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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dealing with "The System"

The key to the System.

The current post at The Gooses Roost, about the system, inspired me to write my own take on the system.

We all think the System is some random scheme the Sabres talk about. But its not there is a total organization philosophy, that the team is built around. And its been in place since the Regier Ruff era took over.

Build from the Goal Out.

When they got here, there was a rough and tumble mentality that was influenced by Ted Nolan and the crumbling of the Muckler era. Nolan and Hasek didn't get along, and Hasek being the true star of the team, got his way, with Nolan getting the heave ho, when Regier was hired. They knew they had a great goalie and they could build the team around him. Go through hockeydb from the late 90's for the leading scorers, its shocking how low they are.

97-98 Miroslav Satan with 46 points!
98-99 Miroslav Satan with 66 points and and only 2 others with 50.
99-00 Miroslav Satan with 67 points and only Curtis Brown had about 50
00-01 Miroslav Satan with 62 Points and JP Dumont with 51

Then Hasek left. And the Bankruptcy. And they missed the Playoffs for 3 straight years. Yet Miro, had higher point totals and in 03-04 the Sabres 5 guys in 50 or more points, the first time in 10 years! When Dale Hawerchuk was in the lineup.

They had the higher scoring player, but since their goalie left, the system fell apart. Steps in Ryan Miller.

Ryan Miller wasn't as elite level yet, so they tweeked the system, to be more offensive to cover up that Miller wasn't at the level they needed to work the system. But come playoff time, that comes back to bite you. The scoring goes down, and the defensive lapses kill you, plus injuries. The Presidents Trophy year, they had 6 guys above 60 points. Max had 61 points in only 56 games. Not since the French Connection hey days did the Sabres have that offensive firepower. And just like then, they couldn't get the job done.

Then the summer of '07 hit.

The loss of all that offense took its toll. They had two guys with 80 points, but that's not good enough when Miller has a 2.64 Sv%.

They needed to get back to "The System", but Miller had to get better.

Next year Miller's numbers got better, offense went down a little, but when Miller got hurt things fell apart again.

We get to this year, and Miller turns into Hasek.

2009-2010 Miller Sv% of .929 and GAA of 2.22
1996-1997 Hasek Sv% of .930 and GAA of 2.27

Yes I know Haseks numbers in the Hart years, were eye popping, but he was in his prime. Miller is entering his prime. Trying to get a a similar spot in their careers.

With Miller entering his prime, this is the time for the system to really work. But it needs tweeks. I don't feel a overhaul of the management will do much good. The prospects all kinda fit the mold of what the team will be in 2 years. Guys like Ennis, Gerbe, Adam and Kassian. You put in new people, those prospects are probably shipped out for vets the new administration wants. And who knows how that works, and the drawer is bare again, after years of stocking it up again. People forget how bare things were in the minors after the Bankruptcy. Now the Sabres seemed to filled with nice new acquisitions.

Here come some of my suggestions.


Derek Roy reminds me of another frustrating Derek, Plante. Leading scorer, but never seems to produce when you want. Derek Roy has value and I think could be traded for a nice veteran. Or packaged with a Tim Connolly and other players or picks. For my target.

Jarome Iginla.

Yes I know why would the Flames want to get rid of him. But he is the exact player the Sabres need. Talented, tough, a leader. And by packaging the right young talent, offense to replace what they are losing. Maybe you could convince Calgary to trade him.

Of course, this leaves a hole at Center. And if that trade doesn't pan out, which it probably won't. Sure people might say Vincent Lecavalier. But his contract is such a non starting point, I wouldn't even entertain the idea. Martin St Louis would be interesting, I wonder if a Roy for St Louis straight up deal could happen. He is in the last year of his deal at only 4 million. Had 90 points. And with Vanek and Connelly, could lead to a very dangerous number 1 line.

Joe Thornton? He of terrible playoffs and what not. I'd rather they do something interesting like put in a offer for Pavelski or maybe a Nicklas Backstrom. But both the Sharks and Caps are very under the Cap next year, that its not even worth going after.

