An attempt to be humorous and logical about the Buffalo Sports Scene.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Round 2 predictions and preview

On to round 2 after a great round 1, and the matchups on paper look good. Let's hope they turn out that way. Round 2 sweeps are boring and unneeded. Lets get on to the matchups.

Boston vs Carolina

This should be a nice one. The Cane's are coming off a tough series, where the bounces went there way, due to them trying. When you try, you get bounces. But the Bruins are rested and ready for the Canes. The Canes are stilled filled with guys from the Cup team. And the Bruins are a good mix of young guys and vets, but many of them aren't what you call playoff performers. In Round 1, they got the worst team of the playoffs, and dismantled them easily. This will be a test. However, I don't see the Canes moving on.

Boston in 6.

Pittsburgh vs Washington

Now the NHL must have loved this. Crosby and Malkin vs Ovechkin. Its a dream. But the key matchup isn't those guys, its Fleury vs Varlamov. Fleury has been there, he knows what it takes, the kid is just out there playing. The Penguins are not the Rangers, they can put the puck in the net. The question is, which goaltender can stand stronger the longest? I think the ride is over for the Caps. They are inconsistent, and that kills in the playoffs. Plus I feel Pittsburgh has a better blueline.

Penguins in 6.

Detroit vs Anaheim

NICE! You have the skilled puck possession Wings, versus the physical grind you in the ground Ducks. Two different philosphies square off in this one. Plus the last two cup winners. The Ducks got away with one scoring line in round 1, but that won't fly against the Wings. Who are balanced and just stock full of talent. Hossa, Datysuk, Zetterberg, etc. The thing I will watch is the defense. Find me two teams with a better corp of defensement left, then the Wings and Ducks. Both sides can score, both sides lock you down, the Ducks might have the more physical unit. But whatever. Should be a fun series.

Detroit in 6

Chicago vs Vancouver

This is tough series. You might say, oh Chicago is too young. Or Vancouver just isn't good enough. But when caught in a quandry, of who to go with. I always have a default question. Who has the better goaltender? Vancouver. Roberto Luongo is so underrated and forgot about. That people don't realize when surrounded by actual NHL players, he makes a huge difference. Yes I know Khabibulin won a cup, but that was a while ago. I just think Luongo is the best in the NHL right now. And with offense and defense pretty much a wash in this matchup, I revert to my default question.

Vancouver in 7.

Round 2 should live up to the hype. And we'll left with great Semi Matchups. Boston and Pittburgh would be great. Vancouver and Detroit would also be great hockey to watch.

Could we have a rematch of last year?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Round 1 is over

Well Round 1 ended in an exciting way with the Caps scoring the winning goal with 5 minutes left and the Hurricanes scoring two goals in 100 seconds to win their series. I like most people only watched the Caps Rangers, because the other game was in television prison, because the NHL is stupid. How can a great sport be run by idiots most of the time.

Round 1 was pretty good, minus the sweeps. But round 2 should be very good. The East matchups look real good. You have two high flying teams in Washington and Pittsburgh, versus more balanced teams in Carolina and Boston. I would not be shocked if both series went 7 games. But the Caps are lucky, since they get a few days to rest after that hard game last night. The Rangers were trying everything they could to prevent them from doing what they wanted. Unfortunately for them, they ran outta gas in the 3rd. So they took 2 games off and could only come strong for 2 periods. That is a seriously flawed team. Minus the goaltender. Lundqvist is the Rangers, he struggles its all over for that team.

But watching the series I was impressed by Fedorov, who I left for dead, after he left Detroit. Exiled in Columbus where hockey players go to disappear. He was up and down the ice and looks younger out there playing with Ovechkin. The Caps are a nice 4 line time. They have skill players mixed with grinders who have grown up in Hershey. Now they have the goaltender. Which as the missing piece. Do I think they can go all the way? Mmm, not yet. They are still a long run in the playoffs away. I just don't think their defense is that great.

The same thing strikes me with Carolina. They have skill players, leadership, a goalie who's been there, but I don't like the defense. They will be tough to eliminate, but as demonstrated by New Jersey, if you don't let in goals at the last second, you can beat them. The Bruins are tougher and Eric Staal is going be quite friendly with Chara. The Bruins are a tough team, that somehow let the Sabres have their number.

After a great 1st round, I'm looking for round 2.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Game 7's

Tonight is the last night of Round 1 of the NHL playoffs and it couldn't be better with 2 game 7's. You have the reeling Rangers versus the Caps, and the real even series of New Jersey and Carolina.

I've been watching the Ranger series a lot more. Which of course makes me miss the better one. But the Rangers have been dead men walking the past two games and now they play on the road? I don't know if these guys can just turn it on again. They were struggling at the end of game 4, and its carried over to games 5 and 6. But I guess without that comfort of knowing no matter what you'll play again, they might come out hard tonight. The Caps just look real strong at the moment, but one bad guy and its all over. You can judge a game by how the rest of the series has gone.

The other series I wouldn't tell you what will happen. The Canes looked real strong, well their one line looked real strong, but with home ice and matchups. The Devils should be able to contain Staal, Whitney and Larose a bit better. I think we may get the best thing ever Game 7 overtime. Nothing more thrilling then those. Either way, the team that emerges will be a tough out in the 2nd round. Boston is hoping the Rangers win, because if they do pull out tonight, they'll fall apart and probably get swept in round 2. The Penguins or Hurricanes wouldn't be a good draw at the moment.

Enjoy tonight, but it only gets better from here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sad Swedish Goalie Face

Someone give him a hug.

I'm sure if you watched any of the last two Ranger Capitals games, you've seen Lundqvist on the bench, at the start of the third, with his heartbreaking sad face. He looks like he is going to cry. He doesn't look mad, as I would be, if my team completely abandoned me. He is the Rangers, without Henrik, this team isn't close to a playoff team. Even with the Teflon Captain Chris Drury. He's doing a good job of keeping the team together.

But me and Fiancee were watching the games, shes really getting into the playoffs, which is awesome. Every time they showed him on the bench, she would go awwww, he looks like he is gonna cry. Then he has "pretty eyes". And the topper. He's pretty. I don't know, but if you're a man, do you want to be known as "Pretty"? But honestly the man has perfect features. And he is really good. You know when he gets an actual defense and not a bunch of pylons.

Good god, the Rangers have been terrible. I wouldn't be surprised if Drury wanted a trade after the year. Because they aren't gonna get better, unless they ditch some salary and sign a decent blueline.

I don't know if I can take 3 games in a row with Sad Swedish goalie face. I don't dislike Lundqvist, he's like Ryan Miller's good looking popular brother. Ryan Miller is all grunge and disenfranchised, while Lundqvist is the clean cut, good looking guy that mothers love. These two will be compared until they are both retired. Both are perfect for their respective cities.

I think that game 7 should be pretty good. But what do I know, I thought the Bills would take Everette Brown.

2009 draft recap

Was I supposed to wear a suit?

Well the draft is over and the Bills made 8 picks, losing a pick by trading up to get another 2nd rounder. The picks make you go okay, some O lineman, a pass rusher they needed some corners. And several guys who will be at other positions. Plus other guys that dropped like rocks. Which always tell you something. But the Bills Tight End also dropped, so that concerns me. But I like they address the interior of the line. Which is a big problem. The inside is more important then the tackles in my opinion, especially in the AFC East where big DT live.

Lets look at the picks.

