Monday, February 28, 2011

Buffalo Sabres 2011 trade deadline grade

by Steve

The 2011 NHL Trade Deadline has passed and as per usual the Buffalo Sabres did little to nothing. The Sabres have 21 games left and currently sit in 9th place two back of 8th with two games in hand. Trading their 2011 2nd round pick for an over paid has been (28 year old Brad Boyes) isn't exactly propelling them to the playoffs.

Yes, I understand the deadline isn't for overhauling the entire roster or making a gigantic roster changeover. But it is for making moves than can benefit the team in the near term and further into the future. Then again having Darcy Regier driving the bug[sic] again doesn't help.

Regier is a proven mediocrity that falls in love with his players and either never sells or sells way too late. He has a recent track record of utter failure at the dead line dating back to the "glory" years of 05-07. Remember Steve Bernier? How about not trading for another defeseman in 05/06 when we could have desperately used one against Carolina?

You want specifics? How about cutting some of the dead way[sic] that will be gone in the offseason any way (Montador, Connolly). Yeah yeah addition by subtraction is bullshit, but is it? Tim Connolly is an albatross. Removing him from this roster is an upgrade. He is over paid, does noting well (save for maybe killing 5 on 3's) and could have freed a spot for someone else, mainly Luke Adam. How about trade someone that may have an ounce of value left like Butler or Sekera?

Back to Luke Adam, the young talent that played 18 games this year amassing 4 measly points. More ice time and better talent around him could easily improve those numbers. Yes he is a rookie but weren't Gerbe and Ennis last year? Weren't those two some of our best players late in the year and especially the playoffs? How about freaking Mark Mancari? I don't care how slow he is, he has size 6'3 225 and is still only 25 years old.

Perhaps the asking price for someone like John Michael Liles was too high or maybe the fan boy owner couldn't bare to part ways with any of his beloved employees. Either way Darc and go did not do enough to improve and or change a team scuffling just to make it to the 16 team tournament.

The big test will be July 1, generally a day Sabres fans loathe. For now I don't see anything changing.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Buffalo Sabres trade for Brad Boyes

Pert TSN:

The Buffalo Sabres, who sit two points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand, have added some scoring punch.

The club acquired forward Brad Boyes from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a second round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

In 61 games this season, the 28-year-old has 12 goals and 29 assists in 62 games played.

Boyes is signed through the 2011-12 season and has a $4 million cap hit.

He had 43 goals in 07/08 but only 14 goals last season. A second round pick is basically nothing so it appears it was a salary dump for the Blues. $4 mil next year isn't a back breaker but I wonder if this deal would have happened under cheap skate Goli.

He seems like a Pominville esque streaky/shakey player. Furthermore this trade almost guarantees a player is shipped out of here tomorrow. FWIW Boyes is our second leading scorer and has 15 points in his last 15 games.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buffalo Sabres heading into the trade deadline

by CT
(also don't miss column 'the coronation of Terry Pegula' here)

Only five days away from the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline, the Sabres sit five points out of the final playoff spot. It seems like every time they have a chance to gain some serious ground and move into the top 8, they can't do it. It's like teams are trying to let them in and the Sabres just don't want to. This team has a serious dilemma on their hands. Do they buy and TRY to make a run when it is clear they probably won't get past the first round anyway? Or do they concede to the fact that they aren't a cup contender this year and sell off their dead weight? The answer is the latter. Drop the dead weight and as much as it sucks to be watching in April, it will be worth it for next year.

Sell/Drop: Tim Connolly, Jochen Hecht, Andrej Sekera, Jason Pominville, Rob Niedermayer, Patrick Kaleta, Paul Gaustad, Craig Rivet

Sorry, but all of these guys are either overpaid, just plain suck, or don't do a whole lot. Sorry but Kaleta doesn't do anything but charge guys with the occasional big hit. Yes, you need "energy" but he still goes out of the way to try and take someone's head off instead of focusing on an actual forecheck. I don't know if he would crack the top 12 on most squads. The town loves "Goose" but to me he has worn out his welcome.

As much as people will disagree with me and it will probably never happen, I would trade Ryan Miller or Tyler Ennis. You don't pay a goalie 6+ mil and expect to succeed. Look at the final 4 teams from last year- Philly, Montreal, San Jose, and Chicago. Philly paid both goalies like 3mil and then dropped their starter. Montreal traded Halak. San Jose said "Peace" to Nabokov, and Niemi was traded to San Jose. The trade value would be insane and you could possibly go to someone like Philly who has a plethora of talent. The value on Ennis will never be higher and shades of Afinogenov abound.