The trouble is, it might be impossible to really go after a big time center, without really damaging you team in the long run. Which means you fall into the hope your young guys pan out cycle. And Darcy will not sacrifice the future for anything.

Doug Weight might be a nice option.

But as we have seen, attracting free agents to Buffalo is hard to do. That's why any real major acquisition will be in the trade market, lucky for Buffalo they have some assets. And plenty of teams who would love to dump some salary.

Keeping Grier is essential. The guy is solid and can contribute. Other then that, Kennedy and Kaleta get offers. I can live without Mair, Ellis and McCormick. If I could choose, I'd bring back McCormick.

Drew Stafford. I am done with him, I have been done with him. And Lindy Ruff is done with him. He is the new version of Chris Gratton. Lots of potential, but nothing substantial. The upside, you could fool someone in giving you a nice player for this "potential".

Young guys. We all love Ennis. Gerbe looks to finally have reached NHL level. Luke Adam could crack the lineup, and the wild card of Zach Kassian. He is having a excellent playoffs for the Spitfires and is the big physical force the Sabres need. Though another year in Juniors probably won't hurt.


Tyler Myers sure helps things here. He has solved a bunch of issues on the backend, the Sabres have never had this type of guy since Regier and Ruff have been here. He makes me happy and want to buy a new sabres white 57 jersey.

Henrik Tallinder has had a nice year, since, wait oh his last contract year. Mmmm. Was pretty decent in the playoffs. If he's not too expensive, resign for another 3 years and build this partnership up.

Toni Lydman, was Toni Lydman. I could see a resign, but if they wanted to look else where for a more nasty defensemen. That would be ok.

We assume Mike Weber makes the team next year, but Butler, Sekera and Weber, don't make me that happy. That's why they need another defenseman. I would love Anton Volchenkov, he wants 5 for 25, and that's probably too rich for Darcy. Andy Sutton, maybe more in the price range. He's nasty, he's dirty. We'd love him.

No I'm not an expert either. He looks like he could kill someone.

I'd rather add another vet, then just bringing up Weber. Make Weber, Butler and Sekera fight for spots.


Starter is set, now we gotta sign a quality backup. Hate to say it, but Marty Biron makes too much sense here.

Solid, plays well with a decent defense, and wouldn't be expensive. It makes too much sense and still would be surprised if it happened.


"The System" is not some marketing thing, the Sabres use to sell tickets or hope. Its an actual playing style, and its a start from the Goalie out system. Detroit has a different system. Pittsburgh another. Which one works best? Well it depends on the players. Pittsburgh has all star forwards, ok defense and a decent goalie. The best thing about having an established system. Is you can tweek it, to make it better. The Sabres have some very nice parts, but need a replacement here and a replacement there, to be one of the top 8 teams.

While the newspaper guys call for heads (while they wait for their buyouts) and the callers on the radio rail against everyone without thinking. The brass at HSBC Arena will plan on how to improve the team, and thus improve "the system."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Unreachable Expectations

Vanek is back tonight.

While, thats awesome news, I think we are all expecting him to come back and score 3 goals tonight and then 4 more in game 7 to lead the team to victory.

That probably won't happen. He'll come back, give the guys a offensive weapon, but he's still hurt and trying to get in. Might he score? Maybe. But we are probably more inclined to see offense from the guys who have been playing.

Vanek can put a team on his back, he works hard, but even he will probably expect too much from himself. A ankle sprain isn't fun, it takes a while to get back from. The only reason he is playing is because its the playoffs. He'd probably be out 2 more weeks if this were January. Yet people still call him soft.

So Sabres fans don't expect the best player ever, when Vanek is back in the lineup tonight. Just expect someone who will work hard, try to score, and be a lot more noticeable then the player he's replacing, Drew Stafford.

Lets bring it home for game 7.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hi There CJ

Woah Football Players graduate?

