Friday, February 24, 2012

A few notes as deadline day approaches

***As of right now, the Sabres sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with 59 points on the season. They are seven points behind Florida for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Seven points is not a crazy amount of points to make up in the standings, except for the fact that they need to jump over three other teams to get there. And even that, although daunting, is not impossible, except for the fact that many of the teams battling for position--Winnipeg, Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Buffalo and even Carolina, Montreal and the NY Islanders (who each have 58 points)--will be playing each other often during the home stretch.

The crux of the matter is the three point game. Many of the teams that Buffalo is in the race with will take their opponent to overtime with both teams "earning" points for their efforts. And that makes it difficult for the Sabres, if not almost impossible to make the playoffs this season.

***It's hard, if not nearly impossible, for some fans to root against the home team, but there seems to be a growing majority who hope that the Sabres miss the playoffs this year. Some of them hope that the team tanks and ends up with a lottery pick.

Fans in Buffalo have seen this team, constructed around Darcy Regier's "core," for nearly five years. We've seen the same weaknesses and generally the same results for the better part of those five years.

And there are many fans who are tired of the broken record. They're tired of Regier, their tired of Lindy Ruff and their tired of the core.

There's hope in Buffalo that if the team misses the playoffs, especially with the amount of money Terry Pegula has spent, that Regier and/or Ruff will see their 15 yr. tenure come to an end.

Methinks that would be a good thing.

***Darcy Regier was on the WGR's Schopp and the Bulldog last Friday, and it would seem as if the Sabres Director of Amateur Scouting, Kevin Devine, has moved up the ladder. Reiger mentions (1:25-mark) talking with Devine "our Director of...Assistant General Manager who still oversees our amateur scouting."

Good for Devine, he seems to have a real good eye for hockey players, and although not "official," it's a positive for the organization. Congrats.

***Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins took a shot at Buffalo, just like fellow New Englander, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Toronto Maple Leaves forward, Joffrey Lupul had done recently.

Calling Buffalo "the worst place in the NHL," Marchand is drawing the ire of Buffalonians.

He's in town tonight as the Bruins take on the Sabres and this was his follow up, "People have to learn how to have some fun and take a joke," Marchand said in First Niagara Center, where he and the Bruins will face the Sabres tonight. "It's always cold and usually rainy when we come here, and I was just playing around. I hope I didn't offend anyone."

He's right with the "take a joke" part.

Schopp and the Bulldog spent the first 45 minutes of their show talking about it, even though Schopp said repeatedly that it didn't bother him. They could have spent more time on the subject, but I couldn't listen to their blather anymore and turned them off.


***Sabres President Ted Black was on the Howard Simon Show for his weekly appearance.

Early on they jumped right into the playoff picture, the Stanley Cup, and the fact that no team lower than a five-seed has won the Cup.

Roll Ted (1:35-mark):  "The good news is, maybe unlike other teams, we're not under a financial mandate that we must make the playoffs or we don't hit our number. We're capitalized with Terry's resources so at least we don't have that pressure.

That pressure can sometimes create the urge to go for the short-term, to squeak into the playoffs to get playoff revenue. We can still maintain what we want to do long-term."

Black sees the writing on the wall for this season, if fact the week prior he said, "It would take a monumental effort for us to even make the playoffs, that's just the math, and not any kind of false hope or lack of hope."

Put it all together and even if they somehow garner four points from the next two games, they could still find themselves six or seven points out of a playoff spot come Monday, the NHL trade deadline.

And then there's the problem of that pesky road trip coming up next month which will take them to the west coast.

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