1) Aaron Maybin De PSU

The speed rusher, compliment to Schobel the Bills needed. He's light and quick and I'm sure will be compared to Freeney. The Bills had all DE's at their table and selected Maybin. So we know he's the one they wanted. He started one year and dominated, so he's put on weight and hopefully get a few sacks to help out the Bills poor pass rush. Hopefully hasn't come close to reaching his peak.

1b) Eric Wood C/G Louisville

Well he was a center and no doubt will be moved to Guard, probably LG, which is wide open, after the chasm left by Dockery, or would that be Black Hole. Void, lets go with that one. Well he is definitely starting this year, and I'm sure will be a fan favorite. Called "the most ready player in the draft" They needed interior lineman with versatility. He's their guy.

2a) Jairus Byrd CB/S

The pick that made me go, uh? But after thinking about and getting it explained. It makes perfect sense. They need a ball hawk saftey. Ko Simpson is gone. They want to move Whitner to his natural position and Bryan Scott is nice, but if they can replace him that would be nice. If he can get a couple picks, he'll look like a good pick.

2b) Andy Levitre OL Oregon State.

They went to Oregon for both second round picks. He is a guard/tackle combo, and the Bills love guys who can play multiple positions on the line. With the shakeup that is coming having guys who can play positions will help. The starting 5 will be a battle this summer no doubt. Was a left tackle last year. I'm waiting to judge this pick, but they traded a couple picks for him.

I nickname him Levitra Because we need Trent to stay up, and keep up.

4) Shawn Nelson TE S. Miss

The pick that made a ton of sense, appartantly he dropped, so the Bills may have lucked out with him. At pass catching TE, which the Bills need. They don't need a blocker. Hopefully will come in and help the pass attack. With Owens, Nelson and Hardy they are getting taller and bigger at the reciever positions. The more weapons for Trent the better. He has to be super pumped about the first several picks. He knows its this year or not for him. He saw what happened to JP. Hopefully we can get get a guy who can grap 40 balls a year and 5 tds. I'm not looking for Gates, just someone who can help.

5. Nic Harris S/LB Oklahoma

The parade of defensive backs continue. But with Nic Harris who will compete against Keith Ellison in the undersized LB competition. He is drafted for his athleticsm and Special teams ability. He is a project, but thats fine with a 5th round pick. Played a lot at Oklahoma, so you now he's a talented guy

6. Cary Harris CB USC

A physical press corner, but ran slow. Which is death to any corner coming out in the draft. But if he can compete and be at least a nickel or dime corner. You don't have to be fast to be a adequate corner in the NFL. I don't know what to expect. But he'll have a chance.

7. Ellis Lankster DB West Virginia

Another good ball skill Db, which signals to me they are not happy with the current roster of the secondary. With the loss of Jabari Greer and Youbouty being unreliable, they have to find someone to fill those spots. Looks to be a saftey backup and probably on special teams. I give him a 30% chance of making the roster, 75% chance he winds up on the practice squad.

Well I was surprised by the number of secondary players selected. But most will be moved around. Today's NFL is all about guys who can play multiple positions. Due to injuries and and player movement. They addressed the offensive line first, and their need for a speed rusher. Then took a tight end they need. They aren't drafting sexy, they are drafting smart. Terrell Owens was the sexy move. Now they are putting in the necessary parts.

This Bills team, is in a mini rebuilding, because they don't have the players they needed to win, especially in the AFC East. But its gonna take a couple years. Last year I felt they underachieved, compared to being an overachieving 7-9 2 years ago. If things stay alright I think 10-6 isn't out of the question. Pre season predictions are way off, until I see what the OL will look like come september. They have a lot of guys who can play multiple positions and the competiton will be fierce. That I like.

This team will go as far as the offensive line. And the fact they know they have a problem, is a good thing. They aren't hiding that fact.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last Draft Preview

Today I will be exploring the possibilities for the 2nd and 3rd round picks for the Bills. Expecting they don't trade one of them or acquire another one. These are tougher to predict since things change and you never know what they really want. The Bills are always good for a suprise. And the biggest factor, who they like, compared to what a guy like me, might like.

@ 42

Max Unger C Oregon

The guy Ive seen go here in most Most Drafts. But he's also rocketing up the boards. So he maybe long gone before the Bills pick again in Round 2. From what I hear, he's a can't miss and is a solid pick.

Eric Wood C Louisville

Another hot prospect. Its always the Centers and Guards that get hot. Because their value is so understated until draft time. The Bills need interior line depth and versatility. So getting a good solid OL in the second round always seems like a great idea. And as you see, in the Mock goes 32.

Duke Robinson OG Oklahoma

Another giant inside, that's built for the run, but will protect the pocket and give room for Edwards to throw. Strong, but not agile. Thats fine for guard, especially the Bills who never seem to pull.

Clint Sintim LB Virgina

A pass rushing LB that the Bills desperately need, and can cover when needed. If the OL they like aren't there and haven't taken a LB yet. I think this guy could be the pick in the 2nd. But use to 3-4 defense, so it may take a while to adjust.

Zach Follett LB California

Another get after the ball LB. Don't know if he'll drop down to the 3rd round, but he could and would wait for him there. But if LB's go quick snap up a guy you are looking for. The Bills don't need a back line linebacker, thats why Poz is. The need the anti Poz. A guy thats in the backfield.

Chase Coffman TE Missouri

If Pettigrew isn't there in the 1st, heres the guy I want in round 2. A more split out Tight end, and yes they might need a blocker, but they have those already. Can catch, can run down the field and can take a hit. WITHOUT DROPPING THE BALL. GRRR ROBERT ROYAL.


The third round will be what need they haven't addressed. Its OL, DE or LB. Maybe tight end. But I doubt it will CB unless there is a stud corner, that hasn't gone. If there is some massive talent here, they may take him, other wise its NEED, NEED, NEED

Jamon Meredith OT South Carolina

Probably won't be there, but after the tackles go, there should be space. He looks small for what they have been doing, but it hasn't worked so, who knows.

Joel Bell OT Furman

A small school guy who they might have to let sit and watch. Probably not what they want, but could be a guy you can build to be a solid tackle. Thats more important in the long run.

Cody Brown OLB UConn

A guy that played DE, so a pass rushing LB. A project probably but a guy you can put in there and will rush the QB. The Bills really really need.

Mitch King DL Iowa

Basically Kyle Williams. So thats not too bad, can never get enough active DL that can rush and stop the run. You know the ones with the motor.

Well I'm sure theres a ton more and plenty of sites that are way better then mine. But I thought I'd highlight some players that might be in blue, red and white come monday morning. And then we can call them busts next year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Draft Preview

NFL Christmas weekend is almost here and I am quite excited. My strategy of limiting myself to Mel Kiper Jr. and looking at Mock Drafts have worked. I am not sick of it, or already bored of it. I'm looking forward to Saturday. I wish it was at noon still. Another reason to move to the west coast, things are at the times they should be. But anyway, after looking things over, examing what the Bills needs are, (Many, hahahaha) here are a few players for the top few picks the Bills could be looking at.


This is always a good spot. A spot where teams may want to move to, where guys can fall to and usually you have a pick of the guys you want. Hopefully that guy pans out.

Everette Brown DE FSU

Good size, good speed and good production over a couple years. The speed rusher the Bills need on other side. Whether he is there at 11 is another question. He seems like the right player the Bills need. More suitable for the 4-3, since he lacks cover skills for a Linebacker. A tweener pash rusher is always a issue, but they tend to work.

