fred Jackson went down against Dallas and ended up being placed on IR. Fred was having an incredible season. I was never a big Fred guy but he won me over. He is a great player, a great story and a great leader. The problem is, he got hurt, Spiller finally got to show his ability, and now the Bills are in a bind and Jackson looks like he might get screwed over again. Spiller began to show why he was as highly touted as he was coming out of Clemson. Over the last 6 games, when CJ was really featured, he ran for 446 yards and had an additional 187 receiving. He averaged 5.19 YPC. If you project these numbers out over a 16 game season, that equates to just shy of 1,200 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving. The Bills drafted Spiller in the top 10. He was Gailey's first pick. I personally don't think that Chan is smart enough to effectively use Spiller and Jackson in a way that they are both happy. Also, Fred is 31 years old, so how big of a contract should he get? It will be interesting to see, but I would try to move Fred and ride with Cliff next year (although, I am sure many fans who don't understand football will be pissed off).
So what about our boy Stevie Johnson? It seems many people in the media hate him and want him out of Buffalo. Jerry Sullivan made it clear he hates Johnson and wants him out of town. I don't get it. He didn't do anything that was really that bad. Yeah, the fake shooting his leg against the Jets was embarrassing for himself, but he paid for it. His display at New England Sunday though was not a big deal at all. In fact, I think it's slightly pathetic that Chan sat him. He wrote Happy New Year on his shirt. This is the NFL, not the ACC. All he did was piss off the entire team.
You work hard all week to try and win a football game. Stevie Johnson is out there working hard all week preparing. He is working hard during the game. He scores a TD and lifts his shirt and it says Happy New Year. He gets a flag, gets benched for 3 quarters, the Bills don't score another point (actually 7), and then the media wants him out of town. Stevie Johnson is a legit above average starting NFL receiver. People complain about the Bills not keeping their good players. Well, he is a good player and if the Bills don't keep him, I think it would be a terrible decision on their part. Pay him the 7.5 million and move on.
Also, if it comes between Stevie and Fred, I think it is Stevie without a doubt. If we lose Stevie, WR all of a sudden gets added to the list of positions that we can defend using our first round pick on. Oh and by the way, he become the first WR in team history to have 1,000 yards receiving in back to back seasons (also 17 touchdowns). Andre Reed had more than 17 touchdowns in back to back seasons combined only once is his career (he had 9, 8 and 10 touchdowns in 1989, 1990 and 1991 respectively).
Yards 14th (5,624)
Pass Yards 15th (231.4 YPG)
Rush Yards 13th (120.1 YPG)
PPG 14th (23.3)
Now I am going to give out some hardware to put a notch on another Bills playoff-less season.
Top 3 Moments of 2011:
1. Drayton Florence interception return against New England
2. David Nelson game winning touchdown catch against Oakland
3. Nick Barnett interception return against the Eagles
Honorable Mention: Eagles D lineman jumping offside on the obviously-we-aren't-snapping-the-ball-and-just-trying-to-draw-you-offside play at the end of the game against the Eagles
Worst 3 Moments of 2011:
1. Stevie Johnson drop vs. Jets with Bills trying to salvage season
2. Stevie Johnson getting benched vs. Patriots week 17
3. Greg Rayner screwing up a squib kick after Stevie Johnson's penalty for shooting himself in the leg against the Jets
Is it bad that Stevie Johnson makes an appearance in all 3 of these after I just defended him for an entire paragraph? Oh well.
Top 3 performances of 2011:
1. Fred Jackson 196 all purpose yards against the Eagles
2. George Wilson 11 tackles and 1 interception against the Eagles
3. Fred Jackson 194 all purpose yards against the Redskins
Worst Performance of 2011
1. Andy Levitre at center vs. the Cowboys
It is hard to single out some others because the Bills had some incredibly terrible games as a team, but a few come to mind.
