The Sabres three game winning streak failed to increase to a much needed four game grouping of victories. They once again could not handle the lowly Senators from the Capital of Canada. That puts them in a very challenging eight point deficit from a playoff berth. They have time to re-group and fine tune for the next matchup come Saturday. They also have time to get rusty. That said, since their performance remembered is the most recent, I would think they need the practice with some rest.
The trade deadline will be here Monday at 3 P.M. What possible rabbit can Jason Botterill snatch out of the hat? Silly.. Silly.. Silly! Maybe the magic hat was tossed away like Hinkle did in Frosty the Snowman. Ryan O’Reilly? Once Hinkle realized his old hat brought Frosty to life he wanted his hat back.
I am sure the Sabres would love O’Reilly back. Or at least the opportunity to negotiate that trade again. If the Sabres had Eichel performing at this MVP level as the top center and had O’Reilly as the second center with Skinner contributing, they are right there in the playoff conversations. Maybe they would have kept winning more frequently then they did once the Cinderella start to the season yielded.
O’Reilly put up numbers for the Sabres. He was playing with tenacity on the team that did very little winning. So he spoke up venting his frustration from so much losing and was traded away as if his attitude was the reason for the team losing. He got results on the ice both on the score sheets with stats as well as the intangibles. He was so effective that those intangibles were those that could be eyeballed or confirmed with analytics.
O’Reilly seemed to find his missing passion and love for the game for the Blues almost immediately. He battled through some early losing before Christmas. He proceeded to win the playoff MVP and was a huge part of the Blues winning their first Stanley Cup. This was not years later. This was the very next season after being run out of Buffalo. He was brought to Buffalo to win the Stanley Cup in the Queen City.
For a player of that caliber the Sabres should be in a place where both teams have something praiseworthy. When the Phil Housley for Dale Hawerchuk trade transpired, both teams had a shiny new toy.
When Pierre Turgeon and Pat Lafontaine swapped zip codes,once again it was an exciting time for two franchises.
Yes in the long run most trades result in a winning team and losing team as far as gauging a trade. If this was a trade made in the tanking rebuild years, maybe some really top prospects in return be could be justified. Prospects that have yet to even play an NHL game. Or even prospects that were just scratching the surface of their upside already contributing at the NHL level at a small level. Maybe like Peca landing the Sabres the once untouchable prospects of former first round draft picks Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt.
The Sabres should not be rebuilding with Eichel now an established NHL star. He is having a Taylor-Hall-in-Jersey breakout year. He was already improving in all areas of his game.
Prospects and draft picks are nice throw-ins, but established NHL players should be expected when giving up an elite asset like Ryan O’Reilly. I mean this is a player that Sabres talk radio suggested strongly the Sabres trade for a year or two prior to it becoming a reality. O’Reilly was on the Sabres fans and medias wish list which rarely becomes reality. Evander Kane was on that wish list as well. Where are they now to compliment a maturing peaking Eichel?
Reports are out there that the Sabres are shopping for a top six forward and are willing to part with one of their defensemen as part of a deal. Hello! Hello? They have been pushing the empty shopping cart around for this need for a year and a half. Or since O’Reilly left town. Two seasons have almost gone by without the shopping list being tackled. But now its reported to be an official need by the Sabres. Really? The team has sat back doing almost nothing wasting Eichels MVP season. They have watched Skinner remain ineffective. I understand they want to spread the limited talent around over a couple of lines. Yes Skinner performed fine when he had to be separated from Eichel at times last season. But to sit and watch him rot away would be a big notification that they need to play him with Eichel either temporarily to get him going, or as a regular linemate which would make Eichel that much better. I mean they pulled Sam Reinhart from his original center position and returned him to his glory days playing on the wing with Captain Jack. I find it challenging to watch Botterill and even Ralph Krueger continue to do the same things that have failed in so many more games than succeeded.
Earlier this season Buffalo traded Defenseman Marco Scandella to the Montreal Canadiens for a fourth-round draft pick. Montreal was able to trade him to the Stanley Cup Champs for a second and a fourth-round draft pick. Do you see an inexperienced GM getting schooled for Buffalo?
I admire non-panicking profesional patience. I do not admire a GM who acts like he is going to be given three or more generations of players to simply qualify for the playoffs. Darcy Regier was given gifts of time. He had multiple ownership changes that gave him new life. That said, in his defence, Darcy also had the Hasek teams in the playoffs and on nice runs in some of those seasons. The post Hasek bankrupt seasons were not fun, but he came out of the lock-out season looking like a genius with his high flying skating team that took advantage of the temporary disappearance of the clutching and grabbing that owned the league since the mid 1990’s. Ryan Miller solidified the musical chairs in net that was going on after Hasek basically traded himself to Hockey Town.
Botterill…do something. Other teams have and are. If it is a cap issue..be creative with trade partners as far as who pays whos salaries. Bury salaries in the minors. Buyout contracts. Renegotiate contracts staging them where it helps the cap and the player. Good teams figure it out and many of them continue winning for many years with a bump in the road here or there. Botterill..you do not need to follow the path the Bills took to become relevant again. If you do, you may join Tom Donahoe, Marv Levy, Buddy Nix, Russ Brandon and Doug Whaley.Oh.and Tim Murray. You are currently part of the team with the longest NHL playoff drought and growing. Remember the commercial that claimed patience is a virtue also ended with Trix are for kids. Botterill, you were not afraid to pull the trigger on the horrible O’Reilly trade. You lost that trade in a huge way. So go overpay to fix that mistake. If you must dip in to the future, so be it. Jack will not stay here losing for his entire career.