There will be a new pair of feet behind the Sabres’ bench for the 2011-12 season.
Brian McCutcheon has been relieved of his duties, after enjoying 11 seasons standing aside Lindy Ruff. He enjoyed some ups and downs in his tenure, which included work on the power play – work that he was relieved from in 2009 in favor of James Patrick.
The Sabres have yet to comment.
McCutcheon’s dry stats:
Former head coach of the Amerks
- 128-82-9 over 3 seasons
- Took the Amerks to 2 Calder Cups (lost both)
- Amerks’ franchise record for most points (111) and wins (52) in a season
Former head coach of the Columbus Chill (ECHL)
- 44-21-5 over one season (lost in round 2)
- ECHL coach of the year
- Chill’s franchise record for most points and wins in a season
See the pattern there? He brings his teams into greatness, only to be tragically foiled in the playoffs. Sounds like a perfect match for Buffalo, given the Sabres’ history – and maybe it is for this reason that Buffalo will be looking for new inspiration.
McCutcheon’s possible replacements include Kevyn Adams and Mike Foligno.
Help lead us to glory, Kevyn.
Sabres fans might remember Adams as the assistant captain of the Carolina Hurricanes team that eliminated the Sabres in the Eastern Conference Final in 2006. At the expense of Buffalo, Adams would go on to lead his team to the Stanley Cup – but now, to Buffalo’s benefit, he may take that winning experience and put it right behind the Sabres’ bench. Adams has been with Buffalo for the past two seasons as a player development coach. The players already know him, which would make for an easy transition.
Fans have plenty of warm memories of Mike Foligno, who suited up for the Blue and Gold as a player from the 1981-82 to the 1990-91 seasons. Foligno was named as an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks in 2010. He was the head coach of the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL from 2003-2009, where he was able to coach his son and Sabres prospect, Marcus.
While one of these two will likely claim the job left behind by McCutcheon, the other may very well land in Portland/Rochester. The head coach of the Sabres’ AHL affiliate, Kevin Dineen, has departed for a head coaching job in Florida.
Both Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com and Joe Pinzone of BuffaloWins.com have agreed that Foligno should wind up with the AHL gig. In fact, Pinzone is convinced that Adams will be up with the Sabres and that Foligno has already been tabbed as the new head coach for the farm team.
By the way: here’s a big ol’ tip-o-the-sunglasses to Pinzone, who first broke the news that McCutcheon would be released.
Something’s gotta’ give.
The Sabres would purportedly like to add to their defense to develop a true shutdown pair. Buffalo’s locker room is already pretty full, however. If Pegula and Regier pull in a big name on July 1st, then a player (or two) are going to have to be shown the Zamboni door.
This year’s Stanley Cup Final features two former Sabres.
Well, kind of. One of these guys barely sweat into his jersey enough to justify a game-worn jersey auction on Ebay – but dangit, this is the Pegula Era, which boasts the mantra “Once a Sabre, always a Sabre” (or something like that). So with that trumpeted promise held close to our hearts, we can now look hopefully towards the future, when one of these two former heroes of the Blue and Gold may return to Buffalo for Alumni Day.
Ah, Danny Paille – the 20 goal scorer that never was – but came oh so close. In the 2007-08 campaign, Paille managed to pile up 19 goals. He then confidently sped into full reverse, scoring 12 in ’08-’09, 10 in ’09-’10, and 6 in ’10-’11.
He was traded to the Bruins in the ’09-’10 season, after managing to score zero goals in just two games played with Buffalo. In return, the Sabres received a 3rd round pick for Paille’s prowess, a pick that turned into Kevin Sundher in the 2010 draft.
Paille, often scratched from the lineup for the Bruins, has managed to have some impact in the playoffs, having tallied 2 goals and 2 assists. He was given a team-low 6 shifts in Boston’s Game Seven against Tampa, for a lowly 5:14 off the bench.
Meanwhile, Sundher is currently listed as the 10th best prospect for Buffalo on SabresProspects.com. Soooo, thanks for that, Danny, and good luck in the Cup Finals (getting ice time).
Ah, Raffi Torres – you are gone, but not forgotten. Mainly because you skipped town only at the end of last season, after burning up this town as one of the most heralded free agent signings of the 2010 deadline. Unfortunately you failed to burn anything up during your tenure here, failing to score a single goal in 14 games. Sorry Raffi, but 5 assists and a -3 rating was an astounding failure on your part.
What makes Torres’ place in the annals of Sabres history even more appalling is that we had to give up Nathan Paestch and a 3rd round pick (Petr Straka) to acquire him from Columbus. Sure, Paeassttchstch and a 3rd (Straka) may not seem like a lot to give up, but it sure is when you give those things away for a whole lotta’ nothing. Plus, how many parents in Buffalo got tired of explaining that Torres was not THIS Raffi?
Torres was signed as an UFA after the 2009-10 season by the Vancouver Canucks (lucky [expletive]). He has since relished his role in the bottom six of that monster of a team, recording 14 goals and 15 assists in the regular season, and curiously matching Paille’s playoff stats of 2 goals and 2 assists through the playoffs.
So there you have it, folks. Our two departed heroes for this season. One of them is going to win the Stanley Cup without us, and one or both of them may someday return to the Queen City for a free room and board spree on Terry Pegula’s
Wallet Alumni Day. I am setting my autograph book aside for that one.
Until then, we can all enjoy watching one of these guys winning the Cup from afar.
*Editors Note: we considered including a poll here, so folks could vote which of these two Sabres fans should be rooting for. But seriously, between these two, what’s the point?
The Next Ones.
WHEN: June 24th – 25th
WHERE: The Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
BAR TRIVIA: This marks the first time the draft has been in Minnesota since the North Stars hosted the draft in 1989. The Sabres have selected defensemen with their first pick in 4 of the last 5 drafts: Dennis Persson (2006 24th overall), TJ Brennan (2007 31st overall – 2nd round), Tyler Myers (2008 12th overall), and Mark Pysyk (2010 23rd overall).
It’s time for someone to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
And it’s time for fans to get their dabbers out, as Sabres BINGO! returns for Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It sure sucks that the Sabres are out of it, but we can all at least have fun at Claude Julien’s chins’ expense.
Or is it “Claude Julien Chins’?” Nevermind.
As always, click on the pic for a full size picture. Oh, and keep an eye out for a special Scarface reference!