The plan moving forward has to change. Look at Philly, they went to the conference finals and they are adding to their squad, not blowing it up like Darc. He's got to go as he is the son of satan himself. It pisses me off that Pittsburgh seems to make whatever move they want, are in desperate need of forwards and we do nothing. We definitely could've used Gologoski or Neal but we again have nothing. In regards to Ruff, I respect him and I think he has done a great job but Lindy's gotta go. It's time for a change in every aspect of this organization. Blow it up and develop a winning atmosphere.

In order to be a contender, the Sabres need a legit #1 center, another top 6 forward, and 2 more defensemen- one offensive and one defensive. Because I don't think we'll drop all of the guys I listed above, my starting 20 next year looks like this:

LINE 1: #1 Center, Vanek, Grier
Worked when we had Drury, Roy and Grier
LINE 2: Roy, Stafford, Added Forward
Perfect for a 2nd line. The scoring would be great and they'd have a great match up advantage.
LINE 3: McCormick/Gaustad, Gerbe, Ennis
Pominville could be in here for Gaustad or McCormick and Ennis could play center. In order for Ennis to reach his full potential at this point, he needs to be on a 3rd or 4th line. They would skate circles around people and McCormick/Gaustad would add size/forecheck. Elevatae McCormick over Pommer though because he brings a better all around game.
LINE 4: Gaustad/McCormick, Pominville, Luke Adam
Bring Adam up and give him minutes on this line. It could be Gaustad, McCormick, Adam and we could have a true 4th line which helps out a lot come playoff time. The size is needed down to shut down other teams 2nd or 3rd line, beat em up, and give the top 3 lines a rest. Either way, Ennis is the only one that stays on line 3.

D1: Myers, Shutdown D Man
D2: Leopold, Offensive D Man
D3: Morrison, Weber
Extra D men- Butler, Montador- Montador could be traded for a prospect. Too many D men is better than not enough. The only DMen I'm comfortable with are Leopold and Myers. After that mix it up, it hasn't worked to this point.

The moral of the story is we need to do something different. People defend our players to the death. I am an eternal optimist but it's time for a change. Try something outside of the box and bring a damn championship to this town.

The coronation of Terry Pegula

by Steve

‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Just change Jesus with Terry and Jerusalem with Buffalo and it was about what happened today around Buffalo and especially inside HSBC arena. Call me cynical or overly negative, what with all of the great times Buffalo sports fans have had the last 30+ years and the lack of empty promises. How am I suppose to be 100% positive and completely fall in line with new Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. The local media need to wipe the mayonnaise off their face.

What was his first order of business? Basically to give Lindy Ruff a life time contract and keep in place the same GM that has routinely bungled and destroyed everything in his path. It was all G Tom Golisano's fault for the last 4 years AND the three years before the lockout? Ugh, spare me. This is the same GM that didn't want Briere, grossly overpaid players like Pominville, Hecht, Vanek and Miller, right? And Pegs is entrusting him to "win the cup within 3 years" ?

Ok true, he is going to spend more in scouting and doesn't care about losing some money. That is nice and all but hasn't this team spent to within 5% or so of the cap since the lockout? Haven't we been told that Regier is one of the best drafting GM's already? It is still the same approach and same coaching staff requesting specific types of players. Call me skeptical on the quantifiable results of a huge increase in spending on scouts. Lets start by buying out some of the shitty players and trading away some of the fan favorites for players that actually have a chance of winning in the playoffs.

I don't have much on new adviser Ken Sawyer or team president Ted Black other than they had a team with four top two picks (Malkin, Crosby, MAF and Stall) and won the cup. I hope the plan isn't to lose out for the next four seasons to get talent of that level.

A few other overly negative viewpoints on the press conference today
  • Why would the victory parade go down Main St?
  • Crying after seeing Gilbert Perreault, little creepy
  • The i'll just drill another gas well was actually kind of funny but not exactly great for the environment.
  • He said he was friends with Larry Quinn, yuck
  • Is an owner really suppose to instantly make Buffalo a great place for free agents to move to?
  • And wasn't it a big knock on Goli that he was an absentee owner that rarely attended games? Well isn't this guy the exact same thing, Florida resident, busy business man with a young family? Will he even be at 1/5th of the games?
Call me a pessimist but i'm just not buying all the slobbering over a fan with $3 billion in the bank.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Buffalo Bills front runners for Safety Bob Sanders

The Bills aren't above taking a shot on an injury risk/reward player for their defense, and they may be willing to add Bob Sanders. There is some interest on the part of the Bills. Buffalo has a player in safety Jarius Byrd who will go after the football, but they need another impact player at the position. Donte Whitner was never the playmaker Buffalo envisioned when they made him a first round pick, and with his contract up, the Bills could look at Sanders to possibly slide into the secondary in 2011. The question for defensive coordinator George Edwards would be where to play him: at free or strong.

