Eleven things about the Sabres after the trade deadline

Eleven things about the Sabres after the trade deadline

A famous man once said a poignant and sophisticated thing. It didn’t have anything to do with the Buffalo Sabres and the trade deadline, so you’re stuck with me.

General manager Tim Murray made a number of fine moves to move the club forward, and overall I’m excited with the prospect of his running the organization for a while. He’s close to strictly business with his statements and understands the media’s job without worrying about how they’ll read him. It works wonders for me.

As for what he acquired in jettisoning the majority of Buffalo’s valuable veterans, it won’t play out for a while. That’s mostly because the Sabres are still in the business of getting worse on the ice but better top-to-bottom, but it’s also because Murray isn’t pressing to be adequate as soon as possible rather great as quickly as time will allow.

I’ve got plenty of opinions on who they Sabres kept and who they shipped out. I’ll get to that in a few short paragraphs but I have to admit that I’ve spent most of this dreadful season — and certainly the time around the deadline and Pat LaFontaine exodus — grinding my teeth over the prevailing fan attitudes around the hockey club.

You can partially blame the media for this if you like — and yes, I’m in that group — but the need to grade every single move as if it’s the most important thing to ever happen to the City of Buffalo makes me want to chew on my gutters. Just because Puck Daddy knows he can reap the sweet Internet hit rewards by calling the franchise a joke doesn’t mean we need to fall in line with the Hate Brigade. Pundits make fun of bad teams. It’s called piling on. Don’t let it pile up.

As for some short- and long-term thoughts on the hot topics of the past week:

1) I’m sure there’s fault on both sides, but I’m inclined to think LaFontaine is more to blame than anyone else in his departure from Buffalo. If anything, I’d rather speculate on whether to blame Terry Pegula and higher-ups for not doing their due diligence on the man or clarifying their organizational structure.

2) Michal Neuvirth wearing No. 30 wouldn’t have been a problem unless he went on to be so good at goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres that the club had to decide whether they could retire the number for the both he and Ryan Miller You know what that would mean? That the Buffalo Sabres had one of the best problems ever.

3) If the Sabres can get a top-notch playmaker or scorer in the draft and sign at least one intriguing free agent (or trade target), there’s no reason the team can’t be an interesting bad team next year. If free agency, the latter could be a guy like Paul Stastny or Ryan Callahan but I’d expect Murray has a few “culture changers” on other teams’ rosters in mind. Remember, the Senators do not have a first round pick and Murray knows what he likes in Ottawa.

4) Speaking of Nolan, I hope he stays for a while. He’s a players coach who runs his operation like a soccer manager, which means Joe Sacco and Teppo Numminen amongst others are getting plenty good at one day being able to take the reins if Nolan fails. However, I don’t want any drama because his buddy skipped town. He either wants to be in Buffalo, or he doesn’t. Not saying he’s doing this, but turning this into a soap opera would be a real anti-progress move for the locker room. Decide soon.

5) I’m now alright with St. Louis, Minnesota or Montreal winning the Cup, mostly for the quality ex-Sabres who joined those teams but also so “Can’t win a Cup with Player X” fan has to quiet down… forever. This would especially be true and awesome in the case of Miller, Vanek or Pominville, in that order.

6) It’s tremendous that the team didn’t move Tyler Myers, and probably close to that good that they kept Christian Ehrhoff. Both could be integral pieces if and when the team becomes a playoff team in two years.

Michal Neuvirth

7) I’m just as open to Neuvirth becoming the starting goaltender as I am Enroth, which is to say let’s take a look at what they’ve got here.

8) Zemgus Girgensons is still going to be a beast. I’m not convinced Marcus Foligno doesn’t have something quite special in him, either.

9) They should retire Dominik Hasek’s number immediately after he goes into the Sabres Hall of Fame on March 29. I don’t care if Ted Nolan coaches the team. Who knows how long he’ll stick around?

10) There seems to be a Cody Hodgson or Tyler Ennis sentiment in town. I’d rather keep Ennis and deal Hodgson by about 5x if that’s the case.

