- It scares me that we have a 60 game sample of the Sabres and Jason Botterill throws things around in frustration and voices frustration about the only recent loss against the Sens. He then speaks sounding like the recent winning is 100 percent what caused his need to bring in a forward at the trade deadline. That has been the need for 60 games. That has been the need since giving Ryan O’Reilly to the Blues to step up and be the Stanley Cup MVP. When the GM talks in small groupings of games and the recent results dictating his moves, that is unique. The GM who has been in the position for multiple years and has hired two head coaches should be about a long term plan. Steal shamelessly from the Bills and have a “PROCESS”. Something to trust in. A plan. The first-year Sabres coach can be all about breaking the season up and judging them by groups of games to keep the players focused. 82 games is a long long season. For example, this current west coast trip is a perfect grouping for a coach to focus on with his players by setting goals. 82 games by players or even coaches can be overwhelming. That said, a GM on his second head coach is not guaranteed the opportunity to hire a third. His job security is not like immortality. He should know and be actively improving his roster for his coach. Especially after two Housley horror seasons. One in which they were not doing the McDavid/Eichel tank, but somehow managed to win the lottery and bring home Dahlen. The second Housley debacle was the great start followed up by the historical collapse. He made two moves at this week’s deadline. I would not say they were moves of a GM who feels the pressure or feared losing his job. I am not sure if the Sabres are actually a better team after the two deadline day trades. They acquired potential rental player Wayne Simmonds from New Jersey for a draft choice. He is a physical player who has leadership and playoff experience. Not a bad pickup. He will be a tool in Ralf Krueger’s tool belt. He authorized the removal of his no-trade clause and would like an extension with the Blue and Gold. Go earn it. He can help them in front of the net. Maybe they resign him. They got him for nothing. A draft pick that may never see the NHL or even AHL. He has scored 30 plus goals in this league. He can play on the power play and goes to the front of the net. He can play a checking role. Jersey pays half the salary. I certainly don’t think this is a huge gain and does not make them a playoff favorite. But he is better than not having him. Maybe he rekindled some of his youthful offense.
The Sabres pulled off a trade with the Penguin dumping Evan Rodrigues and Conor Sheary to Pittsburgh for Dom Kahun. Does it improve the team right now? Questionable. But he is not a rental player and is young with upside. Not a bad trade by any means. Rodrigues belongs in the NHL and didn’t want to be here. He did nothing here. Sheary underachieved here and would have walked away as a UFA and did not deserve a new contract. So as much as I desired a huge move and do not know how much better we are currently. But I’m not all doom and gloom like the WGR550 afternoon talk show. They gave up nothing and got two forwards who belong in the league and have specialties. I just was expecting a big move for number two center. The rental move and move for the future to me are trades a GM who is fighting for the division title or needs help on a playoff run orchestrates. They are not moves of a team out of the playoffs for the longest stretch in the league. They have closed the gap to six points. They need to keep up this recent pace for the remainder of the season and hope other teams collapse. They need to win three out of four on the west coast trip. Keep winning 3 out of every 4. Maybe three out of five but the losses need to be some OT or shootout to gain some single points. The schedule is tougher on paper. Its really tougher because teams are desperate and playing at a playoff intensity often in March and certainly early April.
Let’s pull this off Sabres. Captain Jack has done a lot for this team. Pay him back with playing at a top-level every minute out there to support him and his miracle season.
Goalies get hot. Steal periods. Be the best penalty killers. Boost confidence.
Coaching….do something and don’t sit still with what isn’t working. Did ya ever think the stud second overall pick Sammy could go back to his lifelong position of center with Skinner on the wing? They tried it when he was a raw inexperienced kid. He has grown. Try it and you may have two lines and a fourth line. That’s better than the middie six being non-contributors. The roaring twenty’s line is simply designed for playoff hockey. The two new players may give the Sabres a spark. Six points are not easy with so many teams above you. Lots of winning needed. Not a lot of room for error. Well, we gave hockey that matters in March for the first time since we needed to lose tanking to get Eichel.
I am so ready for a seven-game war. Or multiple seven-game battles. We need this. Captain Jack needs this. Botts surely need this. Pegula’s needs this. Downtown needs this.
I need this. Time will surely tell. What that maybe is really a quandary to me. Riddle me this.