2. Leodis McKelvin against any team he starter at corner against. Was it the first Jets game when he just got abused?
3. Fitz at San Diego...13-34 for 176 yards and 2 interceptions...a stellar 31 qb rating.
Team MVP: Can Fred Jackson win this even though he only played 9 games? I am giving him the hardware. He was the Bills best player when he was out there and was a major reason why they got off to the start that they did.
Team ROY: Goes without saying...saw some flashes from Dareus. It is exciting to see how good he can be after he gets an entire offseason in an NFL training program.
Team LVP: Leodis McKelvin, Chris Kelsay because he is so average yet has been here for so long, Spencer Johnson playing LB, Troupe for failing to stay healthy still, Carrington for sucking, god there are just so many bad players.
Team most improved: Cliff Spiller has obviously been developing and was able to show it the last 6 weeks.
Team COY (coach of the year): Dare I say Curtis Modkins? Hear me out...he is the "offensive coordinator/running backs coach." I don't really think he does much of anything as far as being an offensive coordinator goes. Gailey does that. I can't complain at all with the performance of our running backs...they were fantastic all year, so with that, Curtis Modkins, congratulations.
2011 was a disappointment. 2012 can't be worse. Isn't that what we said last year? Ugh, this franchise is the worst.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
If MSG doesn't exist on Time Warner Cable does anyone notice? The Buffalo Bills season is officially over so that means the Sabres season officially starts. If they played any games before this you could have fooled me because I didn't notice.
They beat the upstart Edmonton Oilers 4-3 at least I think because I was watching it on a choppy probably illegal internet feed. I even had to watch the Edmonton broadcast for the second period for some reason. (They were bent about their goal that got waived off because of "goalie interference" which their one guy called the worst call he's seen.)
Taking a gander at the nhl.com standings the Sabres have played 38 games?? Maybe their season is actually over too. God damn. If this team is 4 games under .500 how does Lindy Ruff still have a job? How has no one been traded? Darcy Regier is still the general manager? Did Terry Pegula die?
How is every year the worst in Buffalo sports history?
Quick notes from the game:
- Lil Nathan Gerbe had a nice (turns out to be game winning) goal on a partial breakaway
- Millsie Miller was meh and gave up his typical three goals.
- Paul Gaustad sucks.
- Some how Drew Stafford even scored even if it was a cheapy in front of the net with a crowd around the puck. Although he had a nice feed to suddenly hot Jordan Leopold for a goal on the power play.
- Taylor Hall is a beast
Monday, January 2, 2012
Whoa crazy-ish Monday in Buffalo Bills land. The Bills do what they always do, take the predictable and cheap way out. They canned loser POS George Edwards and just promoted bum Dave Stachstedt as the new defensive coordinator. Real game changer that move is.
Wo0t! We go back to the 4-3 and wasted the last two years signing and drafting players for a defense we never could have pulled off. But Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus get to be on the field together! Jeez brutal.
Also what was with Buddy Nix deferring addressing the media for another week? Maybe he is stepping down and Bill Polian is coming back. Oh yeah and maybe I'll bag a dime tonight. Not happening people.
Resign Stevie Johnson, over pay the best defensive free agents in any pathetic attempt necessary to sign them and hope the Dolphins do dumb things like sign Matt Flynn and Mike Mularkey. We've already won with the Jets implosion and retaining of their loser o-coordinator lil Schottenheimer (that is if dumb ass Jacksonville doesn't sign him first)
Other loose ends:
- 97 rock bowed out of the latest radio rights contract meaning they won't be on 96.9 or 103.3. WGR550 gonna get in the mix? A new station in the mix? Should be interesting.
- The Bills draft 10th and finished 4th in the division meaning they play Cleveland and Kansas City. Also the Dolphins still get to draft ahead of us because of opponents record and not division standings or head to head.
- 2012 schedule: Home opponents
Kansas City, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Seattle, St. Louis, Miami, New England, NY Jets
Cleveland, Houston, Indianapolis, Arizona, San Francisco, Miami, New England, NY Jets