11) Because of the “EVERYTHING’S IMPORTANT” crowd, I’m glad the team got back futures instead of some 24-year-old who will be judged forever by the next two weeks of games on an subpar hockey team.

 

11 Responses to Eleven things about the Sabres after the trade deadline

  1. glenn says:

    another great article. logical, interesting, and without agenda – a refreshing read. thanks

  2. Jeff says:

    I would love for buffalo to sign statsny, or Oreilly (but I think he’s rfa). I love what Murray is doing so far with this team, it’s a breath of fresh air from Darcy, his presses and everything have me hopeful. I also don’t think this rebuild is going to take as long as everyone thinks.

  3. Dave says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more! To me, there is a lot more fun in speculating the plethora of opportunities the Sabres have for the future than over-analyzing every single move the organization makes right now! Along with the help of Murray, this team will have a scary good looking product on the ice in 3 years!

  4. ST says:

    Agree on most points.

    Ultimately, I think it was a major clash of egos between Patty and Pegula. Both equally at fault for not anticipating such a situation, and then, for acting like snooty teenagers when it was made manifest. Disappointing.

    But I like what Patty brought us. Murray is just so nerdy that he is way cool. And Teddy should see this through. I’m sure he will. It’s his dream job, and would be his last in the NHL if he walked away now. He’ll get over the bitterness, and sign on the dotted line.

    I’d ride Enroth going forward. He’s good. Always has been.

    Myers and Ehrhoff should stay put. And, if made to choose, I’d keep Cody over Ennis, but I like both.

    “Old jersey numbers never die, they just fade away.” – General Douglas MacArthur (or maybe not).

    P.S. Thanks, Nick, for enabling the comments again. I feared that maybe you had grown tired of my (and Ms. Phoenix) monopolizing them. ;)

    • Nick says:

      I never disabled anything!

      • ST says:

        Well some little impish computer demon must have disabled them, because there had been no “reply” button, or any way to comment.

        In fact, even right now, if you click the previous (older) threads, there is still no way to reply or comment. Something is/was disabled in all the previous threads, except for these two newest ones.

        Unless it’s my computer acting up, or maybe I’m going crazy? Please feel free to confirm or deny my sanity at your pleasure. :)

        Anyway, happy to be back.

        • Leelee Phoenix says:

          I couldn’t post either. I think Nicholas wants us to shut up and take our nonsense elsewhere.

          • ST says:

            Nice to see you (and your words) again, Miss Golden Hair Surprise.

            Plainly, our nonsense will not be silenced! ;)

            So, any thoughts on the whole LaLa brouhaha? I do recall your being queasy when Patty was hired. Did his ousting confirm your doubts?

            P.S. The LaLa Brouhaha – would be a great band name. (In homage to the late Greg Buck)

  5. Leelee Phoenix says:

    I’m enthralled by the LaFontaine stuff, and genuinely still have no idea what happened. Of course, the local media is absolutely useless with the usuals playing sides (WGR pro-Sabres, Buffalo News anti-Sabres). I was neutral, I just said it was a desperate PR hire by Pegula, which it was, and it still worked. Fans genuinely like this horrible team after that, they are easily manipulated.

    I have little else to comment on, especially when it comes to Nolan, without screaming COMPEET LUNCH PAIL BLUE COLLAR, I’m fine with him getting a long-term deal or not.

    Oh, and I really like the Neuvirth trade. Good, moderately paid starting goalie who got screwed by the Caps who hate funny named Euros also and chose to start a worse Canadian kid.

    • ST says:

      Well, I can’t say that I like this team, since I don’t even *recognize* it right now. But, at least, I’m slightly more optimistic about the future.

      I like Murray (nothing to dislike, so far) and I’m glad that Teddy will get a few years to prove his worth, or not. And if the Murray/Nolan regime is successful, it will ultimately reflect well on Patty, since he hired them both. (And, of course, Bucky G. will make sure to remind us of that fact.)

      Bias thy name is Buffalo Sports Media.

      I, too, like our goalie situation now. Although I wish Mr. DeWulf well, I’m glad he’s gone. For maybe now the Sabres will start building their team properly: From center ice in, and not from goaltender out.