Expectations for this year’s version of Road to the Winter Classic needed to be tempered right from the get-go. The transition from Epix to NBC Sports was going to dull the product a bit as you’d expect when switching to basic cable from a premium network.
Even with the understanding that the NBCSN version of what Epix inherited from HBO is going to be diluted, the first episode failed to deliver many thought provoking insights from either the Sabres or the Rangers.
The first episode wades through the typical introductions and scene setting you’d expect. We get bite sized tidbits on Michael Grabner, Henrik Lundqvist while hearing from Alain Vigneault and Jimmy Vesey. Not Liev Schrieber then touches on Sabres veterans Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane before circling back with Buffalo mainstays Jason Pominville and Kyle Okposo. That’s right, second-year Sabre, Kyle Okposo is a mainstay.
Most of the Sabres off-ice action is focused on the team’s Bowl-A-Rama event where Zach Bogosian and Okposo are able to show some personality. The highlight of the segment being when Okposo has his bowling ball slip out of his hands. You can save your “he’s as bad at bowling as he is at hockey” jokes, I’m certain I’ve heard/seen them all. Continue reading →
Jason Botterill’s first year as general manager isn’t going as planned. The Sabres have regressed once again despite the rookie GM making over the blueline and pulling a trick rarely seen in the NHL; turning trash into treasure.
Botterill’s swap of Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno for Marco Scandella and Jason Pominville was no common trade. He managed to acquire a proven defenseman capable of filling the big minutes that Buffalo lacked in recent years while also bringing back a fan favorite who still had some tread left on his tires. The swap not only gave the Sabres the ability to take Josh Gorges off their top pair, it only cost them a pair of easily replaceable players.
That is unless you contribute to The Hockey Writers, the last bastion of very good hockey coverage on the internet®. On Sunday afternoon, we were graced with a wonderful piece on how badly Marcus Foligno is missed by the Sabres. After perusing the post I was left with only one conclusion: FJM.
What follows is the original post from THW on how badly the Sabres miss Marcus Foligno’s three goals along with my comments. My comments will be in bold.
Jason Botterill made a big statement this week, waiving Matt Moulson and assigning him to Ontario of the AHL. He also made his first in-season trade in an effort to improve a struggling club. Buffalo wasn’t the only hot spot in the hockey world this week as the Devils and Ducks made a big trade and Seattle set the groundwork to land an expansion franchise. We discuss all of that and which deals Botterill could make in order to set the Sabres up for improvement now and in the future.
The Sabres are seeing success in Rochester this season as the prospects Buffalo has in the Flower City have lifted the Amerks to second in the AHL’s North Division. Led by the likes of CJ Smith and Brendan Guhle, the Amerks are proving to be a development dream for the Sabres. In what’s looking like a lost season, does it make sense for Jason Botterill to pull up his growing youngsters, or should he stay the course and allow those players to develop away from the struggles of the NHL club?
We discuss this, the looming return of Zach Bogosian and George Parros’ first serious foray into suspensions on this week’s episode.
There have been some whispers that the Sabres may be lacking in the leadership department. Or at the very least, aren’t made of the type of players who don’t carry themselves – on and off the ice – the way players in winning organizations do. We break down whether or not that might be a plausible explanation for the Sabres struggles or if there are other factors at hand.
We also take a close look at the Matt Duchene trade and how the first big blockbuster of the season will affect the teams involved.
The Sabres can’t seem to lock down the play that saw them grab a pair of key wins in the past week. Chris and Tyler discuss what’s been keeping Buffalo from climbing higher in the standings and what can be done to address it.