Blog Archives

Tempering the McDavid/Eichel hype in Buffalo or Talking like an idiot

ARX_3633It’s been an interesting season in Buffalo. Regardless of how bad or horrendously bad you think the team is, there’s little reason to claim they’re uninteresting. And some of that is the debate between the merits of “tanking” and trying real hard to win games with a terrible roster.

There’s been a lot of resistance from a segment of the fan base and some of the scribes at The Buffalo News towards the idea of embracing the tank, and making the most out of this rebuild. Noted scribe Bucky Gleason dropped a whopper of a “MY COLUMN:” today, dropping a heaping serving of truth to all the tank enthusiasts who have dreams of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel dancing in their heads.

Instead of just saying how stupid it is, I’m going to point out how stupid it is.

Last year, sometimes in meetings with front-office staff and other times in casual conversations, Ted Black was telling people that everything would be fine after the 2015 draft. The master plan called for finishing last, allowing the Sabres to land either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

Not even half a sentence in and Bucky’s dropping that insider knowledge to create the illusion of insight. Ted Black, Tim Murray, and just about everyone in the organization has been referencing building with high picks since before the 2014 Draft. The Sabres have been building through the draft for four years, going back the 2012 Draft when they snagged Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons. At some point, you move on. Is it a huge deal to acknowledge you’ll be comfortable doing so at a certain point? Unacceptable.

Forget that the Sabres would have only a 20 percent chance of landing McDavid, considered the better of the two prospects this season. Sabres staffers and delusional fans, some of whom happen to be the same people, convinced themselves that Eichel also would answer their prayers.

Yes, the Sabres would have only a 20% chance of retaining the top pick if finishing dead last. This would be more than the 13.5% chance given to the team that finishes 29th, or the 11.5% chance given to the team that finishes 28th, as well as every other team in the lottery. It’s as if you’d have the best chance to get the best player should you finish last. What a revelation!

I know if I were a fan, the last thing I’d want is the team’s staff to be on board with whatever put the team in the best position to win. No need for that delusional fan mentality. There needs to be detachment from what the team might be able to do to improve their roster.

Bucky’s totally right. Getting Eichel would be a worthless consolation prize. It’s hard to convince yourself that Eichel could be a valuable choice when TSN’s Bob McKenzie says “both McDavid and Eichel project as bona fide franchise players, A++ prospects who will be No. 1 NHL centers” or Craig Button says “Eichel and McDavid are generational players” or any other prospect report says that it’s the case.

I’m gonna go with Bucky on this one. Then I’m going to go step in front of a bus.

Quick question: Did ownership or people in the front office, other than GM Tim Murray and his scouts, watch them play enough to make that assessment? Are they absolutely certain that either player would really save the franchise, the way Sidney Crosby supposedly saved the Penguins?

Quick question: does it matter what team staff is discussing when they ultimately cede the decision to GM Tim Murray and his scouts? Read the rest of this entry

On venom, change and attitude

For years, it’s been fairly easy to ignore the frequent moronic work of certain media types, some specifically, at an area publication.

While some prove time and time again to be quality reporters or writers or personalities in the Buffalo sports market, some have done the opposite. Today would’ve been another Bucky Gleason column that would be ignored by many tired of his antics over the years. But there’s a certain line in the piece about Ted Black preaching patience that was brought to my attention via twitter:

Black found the people around him to be different than the irate talk-show callers he hears and venomous bloggers he reads who want the roster blown up and everybody fired.

Using that outlet to paint the blogging community with that brush is insulting to the entire group that helps extend discourse on our teams. It’s a completely ignorant potshot that in itself is venomous.

Does the basis of intent for this slam come from the constant distaste for Bucky’s work that we as bloggers have shown over the years? I’m sure it has something to do with it. But this piece isn’t about Gleason being a moron. There’s something else to this.

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The message attempted to be conveyed in the column seems to be along the lines of “everything is fine, don’t worry about it.” It points to talk-show callers and bloggers as being negative, and indirectly, wrong.

Mentioned in the column is growing discontent amongst the fanbase about the roster and staff. Personally, I think the number of people who think Lindy Ruff needs to be fired isn’t very large. Personally, I don’t think he’s the problem or the only problem right now.

In response to the unrest, Ted Black had this to say:

“Is there any thought of getting rid of Darcy or Lindy right now? No. None.”

I find that answer incredibly disheartening.

When I say that’s disheartening, I don’t mean that I don’t like it because I think Ruff should be fired. I absolutely hate the idea that a coaching change isn’t an option at all. To me, when you say that there’s no thought to it, you’re not considering every possible route to get where we all want the team to go. Read the rest of this entry

Things we know: Bucky Gleason <3 Tim Kennedy

Should’ve seen it coming.

I mean, it was set up perfectly. Sabres host the Rangers on Saturday night. The Buffalo News runs “Inside the NHL” on Sundays. Then the lineups were announced last night, and the intelligent Sabres fans collectively let out a sigh of relief. Because we’d all be thinking the same thing:

“At least we don’t have to worry about another stupid Bucky Gleason column about Tim Kennedy.”