Aaron Maybin DE PSU

Another light, tall speed rusher. Some call him a one year wonder, but if you get the opportunity and excel, then its just how you play. 11 maybe a little low for Maybin, and the lack of production before the year may steer the Bills away from him.

Brian Orakpo DE Texas

Picking him would violate one my personal draft rules, Never Draft someone from University of Texas. Just don't trust them. But is the stereotypical DE. Good Size, Good speed and gets to the quarterback. Though gets to the QB through Hustle and not technique and speed. Seems like the guy a regular NFL Tackle would handle.

BJ Raji DT Boston College

With the recent rumors, he may drop to 11. But probably not. Big DT's are in vogue and will be snapped up. But if he is, the Bills may look for Stroud's replacement, or at least a partner. Not super quick, but will take up space and pressure the QB when given the opportunity. A potential great player inside. But I wouldn't hope for him to drop.

Robert Ayers LB Tennessee

The guy that is most recently stated by the Mock's to go to Buffalo at 11. Appartantly they like the hustle and drive. But another 1 year guy, and that was during his Senior year, prior to that, you didn't get much. A versatile guy, so thats a good thing. But if you are looking for a DE here, look elsewhere. Maybe a big linebacker instead, which the Bills could also need. As long as he doesn't have to cover.

Michael Oher OT Ole Miss

A man that a lot of people know already from the book The Blind Side, which is a great read. The Bills with the recent Peters trade are in the market for a LT, so Oher would make sense. But there are a lot of negatives for him. And 11, might be high and the Bills don't want another LT bust on their hands.

GCFB's Pick Everette Brown. The player I feel the Bills need. But what do I know?


Now 28 is a tough spot, its where you get falling players, reaches and guys that are borderline 1st round players and maybe you can get them farther into the 2nd. But it could work out for the Bills at 28, since they have many needs.

Brandon Pettigrew TE Ok State

A guy the Bills could take at 11, but could with possible off the field incidents, could slide all the way done. A "complete" Tight End, didn't have a touchdown last year. Which concerns me, since TE's should always have touchdowns. I'm not a big TE is important guy. I think a couple reliable pass catchers who can block is all you need. The Gates and Gonzalez's are rare. But if he is here at 28 I think the Bills will take him.

Alex Mack C Cal

The Center of the draft. A solid can't miss player. Smart, physical and strong. If Pettigrew is gone, center maybe a reach at 28 and by reaching I mean there is a theory Centers shouldn't be taken high. Center maybe the most important position on the line. With Mack you could move Hangartner to Guard with Butler as the otherGuard and have Walker and Chambers as your Tackles.

Clay Matthews LB USC

From a NFL family. He went from walk on to possible 1st round pick. But was surrounded by talent at USC, so he might look better then he actually is. Looks to be a gym rat who will work hard and not take a play off. Also could be long gone by 28, so it may not be an issue.

James Lauriniatus LB Ohio St.

The stereotypical hustle guy, but maybe too small a tad slow for the NFL. May give you lots of effort, but sometimes you need more then that. Probably a 1st round guy due to reputation and not in what he'll actually give you. But wouldn't be a bust. Just not 1st round material.

Eben Britton OT Arizona

Another borderline guy at 28, with his lack of strength and more a pass blocker then run blocker. But if the Bills turn into a pass happy offense, which is dumb for Buffalo, he's the man. Especially if they don't go with a Tackle at 11. I would say its a long shot, but its an option.

GCFB's Pick-- Pettigrew. If he's there he's the pick, if not I would pick up Alex Mack.

Well I'll have round 2 and 3 later. And that will be the last of my predictions, after that its just a guess, and pointless. I'll let the experts take over.

Watching the playoffs

I've been watching some of the playoffs with the fiancee. And she's great like that letting me watch hockey teams I have no rooting interest in. She actually gets into the games more then me now. Especially last night yelling at the Caps to score in the final minute. I think I've turned her into a Ranger hater. As anyone should be. But watching yesterday made me think.

When my Fiancee, yelled "Punch Em" during a scrum. (She does it cutely, and it makes me love her more.) But it got me thinking, do I want that? Earlier in the day when Bulldog was talking about liking the tougher teams because they are fun to watch. I got that high horse mentality of well then why don't you just watch people fight? Its a game of skill, appreciate that.

But don't I yell "hit em" when the Sabres play? Yes. Do I enjoy a good fight, not the staged kind, of course.

This got me thinking even more. The reason the Sabres aren't enjoyable or as fun to watch, is the fact they aren't physical. They tend to shun contact. They are talented scorers and when they are on, its fun. But when they aren't they are a boring hockey team. I'm not saying they should trade all the scorers for goons. But just a bunch of guys that go full tilt, and pressure, hit and don't mind mixing it up after a whistle.

The Sabres changing to a more fun, and physical team isn't that hard a transition. A few trades and maybe a signing and the Sabres could be a tough team to play against next year. They have a goaltender, they have scorers, now they need to trade the Hechts, Macarthurs and Tallinders for the more physical versions. Maybe even sacrificing offense to get the deal done.

3 moves and the Sabres are a playoff team and fun to watch.

By the way, Lundqvist is on, and you better watch out. Because the Rangers aren't the best team, but if King Henrik keeps on playing the way he is, things could be interesting. But if they win they run into the Bruins. And that should be a fun series. Boston versus the Rangers. Imagine Lucic going after Avery.

Montreal thanks for playing, but adios.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Mediocre Paper for Mediocre Sports teams.

Instead of getting angry at Bucky for his recent bash on the fans, blaming them for supporting losing teams. Yadda, Yadda Yadda. I looked at a bigger picture. The source. The Buffalo News. We all take anything from the News as sort of a source. Its the local paper, it should voice the opinion of the people. You know have talent. But the real truth is, its a mediocre paper, with average talent at best.

So why should we take anything from the writers to heart? Its their opinion, obviously done in a average way. If they could actually write, they would be at a bigger paper. They aren't supposed to be fans, so theres no point in sticking around. In fact being a total outsider might help in looking at something with fresh eyes. But all the sports writers, and most of the editorialists have their axes to grind, and it influences their work. Which lowers it, to a smear, and pretty much no different then blogs. Blogs wouldn't be as popular if the writing were sub par and voiced an opinion that didn't match his readers.

I was insipred by the release of the pulitzers the other day, and saw some of the winners. I go. Mmm, so how many has the Buffalo News won? So I go to their wikipedia page, which is probably pretty accurate. And since 1917, the year the Prizes started, the Buffalo News has won 3 pulitzers. 3! The Las Vegas Sun won one this year, and they are a 8 page paper. And two of the awards were for cartoons. Not even writing. The only writing award came in 1961. So in almost 50 years the Buffalo News hasn't won a writing pulitzer. James Heaney was a finalist in 1993. So in over 16 years they haven't had a finalist.

Nothing from the Buffalo News in 50 years, was worthy enough of a prize. So this got me to thinking, that this is the perfect paper to cover mediocre sports teams, in a mediocre town. Everything fits. You have mediocre writers, the ones that are good move on. Tim Graham is an example. Covering teams that are around .500. In a town that doesn't prosper in boom times nor fail miserably in bad times. Kinda always stays level.

In the end, its the fan who suffers. We go out and support mediocre teams, covered by mediocre sports guys, in a town that lets mediocre be okay. We don't go out and demand better writers at the news. We don't stage a boycott and not buy the paper. We let these writers stay employed. Patronize the advertisers who give the paper its revenue. We pick it up every day. Read it, use it for bird cage lining, and move on our daily day, talking to others what we saw in the paper.