Well the Bills surprised a lot of people, thought some people thought the Bills would take Spiller. But I will be happy to welcome in CJ Spiller to the Bills Family. He of high character, college graduate, and some great numbers. He's the anti Lynch. Or the faster Fred Jackson. Its no doubt that the Bills are looking to a more running attack this year on offense. Anything to keep the QB from throwing the ball sounds good. Hey didn't a run first offense help the Jets? You bet it did.

Would I have liked a tackle here? Probably. But if theres a player thats dynamic and can help you right now, you take him. I'm not a scout nor do I know what I'm talking about most times. So I'm not gonna call it a bad pick or a great pick. I like the player, and as a Bills fan hope for the best. He looks like a class guy and says the right things.

Oh and he's also a excellent football player.

He's a weapon, and a great checkdown option, which any Bills QB will need. A lot. Trent Edwards must love this pick. Well up until, they choose a QB, then he'll get depressed again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

That sucked.


Oh boy, that felt awful. I just thought they were gonna win that game, especially going up 2-0 after 2 periods. Now down 3 to 1, almost evaporates all hope. Of course the optimist in me goes, there's a chance. And I should just let things play themselves out. But seriously, the series should be the other way around. But its not, and that's how things are. And I can't wait if the Sabres lose, to hear the comments starting the offseason. Who should go, what should change. My opinion?

I have no idea what they should do.

But I know last night sucked, and reminded me why the downside of playoff hockey is worse, then just watching and enjoying the other games, like I did last year. The highs are very few in between the tension and the frustration. But if things keep on going, I won't have to worry about that much longer, and I can go back enjoying my nights. And get to the home improvement projects I need to start.

No matter how many times I tell myself that I won't watch friday. I will and I will care. And if they win, I'll watch Monday. If they stretch this out to 7 games and break my heart. It will suck even more. And thats where most Sabre fans are. They just want it over, so it won't hurt anymore. If we were impartial, 7 game series would be awesome.

I figured out the negative feeling around this team. They just don't trust it, don't want to believe, and don't want to go all in, like 3 years ago. Most Sabre fans are still reeling from the bad breakup and aren't ready for that committment. Lucky for them, it looks like theres nothing to commit to.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dear Cody,


Tonight's a big game for you. Last night you thought your season was done. But no, Matt Ellis got run over by Public Enemy #1 Boychuk. The Sabres have been not as physical as you would like a playoff team to be. Well the 3rd and 4th lines are physical, but anyway, you have one mission.

Take Out Chara.

I don't care if you get suspended. Portland is done, we can call up whoever. Go after the Captain. I don't care about Boychuk, they can live without Boychuk. I'm not usually one for retribution. But I can't stand how no one seems to stick up for anyone on the team. And I bet Lindy Ruff thinks the same, that is why, when they need offense, they call up you Mr McCormick, and not the midget Gerbe or Lifetime AHL player Mark Mancari.

I wouldn't wait either, first shift. You hit him. Don't let up on hitting him. Make that big tree fall. You know why Chara wears his cage? He broke his nose. Its hard to play with a broken nose. Especially if its rebroke. (How to get through the cage? Be creative)

You may think this is cruel and not becoming of me, but I don't care. Boston through all of that out and everything is fair game. You don't shrug off, someone trying to hurt a star player. But don't go after Boychuk, that doesn't send the message. Going after their best player, sends a message.

Tonight the Sabres must release everything they have. And Cody, I don't care if you have a shot on goal. But if you don't have 4 hits at least. This is the last game you play as a Sabre. You come out hard and are a force. You can bet that you'll be replacing Adam Mair and Matt Ellis for the rest of the series.

Cody time to engergize the team and put some passion into the first two lines. Make them believe they can be physical. Be the hitter not the hittee.

Lets win this game.

Do you like 1pm games?

The 2010 Schedule came out and we all look for the matchups, when the Bills play who and what game would you like to go to. But does it all really matter? The Bills are going to bad this year. No ifs and buts about it. They aren't hiding it. They are installing new systems, new players are going to be in starting roles. They might even have a rookie starting at QB.