Read more:

Sanders met with the Jaguars on Monday, but they're letting him leave without a contract. The 30-year-old's visit to Buffalo likely indicates that the club does not plan to bring back free agent SS Donte Whitner. Sanders would play strong safety for the Bills, book ending third-year FS Jairus Byrd.

An interesting post by Tim Graham about all of the speculation

Hey maybe Merriman and Sanders can set up some offseason workouts together too!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2011 Buffalo bills offseason current roster

by Steve

(here is part 1 pending free agents)

The Buffalo Bills roster is in shambles. Our very own 92 year old owner basically said the same today: " I know it’s not going to be an instant turnaround. I think it will take two or three years to have a playoff team — and that’s if we get a quarterback.” Uhhhhggggg ahh. Well at least he is a realist and apparently sees what I see.

Look no further than the front seven. It quite possibly is the worst in the league and perhaps one of the worst in the history of the Buffalo Bills. They have no choice but to target multiple linebackers, defensive ends AND defensive tackles in the draft and free agency (if/when that ever starts).

They cut Marcus Stroud because he isn't worth $5.5 mil. I agree, but there is no one behind him on the depth chart that is an upgrade. Spencer Johnson still has two years and about $8 mill left on his contract. Cutting him would be counter productive but he has not lived up to his contract. 2010 3rd round pick Alex Carrington needs more playing time and he needs to produce. Stouds departure has to be somewhat of a good sign and a testament to the team's belief in big AC. They also need to replace John McCargo's roster spot not McC himself since he never really existed, right?

Wait, is this team a 3-4 or a 4-3? I am getting mixed signals to say the least. First they sign Stachstedt, a prototypical 4-3 and we have Gailey saying things like "“I want to the best defensive player on the board,” he said. “I don’t want to just be in the category of 3-4 linebacker or 4-3 linebackers I want to be the best defensive player on the board.” And then you have Nix saying things like this "We're a 3-4. We're scouting for a 3-4. And if we wind up with people we need to play in a four-man front some, we will."

Ahh, my head hurts. All of this double talk and speaking out of both sides of the mouth means this team doesn't have enough talent for either defense. They are stuck with certain players (Kyle Williams, Chris Kelsay, Spencer, maybe Poz) that don't fit a 3-4 and a bunch of draft picks that aren't making a big enough difference to warrant a full time 3-4.

Enough with the god awful front seven, how about that amazing secondary? McGee is consistent at one thing, being hurt. Whitner is probably gone, Florence is 50/50 at best, Byrd took a big step back last year and McKelvin was not an impact player in 2010. This team could use a healthy circa 2007 Terrence McGee, an upgrade over Whitner, which may or may not be tough to do, and for McKelvin to show he was worth the #11 pick. A sustained pass rush would help this unit tremendously. Don't hold your breath.

Oh yeah, the offense! Pretty easy, find a quarterback you love at #3 (doesn't exist) or hope someone (Mallet) falls to #34. Play Fitz for a year, believe Stevie Johnson didn't have a one year wonder esque season, that Evans will bounce back and the other young wide receivers +Easley (who) continue to build on 2010. Attain a tightend at nearly any cost, target a right (or left) tackle and look to upgrade the guard position with Eric Wood apparently moving to center permanently.

Oh and Cam Newton lovers, suck on this.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 Buffalo Bills uniforms leaked

An anonymous source emailed this to the blog, take it FWIW the white helmet seems logical per the statement issued by the Bills. No middle stripe though?

“The new uniforms will incorporate the team’s storied history while keeping the team’s signature charging buffalo logo,” the team said in a statement Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011 Buffalo Bills offseason pending free agents

by Steve

I took solace in watching a decent Superbowl where neither quarterback really impressed me and neither defense excelled. The Buffalo Bills are far away from making the playoffs let alone winning the Superbowl, However they aren't worlds away like we all sort of think. A great defensive player attained in the draft, some of the previous season's busts become unbusts, a QB who starts to gain confidence, the coaching staff doesn't cost the team wins and who knows they could win 9 or 10 games.

Breaking down this offseason, dissecting the pending FA's, seeking out FA's, the draft, etc etc is a multi-phased job, thank god you all have me. Let's start inside looking at what players are going to be restricted and unrestricted free agents.