As the paper gets thinner, and the price increases, we the fans get less and less. Sure they have blogs and the website, but really all that is breaking news coverage. Which is great, but nothing I can't get from the TV News. The fans sure have branched out and have blogs we frequent to get other opinions, that voice similar views to our own, versus the staged anger from Newspapers and Radio, but alas, many if not all have real jobs, that divert our focus from blogging and actually earning our money. So we can't create our own environment to replace the Buffalo News. As we can't create our own sports teams to be better and rely on the current management to the best they can.

So maybe Bucky is right. It is our fault. We don't demand better. We complain about it, but yet buy the newspaper, talk about the newspaper, and link to their articles. As we do with the Bills and Sabres. But at least you can get some enjoyment from those guys. When was the last time you picked up the paper read through it and went that was good? There are so many problems in this city, that reporters could hound politicians, bringing secrets out to life.

But whats the big story?

Wasting electricity on plugged in appliances.

We need better, we want better, now its time to demand better. The Buffalo News could be great, they just need the talent and character to get us a quality daily newspaper.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The LQ Continues his top to bottom review

The LQ loves the people

(Back in his office, with Starbucks in his hand, the people at Spot gave him a dirty look, so he doesn't go there anymore, now will review the roster to make changes for next year)

The LQ: Whew, I needed a few days off after Friday. Of course my opinion on Lindy Ruff was overruled. I blame Rene Robert.

The LQ: Maureen, did you see that thing on Rene Robert?

Maureen: Yes, he was just voicing his opinion.

The LQ: Opinion? It was an attack piece on yours truly! That is uncalled for. Hey maybe during the summer or when those Dinosaurs come, the 14 hanging in the rafters would mysteriously disappear.

Maureen: You honestly wouldn't take down his number?


Maureen: Ok Mr Quinn I'll get the lawyers, maybe we can bring a defamation suit.

The LQ: You're damn right. Land Developer? I'm way more then that. I'm a minority owner in the Buffalo Sabres. What has Rene Robert ever owned? Um? Nothing! I OWN RENE ROBERT!

(Maureen goes back to writing her blog, FireLarryquinn)

The LQ: Oooooo Kay! On to the players. This will be the most monumental decision in Buffalo Sabres History right here, with my opinion on the players and our course of action.

The LQ: First up, Craig Rivet. The Captain. Scary. Keep on team, don't want tohave to handle getting rid of scary guys.

The LQ: Next Thomas Vanek, too expensive to trade, our best scorer. Plus he's Austrian, those guys are secretly crazy. The LQ doesn't like the secretly crazy guys.

The LQ: Jason Pominville. Nice long deal, good team guy, soft spoken, as scary as a puppy. Thats what I like about a guy if I feel tougher then them. We need more Jason Pominville's

The LQ: Derek Roy. Pretty Boy, a whiner, flashy, a diver. I like him. Works hard enough to look productive and gets paid, but yet not there when you really need him. Keeper.

The LQ: Tim Connolly. The LQ's right hand man. Bar hopping buddy. This guy is invaluable. Plus he produces. If you know what I mean.

The LQ chuckles to himself

The LQ: Jochen Hecht, German. Thats enough, ship him out. No germans. I have to talk to Darcy about that policy.

The LQ: Toni Lydman. Adequate player, nice contract, gets the job done. Good guy in the locker room. Think about trading him.

The LQ: Henrik Tallinder: Bones like breadsticks. Lazy. Makes mistakes. Look to extend.

The LQ: Chris Butler. Mmm nice young kid, played above his level. A solid player. Look to trade him for a player who doesn't want to play here, and demands a trade.

The LQ: Andrej Sekera. Was good last year, struggled this year. RFA. Resign him for a low deal. Then hope he somewhat struggles again, because if he turns out to be good. We will have to make a tough decision on him. Thats not The LQ's strong suit.

The LQ: Jaroslav Spacek: UFA, good production. Solid year. Talks funny. Probably will demand too much, let Jaro go and bring up a cheaper worse player. That plan usually works.

The LQ: Nathan Paetsch. Could serve as Jaro's replacement. Could also be used as another forward's replacement. Nice. Have no opinion or remember him, but he looks valuable.

The LQ: Drew Stafford. Don't like him. Lazy, cocky, has talent and probably "wants what his value is" (eye roll) Let some idiot GM give him an offer sheet and take the picks. Those picks we'll never have to pay, more money for ME!

The LQ: Paul Gaustad. Kind of intense and responsible, a guy I see as a team Captain. And he doesn't require much money, nice. Keep that kid around, plus he's Miller's best friend, wouldn't want to release or trade him and have Miller clinically depressed.

The LQ: Speaking of which Ryan Miller. Backbone of the team. A leader. Good for the community. Vocal. Could be a trouble spot. Make sure to keep all razors locked up, especially if next year goes badly.

(Looks at rest of the roster)

The LQ: Oh my so many players. Um, keep half, get rid of the other half. And replace with callups and UFA's. (wipes brow) whew Done. That was rough. Now I have to go over this with Darcy so he can put this plan in motion.

The LQ: Maureen, set up a meeting with Darcy, I'm done going over the players.

Maureen: Already? Ok I'll set something for later in the week.

The LQ: This week? Oh no. I'm spent for the week, make it next tuesday.

Maureen: OK Penciling it in.

The LQ: Oh my that was a lot of work. I hope we make the playoffs next year, because if we don't I don't ever want to do that again. That was rough.

(Sips coffee and looks out window, wondering how to get back at Rene Robert)

Monday, April 20, 2009

NFL Draft Week 2009

Its almost here the NFL Draft, one of my favorite events. Its like Christmas time in the NFL. I will do some previews through the week, on some players the Bills may take, but who knows, anyone you know they like, maybe a smokescreen or their real opinion. But now with two first round picks, the Bills can really make their squad solid with real talent.

I've held back on the draft previews, mainly not to burn myself out. I love the draft and don't want to be tired of it come Saturday. So I left all my previews for this week. Plus my opinions.

First opinion.

You can never have enough draft picks.

With the Peters trade, possible Parrish and Kelsay trades, the Bills are stacking up picks. With 9 picks already, the Bills could use 11, 12 picks. The more bodies the better. Competition makes the team better. And with guys from last year trying again. Alvin Bowen and Chris Ellis trying to make the squad again. Training camp could be nice and physical and build the team. You can never have enough competition. Being comfortable equals laziness. I want these guys uncomfortable. Make them nasty. Afraid to lose their job.

I would love the Bills to pick up extra picks. Get something for guys who give you minimal on the field. Parrish is nice, but he is under utilized as a reciever. So let him go elsewhere so he can florish in a better scheme. If a player doesn't fit what you do, get rid of him. Get players who fit what you want to do. Losman didn't fit, so they let him go. And obviously no one wants him. Which is sad. He isn't that bad, is he?

I trust in Tom Modrak, I think they are drafting decent guys. People keep on bringing up John McCargo, well he had injury issues and things didn't work. Teams make mistakes. Guys won't work. They wanted to go with a certain defensive scheme and it failed. They went out and got Marcus Stroud. With the acquistion of another solid DE. (Denney and Kelsay are wastes of space) the D Line, could be really decent.

