Archive for July, 2012:

Sabres Experiencing “C” Change

“C change.” Get it?

No?

“Sea change.” It’s not funny when I have to explain it. Moving on…

Say what you want about the latest Sabres moves making the team grittier. There’s a different dynamic shift happening at the FNC, and it’s one that can have a much larger impact in the locker room, and on the ice.

Remember last year, when the great debate was “which one of these Old Core guys deserves the C?” As a fan base, we never came to a consensus on that one. Eventually, Lindy Ruff held his unemphatic little Letter Luncheon and handed the C to Pommers, and the A to the rest of the Old Core. I like Pommers – he’s as consistent as they come on the ice, and I love a guy who leads by example – but Jason just isn’t the general that troops follow into the gates of Hell.

Pommers 300x217 Sabres Experiencing C Changebuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Pommers.png 350w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

Our captain, by default?

Heck, remember when Craig Rivet arrived, and the team (including said “Old Core”) voted to name him captain instantaneously? Goodness, that said volumes about the lack of leadership character on the roster.

Call the Sabres of seasons past “soft” if you want to. Fair enough. But besides the addition of sandpaper, it’s time to recognize Regier’s success at adding some heavyweight captain material to this team, both in the draft and on the markets.

We began “the conversation” fittingly on Twitter last night:

Sabres Captain Tweet 1 Sabres Experiencing C Changebuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Sabres-Captain-Tweet-1-300x52.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 519px) 100vw, 519px" />

Sabres Captain Tweet 2 Sabres Experiencing C Changebuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Sabres-Captain-Tweet-2-300x50.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />

After a little digging, we added to the list:

  • Marcus Foligno – was captain in Sudbury
  • Zemgus Girgensons – captain in Dubuque, highest-touted leader of the 2012 draft class
  • Brayden McNabb – captain in Kootenay

I stopped digging there, realizing how far the leadership dynamic has shifted since that luncheon last year. In a small space of time (and some work in previous years’ drafts), the Sabres have gone from a team of followers to a cast-iron squad of “Follow me, boys!” trench warriors.

The added grit is going to be nice. But the addition of so much depth of strength of character is really the thing that will right the ship and get us sailing back into the playoffs. Just the sea change we needed.

As usual: well played, Darcy. Well played.

Go Sabres.

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#UFADay Begins Benignly for Sabres

1

Currently, #UFADay continues to be #UFADay.

But to this point, the Sabres haven’t made a move. Aside from parting ways with Brad Boyes, who signed an actually reasonable contract with the Islanders – 1 year for 1 mil – there hasn’t been a reason to shuffle the locker room stables just yet.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Sure, many Sabres fans wanted to be this guy today:

 

 #UFADay Begins Benignly for Sabres

And I can’t say I blame them. Landing a Parise would bring a heckuva lot of excitement to our #UFADay, but as I mentioned in my last post, can we really afford another “Vanekontract?”

Thoughts:

  1. Knowing full well that we were losing Boyes today, I still was secretly holding out hope that the Sabres would somehow sign him for 1 mil for 1 year, while simultaneously packing Leino off somewhere – anywhere, really. Didn’t happen, and there’s no surprise about that.
  2. With the run on grit in the UFA market today (including the aforementioned Konopka), you gotta wonder what the Sabres’ plans are to get bigger. Perhaps now is Corey Tropp’s time to shine.
  3. After losing so many Amerks to Europe and the KHL, I was surprised to not see Regier make some moves to bring in some solid AHL talent. It’s still early.
  4. I can’t say how relaxing it was to have a “day off” from the UFA frenzy for once. After making the big splashes last season (Regehr, Ehrhoff, and Leino) there wasn’t a pressing need to show how seriously intent Pegula is on turning this team into a championship team. The “we’ll award you handsomely” point was made last year, so kudos for being more money-wise this time around.

#5 gets it’s own private space on this commentary. Feeling bored with all the non-happenin’s from the FNC? Count your hockey gods blessings.

For once, we’re not the mickey mouse organization of the NHL (thank you Devils for possibly taking that crown of thorns from us, as Parise and Brodeur are looking for greener pastures – we’ll see how that works out. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Devils fans). We’re not mourning the loss of Brad Boyes here.

Remember, on July 1st, 2001, Sabres fans woke up to the news that we had indeed dealt Dominik Hasek to the Wings for Slava freakin’ Kozlov (not sure who was more unhappy, the Sabres or Kozlov) a first round pick (Paille), and “future considerations” (which yielded us nothing).

HasekCup 300x175 #UFADay Begins Benignly for Sabresbuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HasekCup.jpg 600w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

Aw, hell. Who can blame him?

This isn’t 2007, when we lost Briere and Drury (mine as well count Grier, Campbell, McKee, Dumont et al as a part of the overall losses from that Sabres generation, too).

And it’s not 2011, the year of the big money bang.

It’s 2012. We’ve got a glut of defensemen, and suddenly a glut of centers. As I said in my UFA preview post, our best value return for investment is in the trade market. After all, why pay Zach Parise a signing bonus of $12 million dollars this season and the next, when you can use the assets you’ve patiently collected over the last few years in a cap-friendlier and rink-deadlier trade? Bobby Ryan, I hope you get a call from your agent soon, and I hope he has something to say to you about how lovely the architecture is in the Queen City.

I’d love a “wacky inflatable tube man” celebration today as much as the next fan, but that’s not for this year. Instead, we need to be patient, and keep building for the future, you know, for a Stanley Cup celebration.

That’s the kind of party we want to have.

Go Sabres.

 

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