Buffalo Bills 2011 free agents (age in parenthesis):
Safety George Wilson (29)
Safety Donte Whitner (25)
Safety Jon Corto (25)
Cornerback Ashton Youboty (25)
Cornerback Drayton Florence (29)
Linebacker Paul Posluszny (25)
Linebacker Keith Ellison (26)
Linebacker John McCargo (27)
Linebacker Akin Ayodele (31)
Quarterback Brian Brohm (24) RFA
Running back Quinton Ganther (26)
Offensive guard Kraig Urbik (25) RFA
Offensive guard Mansfield Wrotto (26) RFA

If the average fan of any of the other 31 National Football League teams came across that list how many players would they even know, let alone think about signing? Two, three at most?

Donte Whitner wants to get paid and rightfully so. He is a so so player entering free agency in the prime of his football life in a weak safety FA pool. This will be his last big contract because he just isn't good enough to garner a third big one. The Bills seemingly low balled #20 some time in November or December and that pissed him off. Oh well. Who knows maybe he won't find the riches he thinks he deserves on the open market and comes crawling back, not likely but still a slight possibility. I'd give him at most $4.5 -$5 mill per and that is generous.

"The senator" George Wilson should be brought back. Again he may be seeking more than he deserves but he should be cheapish and was a decent guy/player in a Bills uniform. Over pay a little if you have to but not more than 3-4 years $5 - $9 mil. Let's not forget he was a loser undersized wide receiver a couple seasons ago.

Drayton Florence was adequate at his position last year. He is no #1 but he makes plays and gives up plays. Does he deserve a raise over the 2 years $6.6 mil he got in 2008? Maybe a slight bump and/or add a year for inflation. Unless (oh god no) they are entertaining the disgusting idea of drafting Patrick Peterson out of LSU at #3.

Paul Posluszny is a decent player coming off a rookie contract he actually played up to. 4 years $4.75+ mill is pretty good considering some of the stiffs the Bills have drafted the last 10 years. He is obviously not a game changing beast that many thought he could be. You don't build around a player like Pos unless you want to be a loser. However, he can be a key cog in a defense. I think, based on zero real information, Posluszny wants to stay here. However does he deserve Gary Brackett money 5 years $33 mil? Chisel $6-$10 mil off that and I'll talk turkey.

Ashton Youboty I can live with or without, he should be cheap either way.
Corto meh
Ellison peace
Ayodele nice knowing you I guess
McCargo adios, any chance we get some of that cash back?
Brohm sorry bro its a no go, good luck in the UFL
Ganther good bye
Wrotto/Mansfield bring back

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl 45 stone cold locks


Green Bay 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 22
Gotta love the back door coverrrrrrrrrrrrr. Aaron Rodgers still sucks

T Wreck
Pack 24 Steelers 21

Steelers 31 Packers 27

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Peace out G. Tom Golisano

by Steve

G Thomas Golisano and co had their presser today basically relinquishing their owner of the Buffalo Sabres. And let me tell you, it couldn't have come soon enough. The guy loves complacency and the all mighty dollar. Avoiding the arena at all costs, resigning and resigning and resigning losers like Regier and Ruff and pinching pennies just aren't a path to the STANLEY CUP. Isn't that the goal?

The guy seems to have no clue. Quickly as an aside, thanks for saving the team (although they wouldn't have left, or some how if they did we would have gotten another team, the arena was what 4 years old?) In 8 years as the owner, assuming we don't make the playoffs this season, the Sabres would have made the playoffs 3 out of 8 seasons. 37% in a league where 53% of the teams make it each season. And Goli couldn't wait to keep the same losers in their jobs year after year?

The guy treated the team like a business, like a ledger sheet. If the numbers didn't turn out green at the end of the day then it was a failure. Yes, he did spend just about to the cap, but that is not the only bench mark for cheapness. How about refusing to buy out terrible contracts? How about hating long term commitments? What other owner in any league complains because they have to give a player a multi year contract? That sounds so amateurish or naive or something, it isn't how a sports owner is supposed to sound.

The guy was thin skinned too. Isn't he a billionaire? Who the hell gives a shit about what anyone says when you're clearly smarter and better than them? The guy is worth billions, he owns one of the most storied and important institutions in this small town. He is the man, and he is complaining about the media and some editorial from 8 years ago? Golly Goli give it up bro. You left town when things got tough and were nary heard from again. What happen with Drury and Briere? Who botched that? Why did no heads roll because of that colossal misstep that put the team in utter disarray arguably until this day?

I have almost no hope for Pegula. True he can't be any more absentee an owner than the previous one and seems to be a "true fan" what ever that means but it is Buffalo what ever goes right? Plus he is already talking with Darcy Regier and Darc is planning on being here next year? Jeez, great start bro. Give Loser Lindy a life time contract while you're at it and offer Ryan Miller an extension.