The fact that Bills extend a lot of guys, and didn't with Jason Peters, gives me a sign. No one knows a player then his own team. If they thought he was going to be a dominant LT. You would give them the money. I have no doubt about that. But why were they so relunctant? Is there a injury they are worried about. Since Peters has failed to finish the last two years. Or they just being selective with their money? We may never know. But quality LT's are in this draft, one can be had and developed.

The Bisons are not what we call good.

April hasn't been very kind to the Buffalo Bisons. Attendance is down from last year, despite decent weather. And the team, doesn't know how to win. 1-10, very Nationals like, to start the year.

Pitching hasn't been the issue. In fact the bull pen is quite good, and with all the money the Mets sunk into that, most of the guys should stay around. Offense seems more the issue. But hitting always seems a little shaky in April for the Bisons. The most troubling sign is susposed stud, almost made the Mets Roster, Nick Evans. He is hitting a demotion ready .122 on the year. Though of his 5 hits, 3 are home runs. So he definitly belives in the motto "Go Big or Go Home". He also leads the team in Strikeouts with 13. In 41 at bats, he has struck out, 32% of the time. That is not good.

The two catchers have the best Batting Average, almost no one in the infield is hitting about .200. Though no one on the team really commits errors. There is no room for any mistakes. The Bisons are in a early season funk, and already 10 games out of first, with the hot SWB Yankees. Well its a long season and with the warmer temps the bats should warm up, or otherwise it won't be a fun year for the Bisons. Lucky attendance doesn't match record. I still want to go to Bisons games, because they are a fun time. Otherwise it would be a ghost town at Coca Cola field.

Quick Playoff status check

We are 2 or 3 games into series now, so its safe to give a little status check and an opinion on the ongoing first round series.

Lets start with the Eastern Conference.

Boston Vs Montreal

The Habs first round drubbing that I though might happen, is happening. Down 2-0 going into Montreal tonight. I'm not sure if Montreal will win a game in the next two, but with the Lucic suspension, the Habs could win game 3. But the Bruins will play an even tighter game. And shut down the up and down Habs. The Lucic suspension could fire the Bruins up. This series is going 4, 5 games tops.

Washington vs NY Rangers

This is the suprising series, if it was going 1-1 into NY I would be a little surprised. But down 2 games going into MSG. Things look dicey for th Caps. Their goaltending cost them game 1. Then the offense wasn't there in game 2. People always never factor in goaltending matchups when it comes to the NHL playoffs. Lundqvist clearly outmatches whoever is in the Caps net. I still say the Caps pull this one out. But you silence Ovechkin, you silence the caps. They are still a young team. And a humbling is what they might need.

New Jersey vs Carolina

This was a easy series to see coming. Carolina isn't good enough and New Jersey will be a tough out. With timely scoring and solid defense and great goaltending. Its 2-1 and I see New Jersey ending this one in Newark on Thursday.

Pittsburgh and Philly

This one is getting nasty. This is playoff hockey at its best. Lots of goals, hitting, bad blood, fights and its entertaining. I dislike both teams, so if they killed each other the better. But I was not surprised Philly took game 3. As someone else pointed. I wouldn't be surprised either this series is tied at two.

Now our Western Conference Friends

San Jose vs Anaheim

In the, I thought they'd flame out in round 2, San Jose looks like they might be exiting in Round 1. Down 2-0 to the Ducks, who has Jonas Hiller playing like a hall of famer. The Sharks I'm sure will turn things around, when they get to Anaheim. But the typical no shows are out again. Thornton, Marleau and Cheechoo. The three have 2 points between them. Our guy Mike Grier, who gets 6 minutes of ice time, is having a big effect. The Ducks after what seemed a selling at the deadline, seemed to still have the necessary parts to at least win one game. This one goes seven, San Jose can't just lay down and die can they? Where would Mike Grier Go?

Detroit vs Columbus

Well I saw this one coming, well I though the BJ's would put up a fight. But being outscored 8-1 in two games. With their rookie sensation! Don't forget Leclaire had a ton of shutouts, and they shipped him out. The BJ's aren't that good. And Detroit will hopefully make small work of them. And sweep them out in four.

Vancouver vs St Louis.

I didn't see why people were enamored with the Blues. They fight and stay in games, but Vancouver is a decent team. And you never can underestimate Luongo. He's a big time goaltender. The Canucks are going to the Conference finals if they don't run into Detroit in round 2. The Blues were highly overrated and going to get swept or lose in Vancouver in a couple days. This series is O V E R.

Calgary vs Chicago

I'm a bit surprised this isn't tied at 1 going back to Calgary. But Chicago kept their home ice. And now they head back to a tough place to play. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if this is tied at 2 going back to Chicago. Chicago is young and if Calgary wins game 3, will shake them a little. They are playing with house money. But a series to watch no doubt.

Overall the playoffs are good, but with the 2-0's and the 3-0's we need more long running series. Game 6 or Game 7's are so much better. But I will continue to watch and the Philly Pittsburgh series is no doubt the one to watch right now. These teams hate each other and its fun to watch.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Buffalo sports teams love friday afternoon news releases.

Well the big 2, had some big news. And of course it comes out on a Friday afternoon. Which I think its to piss off the lazy reporters at the Buffalo News and forces them to cover something. Because NO ONE AT THE NEWS saw either coming. Seriously. Someone wake those guys up and do some work. Pick up a phone.

First in time order. Jason Peters was traded to Philadelphia. Its for Philly's 28th pick in the 1st, a 4th rounder, and a late pick in 2010. So 1 person for 3. Some kid in college right now, is involved in the Jason Peters trade. But I knew the Bills were going to deal him. They weren't going to pay him what he wanted, or close. Everyone in town is like pay him what he deserves! Yeah just give into demands, thats a smart business decision. But for a guy that hasn't made it to the end of the year the past two seasons. Dumping him might be the best decision in a long term. Good player you bet, a loss, but not irreplaceable. He's a non drafted free agent, I'm sure they can find a tackle in the draft. Maybe at 28.

Then the Sabres in their Top to Bottom review, tweeted today, that Darcy and Lindy are coming back next year. Not shocking. But the timing is always suspect. Tomorrow or Sunday would be worse. I am in favor of this, one of the few. I just feel Darcy needs to be left alone and let to do what he needs to. Once again Bucky Gleason shows he has no inside contact. Poor guy. He tries, but he has nothing. He's really nothing more then a blogger.

I think Darcy is upset with the players and will unload several of them, to bring in the players he and Lindy want. Craig Rivet is an example of that. Its not management thats a problem, its the players. Darcy doesn't play forward.

But whats shocking is the Buffalo news didn't break either story. Jay Glazer broke the Peters trade and the Sabres released it on the website. It bothers me the local newspaper has no inside sources. No leaks. Its like they guess. I can do that to.

The Kids are alright

The once and future Sabres, are in the Playoffs, unlike their parent club. And they won the first game against Providence, so they could make it a few rounds. I'm surprised they didn't ship Chris Butler down there to help them out or Matt Ellis. But it looks like they got things handled.
(ed. note they did send Chris Butler down)

The Pirates are led by Mark Mancari, who had 67 points on the year, Tim Kennedy who also had 67 points on the year. Mathieu Darche who had 66 points (the Matt Ellis replacement next year) And Nathan Gerbe who was almost a point a game player this year in the AHL and will be on the Big Club next October. Marc Andre Gragnani, who had a nice productive year in the AHL with 51 points, could maybe crack the top 7, maybe the top 8. Depending on what they do with Tyler Myers next year.