But, here we are.

Why the Buffalo News seems to think it’s a good idea by letting their sports department run continually regurgitated, bleeding-heart columns run in their paper is beyond me. We, as Sabres fans, are sick of it already. I hope the rest of Sabres Nation doesn’t mind me speaking for them, but the ones who agree with Bucky tend to be the ignorant type who don’t know things like what league Mark Pysyk plays in (WHL), or knows who Mark Pysyk is (our 1st round pick this year)… or can spell “Pysyk.”

I’ll let the self-appointed leader of discontent take it away:

The past two months have been difficult for Kennedy, much worse than he ever envisioned. He has been waived twice since he was awarded $1 million in arbitration. Sabres fans who watched him go unclaimed snickered, concluding management made the right decision when buying out his contract and releasing him.

Kennedy could have been picked up by any team for $550,000. The Sabres could have claimed him and paid him $716,666, including his buyout for this year. It would have been less than they offered him over the summer and effectively put the bullets back in the gun. They passed. Read the rest of this entry

Adventures in Buffalo sports fandom

The most important thing that blogging has done for the internet is give a voice to everyone.

That may not always be a good thing, as my friend Mike, a past 3MI contributor, pointed out.

From Bleacher Report, by far the premier outpost of sports opinions on the interwebs (to sports what TMZ is to world news), comes this gem entitled “Buffalo Sports Teams: Stop Taking Advantage of Your Fans” from a person called “Alec Joy”.

A quick snippet:

Clearly, we cannot rely on the Bills to create excitement so let’s turn to the Sabres and the focus of the majority of my anger in Buffalo Sports.

Two Words: Darcy Regier.

Yes, the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, Darcy John Regier is, in my opinion, the worst administrative professional in all of sports. Regier is responsible for the loss of such players as Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Clarke MacArthur, J.P. Dumont, and Martin Biron for little, or no, compensation.

I’m not going to touch his arguments, because they’re flat out stupid.

Read the rest of this entry

The Apocalypse Is Upon Us!

Something is definitely wrong here. I’m not referring to the Sabres actually getting Ryan Miller signed to a decent contract before he opts for UFA status.

Did anyone read this column in today’s Buffalo News?

The pieces are starting to come together, little by little, with every day the Buffalo Sabres are removed from the horror of last summer. There was a renewed sense of enthusiasm Friday in HSBC Arena after they signed Ryan Miller, a move that made their future seem brighter and their intentions more genuine.

A positive piece by Bucky Gleason? Our Bucky Gleason? Couldn’t be.

The money wasn’t important Friday so much as the positive message that reverberated throughout the organization and across the league. Sabres owner Tom Golisano and managing partner Larry Quinn have taken their share of criticism — who, me? — over the past 13 months. This time, they bucked up, did it right and restored a few ounces of credibility after losing a ton last summer.

Now, the Sabres are back in the game.

Bucky commending Sabres management? This can’t be right. There’s gotta be sign that ol’ Buck is still behind this.

It was a grand departure from business practices that led to Chris Drury and Daniel Briere bolting, Brian Campbell getting traded and the franchise landing on its ear. By golly, maybe they’ve finally learned their lesson.

What?!? It took him seven paragraphs to mention the former co-captains and the departed red head? SEVEN?!?

What is going on here?

Why is no one worried about Dan Paille?

As noon rolls around on July 1, 2008, Sabres fans can breathe easy knowing the core of the team isn’t going to walk away from Buffalo in the coming hours. Sure, someone might shed a tear for Dmitri Kalinin, but I don’t expect there to be much of that.

Daniel PailleThe big concern this year is the team’s restricted free agents. The Sabres were able to get Paul Gaustad under contract before the Noon, Eastern Time deadline, so that leaves the select few of Steve Bernier, Clarke MacArthur and Daniel Paille.

With all the talk of what these guys may get, the one name that should pop out is Paille’s.

While Dan isn’t exactly a core member of the team quite yet, he has proven himself as a pretty nice player. 24 years old, loads of potential, possibly captain material on the verge of being a 20-goal scorer and defensively responsible to boot. Who wouldn’t want this guy?

For those who remember Bucky Gleason’s “If I Were GM” column, that’s worth a 4 year, $5 million deal. I tore it apart there, and now it looks like even that was a low-ball.

Read the rest of this entry

This is why Bucky is not the GM

For those unaware, I am not a fan of Buffalo News columnist Bucky Gleason.

I know I’m not alone.

Gleason’s pathetic agenda against Sabres management has polluted his work for as long as I can remember. He had a field day when a couple unnamed players left last July 1st. As a Sabres fan, it bothers me knowing that many fans who don’t follow the team closely might believe his garbage.

Today, I opened up my copy of the News to see an illustration of the joke himself on the front of the sports page. I was disheartened to see that he reprised his “If I was GM” column from last season. I wondered how long it’d take him to reference Chris Drury and/or Daniel Briere.

First line. Big surprise.

Basically, Gleason goes through and acts like he knows what kind of contracts free agents would be willing to take, or casts aside players who seem expendable. Read the rest of this entry