But the best part of the schedule, all Sunday 1pm games. Thats gorgeous. No late games, no 4pm games. I can watch and be done with it and go on with my day. No Monday Night Heartbreak, no Sunday night blowouts. Play at One and be done.

For those who care I should probably post the schedule and comment on the specifics. To me it doesn't matter, because if your gonna be bad, what does it matter who you play and when.

Week 1 - Sun. Sep. 12 Dolphins at Bills
Week 2 - Sun. Sep. 19 Bills at Packers
Week 3 - Sun. Sep. 26 Bills at Patriots
Week 4 - Sun. Oct. 03 Jets at Bills
Week 5 - Sun. Oct. 10 Jaguars at Bills
Week 6 - Bye
Week 7 - Sun. Oct. 24 Bills at Ravens
Week 8 - Sun. Oct. 31 Bills at Chiefs
Week 9 - Sun. Nov. 07 Bears at Bills (In Toronto)
Week 10 - Sun. Nov. 14 Lions at Bills
Week 11 - Sun. Nov. 21 Bills at Bengals
Week 12 - Sun. Nov. 28 Steelers at Bills
Week 13 - Sun. Dec. 05 Bills at Vikings
Week 14 - Sun. Dec. 12 Browns at Bills
Week 15 - Sun. Dec. 19 Bills at Dolphins
Week 16 - Sun. Dec. 26 Patriots at Bills
Week 17 - Sun. Jan. 02 Bills at Jets

So They open and close with division games. I like that format. Not that it matters, the Pats and Jets will have their way with this team. The Dolphins I don't think will be that great. The Bills hosting the Lions could be a garbage fest. And the Browns at Bills could be another matchup of bad bad teams. I can only imagine what Aaron Rogers does in week 2. Good thing the secondary is the only strength.

This will be a good development year and get the young guys will be the starters in 2011 experience against some good teams. The better teams they play the better they will be in the next couple years.

I am excited for the Draft, because those are the players who will hopefully bring the Bills back to the Playoffs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clash of the Titans.

Well I don't mean the teams as Titans.

I mean the announcers.

Rick Jeanneret vs Jack Edwards.

Two of the biggest homers in the league, and that's not a bad thing. Your audience is rooting for the team, so why not call it like the fans would. It may annoy the general fan and those who root for the other team. But thats the point, the Team feed should never be partial, its a waste of time. The Playoffs started so things will be only amped up and I'm sure Jack Edwards is pumped up, we all know how Rick is.

Lets listen to a few Jack Edward calls.

Oh my, who will he laugh at on the Sabres?

Wow, I can only imagine the monologue if they win game 1 tonight.

Ooo the old take that.

If I were a Bruin fan I think I would enjoy Jack. But I'm not. So lets clean up this post with the greatness of Mr Jeanneret.

For game 1 sake, and also how much I miss Jim Lorenz.

Why are all the goals scored by guys not on the team anymore?

Wait, here's one that still is.

awwww Sad Emery. Jack Edwards would have laughed at him.

But anyway the Sabres playoffs start tonight. Hopefully yesterday, put them on alert with all the road teams that won yesterday. A lot of people are downplaying this series as a potential snoozefest. I would never put anything down till play starts. All I know it will be a great series to listen too. With two of the more entertaining announcers on the mic.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What if I told....

You could get Drew Stafford production for 8 Million a year?

You would look at me crazy. Who would want that?

But what if I said he has some "intangibles"?

You would still say, they aren't worth that much money.

Well Chris Drury and Drew Stafford have almost identical stats for the season. What if Darcy actually ponied up that deal to Chris Drury? Sabre fans would be calling for the team to trade him everyday. But we all lament his loss, but what if losing Drury, resulted in the Sabres profiting in the long term, rather then in the short term. No doubt he would have put them in the playoffs last year. They wouldn't have gone far. But would have made the playoffs, maybe even the year before as well too.