Marek Zagrapan maybe finally coming around, but the clock is running out on him. Felix Schutz could be a darkhorse forward next fall. But it wouldn't hurt to have him in Portland to start things off. And Jhonas Enroth had a nice productive year in Portland, but no doubt will be coming back there next year. And maybe trade bait for the Sabres. Everyone loves young goaltending, and could bring in something vital to the parent organization. Since goaltending isn't a issue for many years to come.

The Pirates seem to be a good mix of young guys and AHL vets, that have gotten them through a injury plagued season, and hopefully a nice long run to the Calder Cup. This experience will only help these guys and improve their value to the Sabres, who if they see a bunch of guys that can make, will shed salary for possible cheaper and comparable talent.

The LQ beings his season review.

(The LQ sits down at his desk, with a coffee and danish he picked up at Spot Coffee)

The LQ: Maureen, hold all my calls, I am busy and need not to be disturbed. I am deciding the fate of the Buffalo Sabres. What The LQ thinks, is what will happen.

Maureen: Ok Mr Quinn.

(Goes back to making her Larry Quinn Voodoo doll)

The LQ: Ok, lets start with mmm. Me. The Buck stops here. Yeah unfortunately they all don't stop here. (chuckles to self) Oh Larry you so funny. Anyway, enough with the jokes. This is serious business, the future of the franchise is on my desk. Ok, Me. Season tickets are strong, sales are strong, ad revenue is strong. I'm doing a great job.

Recommendation: Raise and more ownership.

The LQ: Ok next up Dan Dipofi. Oh Dan my main man. Chief operating officer. Things are very well run here at HSBC Arena and Hockey Western LLC. Dan is doing a great job of creating the Sabre brand, and making it the number one sports brand in Western New York. But he is also a minority owner. TAKING IT AWAY FROM THE LQ! That must stop. But it will take time.

Recommendation: Tell Dan he's doing a great job, but secretly find a way to destroy him.

The LQ: Ok what about the rest of the staff, who to start with? (Looks at organizational list) What this many people work for us? How. Who are these people? WE HAVE 11 SCOUTS! I thought Darcy said Video scouting would cut down on that? Wait, theres a Director of Amateur scouting and a Director of Amateur scouting operations? Whats the difference. Why can't that job be one thing? (scans further) MASCOT COORDINATOR! If that guy isn't Sabretooth, I will have heads roll. How hard is it, to strap on a costume, fire t shirts from a cannon and bang a drum? You need a coordinator for that? Hell I'll be Sabretooth if it saves money. (Scans even further) Webiste content Coordinator? Can't even spell their own title right. Fired.

Recommendation: Fire half that list and outsource it to India or China or wherever. Have to pay for Thomas Vanek somehow.

The LQ: Whew this is tough. Man I wish I never told anyone about a top to bottom review. Should have said I'd give the team a quick scan then give some recommondations to Darcy. Like hey we need more scoring, or get tougher. Generic observations, that would look like I was doing something, but not really doing something. Stupid team not making the playoffs. It would make my life easier.

The LQ: Ok, Darcy Regier. Kinda creepy, smart, but always seems like he's not doing anything. Always on the computer, could be looking at Porn, or Hockey players. Don't know he tends to be shifty when I come into the office. Knows a lot about hockey and players he brings in, tend to be talented. Has made some great trades over the years. Team could use a change, but then I have to go look for a replacement. And that is more work then I want to do over the Summer.

Recommendation: Keep Darcy, and put restrictions on his computer use.

The LQ: Lindy Ruff. Players don't listen to him. But highly respected. Also scares the bejesus outta The LQ. I see him in the hall, say hi, but always scared he wants to punch me. This face can't be touched. Fans want change, so the team will fire him. Because Darcy will look for another coach, not me. I'll just give the ok sign. No work for me. Its brilliant. Gives the fans what they want, yet requires The LQ not to sweat for a minute.

Recommendation: Regretfully let Lindy go, hire cheaper replacement.

The LQ: Before I get to the players I need a break. That was tiring. So many decisions. So much work.

(The LQ looks out the window and sips his coffee)

The LQ: Must Destroy Dipofi.

(Part II soon)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


So all day on the radio I heard the WGR talking heads, talk about character. It all started from Jerry Sullivan's column from the other day, in response to the Donte Whitner arrest and the fact Tom Modrak wouldn't dismiss drafting Brandon Pettigrew. Just listening to it, made me angry. Not because I think they are clean and upstanding individuals. But they were pushing character into one column. That not breaking the law, or not being caught by police breaking the law, is the only standard for character. We are talking about 3 guys out of 53. Do the math and its a small percentage of the Bills, that have been arrested recently or ever.

But honestly, its nice to have a bunch of law abiding citizens, but if they can't play football, who cares. I want good football character guys. If they have a gun, and with the players getting shot lately I would carry one too, I don't care. Sure it costs the Bills a couple games. But does he not give his all on the field? Look above, he looks devastated at that loss in NY last year. Thats the character I want. I guy that plays for his teammates, that defends his guys and plays his heart out. FOOTBALL CHARACTER. Donte Whitner was trying to help out friends and family, he thought were in trouble. Thats the kind of guy I want.

Back to Pettigrew, he was arrested last year, yes. But just because they won't dismiss someone over one issue, doesn't mean they will take anyone. It's the draft. They'd probably say they might draft a murderer, if it meant smokescreening who they really want. If they actually draft Pettigrew, I'd be upset, not because of the arrest, but what I've read about football ability. But how they are off the field is only one part of the equation.

The same guys railed on the Sabres for not defending Ryan Miller this year, but they don't get arrested, so they must have good character. That is the logic they are using. You can't use one factor to determines someone character. It's too easy, its lazy. If someone is a good upstanding citizen, but yet lets his teammate get punched in the mouth, that is someone I d o not want on the team. His job is to play football, not to have a clean rap sheet. Unless it interferes with the job, then its a problem. (I guess with Marshawn it is becoming a problem) But that is the difficult decision. Marshawn is a great player. He is valuable to the team, and from all aspects a good teammate and someone you want. Yet he finds his way into the police's hands. Maybe he has to grow up and stop being irresponsible. That comes with age. He's a young guy, they all are. Young people make mistakes, its part of growing up. We aren't all responsible adults when we get out of College. Especially today's youth, me included. It takes time to get where you want to go.

These experiences help with your character. They aren't a sign of your character. But what matters most is your football character. How do you react on the field. Do you give up at the first sign of a problem? Do you let others get away with cheap shots? Do you work hard, instead of taking the easy way out? These are the important questions you need to ask, not whether or not you have been arrested. I could care less.

The media is taking the easy way out, instead of looking into the player to see how he plays, it takes the headline jumping questions. Oooo crime, violence, scandal!!!!!!! Hey do they perform on the field? Yes? No? Thats what matters. I want players that want to win, die to win, and will do anything to get that W. Those are the questions I want asked, not a inquistion about drafting "character guys" Which i think is a relative term. Character is what you think it is, there is no standard definition. A good character guy at the Bank, is different then a good character guy at Ralph Wilson Stadium

Can we move on from this subject?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NHL Playoffs Round 1

I love the NHL playoffs, even with the Sabres out of it. Would I be into it more, were the Blue and Gold participating, you bet. But its good hockey and it lasts for a month and half. You can watch teams you hate lose, teams you know nothing about and fall in love with them, and want guys on your team because of how they play in the Playoffs. Festivities get kick started tonight, and I'd thought I give some predictions on who wins what and in how many games. All based on snap judgments and some brief glances at stats.