Goli thanks but no thanks oh and save all those millions you made off this sale and evading NY State taxes the last few years, we'll probably need you later this decade for our other pathetic franchise potentially on the brink of "relocation"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2010 Buffalo Bills season inreview part 2


In case you missed it here is Part 1

The defensive unit gets an F, simple as that. This is without a doubt the worst defense I have ever seen from this franchise since I can remember watching Bills games. They were horrible against the run. They were horrible against the pass. They were horrible in taking away the football. They were just horrible. Let's break it down, position by position.

Secondary - D

What happened to this vaunted Bills secondary from 2009? This unit was an atrocity. Jairus "Ball Hawk?" Byrd had 1 interception in 2010 and it came in garbage time of week 17. He had 9 a year ago. The starting cornerbacks had 5 interceptions...3 for Florence and 2 for McKelvin. The injury prone McGee was MIA all year. It will be interesting to see if we bring him back. Donte Whitner was abysmal as usual. The Bills got shredded by tight ends week in and week out. On the year, the Bills allowed 10 passing touchdowns to tight ends. QBs on the season threw 28 touchdown passes against the Bills and only had 11 interceptions. Through 8 games, it was 17 TDs and 1 interception showing at least some improve in the 2nd half. Is this the entire fault of the secondary? Absolutely not, but it was very apparent in 2010 that the Bills success in taking the football away in 2009 was based on the system, not the talent on board in the secondary.

Defensive Line - D

How can you give a defensive line that contributed to allowing 170 yards per game on the ground a grade higher than average? Kyle Williams was the Bills lone pro bowl representative. Everyone would talk all season about how good Kyle Williams was. I haven't decided yet if he is actual good or just looks good compared to the players he is playing with. The defensive ends, Dwan Edwards, Marcus Stroud and Spencer Johnson combined for 6 sacks. Stroud is done as a Bill as far as I am concerned. I am not giving up on Dwan, but if he was actually good, the Ravens would have kept him since they obviously know a thing or two about defense. Spencer Johnson is a backup and nothing more. The Bills need to make it a priority to get a solid starting defensive lineman in the draft and preferably with the 3rd overall pick. No one on this line will ever draw a double team.

That is part of the reason why our linebackers are so non existent, opponents have offensive lineman getting to the 2nd level to block our linebackers (not to mention the lack of talent the linebackers have...but we will get to that next).

Linebackers - F

Have you ever in your life seen a worse group of linebackers? Let's face reality here...Poz is a mediocrity. How often does this guy make impact plays? Name 3 "big" plays this guy made during 2010. To hear comments about us wanting to build our defense around him makes me sick. Despite how average he was, he was our best linebacker this season...which says a lot.

For some reason we actually gave Chris Kelsay a contract extension. Everyone knows my feelings about Chris Kelsay. He is a horrible football player, the guy is just bad. He is a "pass rushing" outside linebacker? He had 3.5 sacks bringing his total career sack total to 26 in 8 seasons or 3.25 sacks per year. $5 million per? Makes me sick.

The Bills started the season with castoffs like Torbor and Andra Davis starting at the position. Due to injury, they were then forced to use Akin Ayodele as a starting inside linebacker. The guy was unemployed in September. Arthur Moats showed some promise...or did he just get a lucky hit on Brett Favre? Antonio Coleman even filled in. Moats was drafted in round 6, Coleman wasn't drafted at all. These guys are far from the future of the position for this team. Do the Bills have a single starting caliber linebacker on their roster? Probably not, but I would still like Poz to get resigned...he is at least serviceable. Besides him, please give me 3 new starters. The Bills did ink Shawne Merriman. Call me pessimistic, but I still don't see this guy playing a down for the Bills let alone playing a down in his 2006 form. The Bills need to address this need in the first round if they don't go DT or in the 2nd round at the latest. I would go DT and LB the first 3 rounds in the upcoming draft.

As a whole, I give the defense a solid F. They allowed 170 yards per game on the ground, worst in the entire league by far. The Bills ranked 5th worst in points per game allowed at 26.6. They took the ball away only 22 times...tied for 6th worst in the league. Their turnover differential was -17, also worst in the league. The Bills had 11 interceptions, better than only 3 times in the NFL. No matter how you look at this defense, they were atrocious. Somehow George Edwards is still employed...don't ask me how but he is. The defense improved the 2nd half of the season, but when you have the worst defense in league history through 8 games, it can't get worse. The 'stache Dave Wannstedt joins the Bills' 2011 staff. I wouldn't be surprised if he supplants George Edwards sooner than later.