Making the playoffs would have resulted in higher draft positions, meaning that drafting a Tyler Myers and Zach Kassian, might not have happened. Are the Sabres better off, in the upcoming years with young guys like that at entry level contracts, where they can spend extra money on vets, that can help? I think so.

Having 8 Million tied into a player on the downside, who maybe can give you 20 goals. Is insane in the Salary cap world of the NHL. Fans have lamented in what they have lost, rather what they have gained. Ryan Miller under contract for years to come, young talented players (like Tyler Ennis, who was gained in the Campbell trade), money not tied up in a couple players suffocating the team, like in Tampa. The Sabres have slowly restocked and retooled, letting their superstar, who is paid correctly, lead the team.

Call me a Darcy apologist, but no one gives him the respect he deserves. He operates with a budget. He doesn't bow to public pressure. He does things his way, no matter the criticism. Especially people on the video scouting procedure. Looks like its working by the way. Everyone is too quick to jump on him for screwing up, but slow to praise him. (the Moore trade was a bad one, but oh well)

I know they wanted to keep Drury, but it didn't work out. So instead of crying why me. They moved on with the guys they had, and kept on updating the roster when players were needed. Now they are 1 win away from a division championship and a run in the playoffs. Nobody had them winning the Northeast, especially after Montreal's spending spree. And no one credits Darcy for getting them back on track.

So would you still like a player with Drew Stafford Production but some intangibles, that might or might not help you win, for 13 million over the next two years?

I know I wouldn't. But I love young hungry players who are cheap and you add leaders at cheaper salaries.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Secret Meeting held before the Montreal game

(inside sabres locker room at the Bell Centre)

Derek Roy: Hey guys I got a plan.

Drew Stafford: What is it Roysie?

Jason Pominville: Yeah spill it.

Derek Roy: Wasn't that walk yesterday awesome?

Drew and Jason: Yeah it was gorgeous outside.

Derek Roy: Well with the weather getting better, I thought since we played bad against Toronto and the result was, we got to skip practice and take a walk instead. We should totally suck against the Habs tonight.

Jason: I don't know about that. We can wrap up the division tonight.

Drew: Yeah, If I don't play well, I might get benched for two midgets.

Derek Roy: Let me convince you. If we were kinda bad, and we got to skip practice and take a walk. Imagine if we're REALLY bad. We might get all that AND go out for Ice Cream later.

Jason Pominville: (eyes light up) OOOOOOO Pommers loves Ice cream.

Drew Stafford: Oh yeah, sign me up for some Panda paws.

Derek Roy: Well this is how we do it, shhhh Millers Coming.

Ryan Miller: Hey what are you guys talking about?

Jason Pominville: How we were going throw the...(gets kicked by Roy) I mean Thrash the Habs tonight.

Ryan Miller: Alright guys, I'm ready. Gotta put this division thing away.

Derek Roy: POMMERS! You almost blew up. If he knew our plan, he'd might do something. I think he's borderline psycho. Its like he cares about winning too much.

Drew Stafford: Totally. Its like take it easy, we get millions of dollars to play a game. Don't take it serious. Its not a real job. You really don't have to work that hard. Look at me.

Jason Pominville: I've been playing kinda hard lately.

Derek Roy. That's whats she said.

(they all laugh like 12 year olds)

Craig Rivet: What you dorks laughing about.

Drew Stafford: Your mom!

Craig Rivet: I'm going to pretend you just didn't say that. I really want to beat Montreal tonight.

Derek Roy: Ai Ai Captain.

Jason Pominville: Who can we get on this? Myers? Butler?

Derek Roy: I think its just the three of us. Plus Montador will probably screw something up on his own.

Drew Stafford: Yeah, and Mair is always good for a dumb penalty or two.

Derek Roy: Ok lets suck on three. Real quiet. One, Two, Three


Jason Pominville: We're totally gonna get ice cream.


The Sabres practiced on Monday, and there was no ice cream.

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.