Lets start in the Eastern Conference.

1) Boston vs 8) Montreal

The Habs have been reeling for a while now, just sneaking into the playoffs. The loss of Robert Lang hurt them, and Carey Price ain't what he use to be. The Bruins have been cruising, which can be dangerous (see 06-07 Sabres) But I think they play a better style of hockey. Tim Thomas is great and they keep the puck out of their own net and have a good balanced scoring lineup.

Bruins in 5

2) Washington and 7) Ny Rangers

The high scoring caps versus the defense first Rangers. I don't think this is a good matchup for the Caps. They aren't very good at keeping the puck out of their net, letting in 245 goals. The Rangers had a -8 goal differential, but only let in 218 goals. Both teams are very good at home and iffy on the road. The one thing that scares me, is their goalie situation. Jose Theodore has a .900 sv% thats not playoff goalie material. Henrik Lundqvist can win games by himself. But the Caps home record gets it done here

Capitals in 7

3) NJ Devils vs 6) Hurricanes

I don't think the Hurricanes are good enough. The Devils will look for revenge for several years ago and knock out the Hurricanes.

Devils in 6

4) Pittsburgh vs 5) Philadelphia

Battle of PA. This should be the series to watch in the first round. Two good offensive teams. Goaltending is an issue in both. MAF and Biron have similar Sv% and GAA is more in favor for Fleury. I see 6-4, 5-4 games in this one. Lots of scoring on both sides. I like the Flyers. Even with Pittsburgh's experience from last year. I like the young guys on Philly

Flyers in 7

Now we delve into the Western Conference

1) San Jose vs 8) Anaheim

The Sabres beat the sharks and lost to the ducks twice, so in my logic, the Ducks should win the series. But that will not happen. San Jose is determined, and there is too much talent. The goaltending is better and the defense is better.

Sharks in 4

2) Detroit vs 7) Columbus

Detroit is very good. They are great at playoff hockey. Their goaltender is shaky. Columbus always does well against the Red Wings, and with it being the first playoff berth, should be excited. But once again Detroit is very good.

Red Wings in 5

3) Vancouver vs 6) St Louis

The Sabres beat both these teams. I saw the Blues game. The got down early, but never quit. Theres a good fight in that squad. Both teams aren't that high scoring teams. Especially the Blues, with only 3 guys above 50 points. But the reason why the Canucks will win, Roberto Luongo. He is the best goalie in the game.

Canucks in 6

4)Blackhawks vs 5) Calgary

Oooo this should be a good one. Did you know Martin Havlat was the 'Hawks leading scorer with 79 points? With the all the talk about Kane and Toews, its Havlat, who I am glad is in Chicago, is the one to look out for. Calgary who was great at the Deadline will be a tough out. But I think the one thing that decides this one is goaltending. Kipper ain't what he used to be. And the Bulin Wall looks to bring his status up. Chicago wins a war.

Chicago in 7

There are some good matchups and some not so good ones. Round 1 always does. But should be good. Enjoy some great hockey tonight.

Bills Schedule Time

Hey the 2009 Schedule came out, which is always exciting. But in the well, we have to wait for September till any of this matters kind of way. Its like getting your classes for next semester and have to wait through the summer. Oh boy Econ 101, with Dr So and So. Well I guess that will be fun. I have the same feeling with the NFL Schedules coming out in April.

Well here it is.

Week 1Mon, Sep 14 @ New England Patriots7:00PM (ET)
Week 2 Sun, Sep 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers4:05PM (ET)
Week 3Sun, Sep 27 New Orleans Saints4:05PM (ET)
Week 4Sun, Oct 04@ Miami Dolphins4:05PM (ET)
Week 5Sun, Oct 11 Cleveland Browns1:00PM (ET)
Week 6Sun, Oct 18@ New York Jets4:15PM (ET)
Week 7Sun, Oct 25@ Carolina Panthers4:05PM (ET)
Week 8Sun, Nov 01Houston Texans1:00PM (ET)
Week 9Sun, Nov 08BYE
Week 10Sun, Nov 15@ Tennessee Titans1:00PM (ET)
Week 11Sun, Nov 22@ Jacksonville Jaguars1:00PM (ET)
Week 12Sun, Nov 29Miami Dolphins1:00PM (ET)
Week 13 Thu, Dec 03New York Jets (Toronto)8:20PM (ET)
Week 14 Sun, Dec 13@ Kansas City Chiefs1:00PM (ET)
Week 15Sun, Dec 20New England Patriots1:00PM (ET)
Week 16Sun, Dec 27@ Atlanta Falcons1:00PM (ET)
Week 17Sun, Jan 03 Indianapolis Colts1:00PM (ET)

And yes I copied it from the Bills website.

Only 9 1 Oclock games, which I don't like. I hate waiting till 4. But the first two home games are going to be nice weather and long tail gates. Look out security.

Its hard to analyze, you can say it looks tough, but most schedules do. The Colts game at the end could mean nothing or a lot. The road game against Atlanta could be a good one, or the Falcons regress since people learned Matt Ryan. At Tennessee then at Jacksonville could be rough, its good the bye is the week before, because those will be physical games. But it looks like decent weather or indoors for 5 of the last 8 games. This team is weak in bad weather, they can't mentally handle it.

It gets me a little excited for Football. The draft really gets me excited, but we are getting closer to NFL football, little by little. Can't wait.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What went wrong part 2

In todays episode, why we failed to make the playoffs. Its losing points. It all comes down to points. Dropping critical points against opponents, is crucial. A dropped game in October, haunts you more then a game in March. Pittsburgh downright sucked for the first half of the year, but started getting those points early on, and cruised when the team got healthy. But nowhere is this more obvious for the Sabres, then dropping points against worse opponents. I have gone through the record and bunched the Sabres record against 4 kinds of opponents.

Eastern Conference Playoff teams 19-14-3
Eastern Conference non Playoff Teams 13-10-5
Western Conference Playoff teams 3-7
Western Conference non Playoff teams 6-1-1

They did feast on the weakest of the West. Which is good. But they did not feast against the weakest of the East. And only with 2 of the 5 non playoff teams in the East did they have a winning record against (Leafs and Panthers). And against the Thrashers and Sens, they were downright horrible, a combined 1-4-5. These are the games that cost them down the stretch. Out of 20 possible points, they only took 7. While playing against the Coyotes and Oilers, they took 13 out of 16 points. Thats nice, but you play them once. Not 4 times, or 6 times in the Senators case. Yes they owned the Leafs going 5-1 against them, but going 0-0-4 against the Thrashers is not forgivable.

In fact you can say the Sabres were better against the East' best, then the dregs. They had a losing record against 1 of the 8 playoff teams, the Flyers, going 0-4. Here are the Sabres record against the top 8.

Boston 4-2
Washington 2-2
New Jersey 2-2
Pittsburgh 2-1-1
Philadelpha 0-4
Carolina 2-1-1
Ny Rangers 3-1
Montreal 4-1-1

When you take the points possible percentage (ppp) The Sabres took 57% of the points against Playoff teams versus 55% from non playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. Yes thats even, but the percentage should be much higher against the Non Playoff teams. The PPP versus the Western Conference teams is 81% against the Non Playoff teams, and 30% against the playoff teams. Sure the lack of games can skew percentages. And when you add the totals of the Western Conference games you get a 53% ppp. (Yes I invented that statistic) I guess, when you look at things, the Sabres are only going to take about 55% of the points that are possible to them. That isn't good enough these days. You have to get to 60. No game is a throwaway. A loss to Calgary is just as a waste as a loss to Atlanta.

