Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why do I get the feeling Pens/Caps is going 7 games?

From this Buffalo fan’s perspective, it would be just another layer of crap for the Sabres to muck through as they're being forced to play a waiting game to announce the hire of their new general manager.

Based upon everything we've been hearing from the media and various insiders, it's a foregone conclusion that  Pittsburgh Penguins associate general manager Jason Botterill has the job. Although no official announcement has (or can?) been made a this time, all indications—from insider tweets to the fact that Botterill was the only GM candidate to have a second interview with the Sabres—we’re pretty sure he’s the man owners Terry and Kim Pegula want.

So why the hold up?

You got me.

Word on the street is that Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and the NHL want to wait for Pittsburgh’s second round match-up with the Washington Capitals to finish. If true, the reasoning behind the delay couldn’t possibly make sense as, for an AGM, there’s no difference between making an announcement at any time during a playoff series or waiting until the end. Botterill is an associate general manager and like his front-office brethren in Pittsburgh, the playoffs are in the hands of the players and coaching staff. And even if their job wasn’t completely finished, GM Jim Rutherford is…the general manager. He’s in charge.

Perhaps it's the NHL not wanting, as Sabres beat writer Paul Hamilton said this morning on WGR550, to detract from a marquis matchup like Pittsburgh/Washington. Or maybe, from a fatalistic Buffalo sports' fan standpoint, the NHL just likes sticking it to Buffalo whenever they get the chance, especially in this rebuild/tank, Sabres-era. Although rather unlikely, there's been plenty of talk that the league was none too thrilled with how the team conducted itself during the Sabres consecutive last place finishes (especially with their former GM) and I wouldn't put it past them to make life difficult in less overt ways, like scheduling, or even making them wait on a potential GM who will have a ton on his plate once he's announced.

Whatever the reason, if Botterill is in fact the future GM in Buffalo, the Sabres will need to wait until the end of the Pittsburgh/Washington series and I get the feeling that this one might br headed for a seventh game.

The Penguins are at home for Game-6 with a 3-2 series lead and look to have Washington's number, but you never know. Someone or something might light a stick under Alexander Ovechkin's butt to get him playing a full 60 minutes and maybe, just maybe, the poor performances Caps goalie Brayden Holtby has had may have gotten turned around in Saturday's come-from-behind win for Washington. Add in the fact that it would drive the Pegulas and those of us in Sabreland a little batty while having to wait two more days for the official word on Botterill and the long odds of Washington winning in Pittsburgh tonight may have be a little less.

Which leads me to this, if this series goes to seven games and if Lemieux and the NHL are screwing around with Buffalo, I'm looking for a little poetic justice with the Pens in losing a series they should have won and losing a very talented front office person like Botterill in the process. It won't make up for lousy season the Sabres just had nor the string of bad breaks and/or bad luck the franchise has had ever since winning the rights to draft Gilbert Perreault, but at least maybe we can say goodbye to the last three years and begin again with a new GM and eyes firmly focused upon the future.

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