The teams that keep it close and get those loser points are the ones that get into the top 8 come mid April. The Sabres yes were better in the shootout (9-5 this year vs 4-9 last year), which saved them from being below the Senators and Leafs. But in games actual decided in Overtime, they went from 5-3 to 2-4. The Sabres win two of those games, thats two points, and that puts them in the Playoffs.

The team is a razor thin margin away from being in the playoffs. Which means the team isn't good enough. Which means changes are necessary. They can't get just 55% of the points available. They have to get 60%. You get 60. You make the Playoffs. In fact you do it without any pressure.

Now they have to get the players that get them there, or motivate the ones here to achieve that goal. Otherwise, we are looking at a empty HSBC Arena come mid April again next year.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What went wrong part 1

With the end of the season on Saturday, and the Sabres failing to make the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row. I will look into several reasons why the team didn't make the postseason. And being tough isn't one of them. Detroit never seems that tough to me, they just play hard. You can play tough and not win. Effort is more a reason then toughness. But in today's segment, we'll delve into offense.

The Sabres were known two years ago as a offensive team. They lead the league in goals and were dangerous from almost every line. They have 9 players with 40 or more points. This year they have 7. You may say well that's not much of a difference. But if you make the bar higher, say 60 points. The 06-07 team had 7 guys above 60 points. This year they had 3.

The loss of potent offensive weapons like Drury, Briere and Brian Campbell, has taken its toll on the team. Instead of replacing those losses, less offensive talents took their place. Derek Roy isn't Danny Briere. Jason Pominville isn't Chris Drury and Jaroslav Spacek isn't Brian Campbell. And the talent to replace those guys didn't matchup to what they were. It was a step down, all through the lineup.

On top of that, the top guys had down years. When you rely on your top offensive guys to produce, and they don't. You are going to struggle to win games.

Derek Roy 07-08 32 goals 49 assists for 81 points 1.03 points per game
Derek Roy 08-09 28 goals 42 assists for 70 points .85 points per game

Jason Pominville 07-08 27 goals 53 assists for 80 points .97 points per game
Jason Pominville 08-09 20 goals 46 assists fof 66 points .80 points per game

Jochen Hecht 07-08 22 goals 27 assists for 49 points .65 points per game

Jochen Hecht 08-09 12 goals 15 assists for 27 points .38 points per game

That is a drastic drop off from 1 year to the next. Whoever the Sabres depended on, had struggles. Even Vanek, after the injury his stats declined. But the biggest example is Jochen Hecht who was a blackhole for anyone around him. And the fact Pominville was constantly around him, brought him down as well. If these guys played as well as they did last year. They would have been in the playoffs. It wasn't goaltending that was the issue. It was offense. And if Ryan Miller had the year, he had last year. This team would be even farther down the standings. The team is flawed. There are major flaws up and down the roster.

2005-2006 272 goals
2006-2007 298 goals
2007-2008 251 goals
2008-2009 242 goals

The team scored 56 less goals then two years ago. Thats .68 goals per game. That is a drastic change. Top line guys didn't produce, and the guys behind them, didn't either. Dan Paille, Clarke Macarthur, Dominic Moore, Max Afinogenov all didn't produce.

The Dominic Moore Trade was a complete bust. He had 41 points coming into the Sabres. He had 4 points in 18 games the rest of the way. 4 POINTS! The guy was a waste of a trade. Ales Kotalik would have given you better stats. You can say the Tellqvist trade was the winner at the deadline. And in fact he's the Free agent you bring back next year.

Some guys had up years, Vanek had a better year, up until he took a puck to the face. Ryan Miller as dramatically better, Paul Gaustad was better. Matt Ellis and Adam Mair gave you good 4th line production. But when grinders and role players are the team improvements you are in a world of trouble.

These are just the forwards we are talking about. The Offense from the blue line was non existent this year. And looking back through the years, it always is. But when the forwards mask it, its never a big issue. Until now.

Offense from Defenseman

2008-2009 23 goals 152 points
2007-2008 25 goals 154 points

2006-2007 28 goals 184 points

2005-2006 32 goals 164 points

Its a declining stat. Which is interesting. Why are they getting less offense from the Blueline? And if they lose Spacek and Teppo retires. They are in major trouble on the backend for points. Craig Rivet would be their leading scorer on the blueline.

To put this in perspective. Mike Green had 31 goals this year and 73 points.

In the offseason, they need to acquire more 2nd level offensive talent. This will hopefully, let loose the pressure on the current top scorers now. Who are obviously feeling the pressure to produce. Though it did seem at the end of the year, the were a little more confident offensively, though when playing a Detroit or New Jersey, completely went into the tank.

Whoever the GM and talent evaluators are come this summer. Its obvious several of the players on the roster, can't handle being top dog. Its not in their nature. So to improve the offense, you may have to trade current talent for other talent. They might not be as flashy, but goals are goals and if you can get goals, you get wins. And a change in philosophy. Points are needed from defensemen. The young guys they have aren't the offensive kind. They need someone that can bring the puck from the point.

The trends aren't encouraging, but I don't feel a major overhaul is needed. Just some nips and tucks and the team is in contention again.

Friday, April 10, 2009

That'll do pig, that'll do.

Chris Seward

The Sabres did their end of the deal, by beating the red hot Hurricanes 5-1 last night. The flyers on the other hand, decided not to fill their end of the bargain, create space between them and the Hurricanes, and lose to the Rangers. I'm not blaming the Flyers, the Sabres put themselves in the position they were in. But sometimes help is nice.

One game left in the season, before its two years in a row without the playoffs, and unlike the years before their is enough interest and stability to draw ire and fan criticism. There will be changes, no doubt. Drastic? I don't think so, but who knows. The whole excuse from last year won't fly this year, and Miller's injury ain't an excuse either. They know why they will clean out their locker this weekend. They just can't play with any consistency or beat the bad teams.

I think the idea of making the playoffs was more exciting to me, then the actual playoffs themselves. More then likely, they Bruins would have extinguished them quickly. Since the Bruins play playoff hockey, unlike the Sabres who can't play it, because they can't string a couple good games together.

Well I'm sure April won't be a quiet month around HSBC Arena, since some issues need to be dealt with. There will be players not coming back, the team will look different next season. It may get younger. Weber, Gerbe and Kennedy, will all probably be on the team. The real question is, will the front office look the same?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sabres Canes

Backs against the wall, one foot in the grave, use whatever term you want. But the Sabres have to win. Carolina doesn't have to do anything. They have no pressure and are on fire. And completely demolished the Islanders the other day, while the Sabres played a good third and beat the Leafs last night. So how will the Sabres handle the stress.

Instead of a game preview of who to watch out for. I think its time for clips of inspirational speeches to fire up the boys, to come out and beat the Canes, because no other game really matters, because if they don't care of business in Raleigh, its over. Forget about whats happening in New York or Florida. The Sabres are 1-2 vs the Canes lets even that bad boy out.

Well there aren't many good hockey related speeches. Most are football.

But lets just remember the playoffs a couple years ago.

Its all we have right now.

About Me

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Buffalo, NY, United States
A Stay at home dad, who has more hot takes then your average stay at home dad.