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Category: Buffalo-Sabres

What Kind Of Build In Buffalo?

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

There are a lot of reasons the job of an NHL general manager is a tough one. Here's the latest one to add to the list: How do you know what kind of team to build these days?

It sure seemed like the NHL was going back to a speed game when the Pittsburgh Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Last year's Washington-Vegas Cup final certainly highlighted speed but both of those teams were "heavy" as well.

This season seemed to be all about speed when you consider teams like Tampa Bay, Toronto and Calgary that roared to success over 82 games. Then the playoffs started. Upsets were everywhere. Columbus, Carolina and St. Louis were among the teams advancing. Boston forged on. The Lightning, Leafs and Flames were doused.

By the end, the final was between the Bruins and the ultra-heavy Blues. Speed seems to be what you want in the regular season. Brawn seems to answer the call in the postseason. What's a GM to do?

"It's always trying to find out do you have enough skill to go through it but is that skill willing to get into the hard areas and compete in certain areas?" Sabres GM Jason Botterill said here in the hours leading into the NHL draft. "What both organizations showed is that they faced injuries throughout their runs and they had the depth to step in. Guys could come in who had been out of the lineup and contribute right away.

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Too Much Money For Jeff Skinner?

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

It took weeks, maybe months, longer than most in Buffalo wanted, but with the clock ticking before the beginning of signing season, the Sabres and Jeff Skinner have come to terms on an extension that will keep winger in upstate New York for the foreseeable future.

Amid speculation the two sides were inching closer towards a pact, the Sabres announced Friday evening that Skinner has inked an eight-year, $72-million deal, a pact which signifies a massive raise for the 27-year-old and makes him Buffalo’s second-highest paid player behind captain Jack Eichel. The big-money deal for Skinner comes on the heels of his career year, as the sharpshooting winger scored 40 goals for the first time and matched his 63-point career high, a total he has now hit thrice in his nine seasons in the NHL.

Without question, the $9-million cap hit is higher than most projected for Skinner. When trying to estimate the value of a potential contract extension for Skinner earlier this season, it seemed reasonable that he would pull down somewhere in the $7.5-million range on a new pact and possibly even eclipse an $8-million AAV given he designated for unrestricted free agency and would have been a hot commodity on the open market. Skinner putting pen to paper on a contract worth $9-million per season is something few forecasted, however.

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Looks Like Jeff Skinner Will Be Staying In Buffalo

 

added 7:52am on 6/8/19, Buffalo release is below.

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It’s Official- Ralph Krueger Is The Head Coach Of The Buffalo Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. (May 15, 2019) --- The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has hired Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history. 

“Throughout his career, Ralph has shown the ability to adapt to a variety of high-pressure environments while leading some of the world’s elite players,” Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill said. “His strong communication skills, leadership and diverse background make him a uniquely qualified candidate to lead our team going forward.”

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The Buffalo Sabres Are Getting A Different Type Of Coach In Ralph Krueger

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

...There's never been an NHL coach with the eclectic kind of resume of the 59-year-old Krueger has, one filled with unique entries both inside and outside of hockey.

[RELATED: Sabres reportedly to hire Ralph Krueger as 19th coach in franchise history]

If Dan Bylsma was a safe choice from the hockey world and Phil Housley was a reasonable lunge for a first-timer, Krueger represents completely out of the box. Probably in the history of the franchise.

At this point, it's safe to say trying something different is the biggest thing fans wanted out of this search. Even if it fails in a couple of years.

And this is certainly different.

Jacques Martin was not. Neither was Dave Tippett or Todd Richards. Sheldon Keefe was a hot pick but why would the Toronto Maple Leafs give him permission to talk to an archrival in their division anyway?

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Ralph Krueger Will Be The Next Coach Of The Buffalo Sabres

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Report- Todd McLellan Could Be The Next Coach For The LA Kings

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Phil Housley Finished In Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 7, 2019) --- Buffalo Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill has announced that Head Coach Phil Housley has been relieved of his duties.

 


added 1:15pm, from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

There's no other way to slice it. Phil Housley's two seasons as coach rate among the most disappointing in Buffalo Sabres history.

There's plenty of blame to spread around, and General Manager Jason Botterill did his head coach no favors with some brutal roster construction. But the fact remains the coach takes the fall in these situations and Housley hit town with a lot of hype after the Nashville Predators got within two wins of a Stanley Cup. He was simply not good enough behind the Buffalo bench.

In two years under Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma, the Sabres totaled 81 and 78 points, respectively. In two years under Housley and Botterill, the numbers are 62 and 76 points. Frankly, the GM is lucky he's not joining Housley on the unemployment line.

Terry and Kim Pegula have blind faith in Botterill, much like they do in Bills GM Brandon Beane. Over time, the Pegulas -- especially Kim -- came to loathe Murray's abrasive style. They foolishly took the players' word that Bylsma needed to go. Now they're taking Botterill's word that the coaching was the big problem here. We'll see.

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  Tags: phil+housley

Morning Line- Mike Harrington

The players essentially ran out coach Dan Bylsma two years ago after seasons of 81 and 78 points, respectively. Housley had 62 last year and is at 72 with four games left this time....

Housley continues to play good soldier in all this, even though his team has gone 1-11-2 in the last 14 games to slip to 27th place in the NHL's overall standing. The coach refuses to throw anybody under the bus....

It's a constant theme with a club that has won just 14 of its last 53 games. Housley tried to talk about the way his team played in Thursday's overtime loss to 28th-place Detroit as a way to show it hasn't quit. But he had no answer when asked about its abysmal road play: No wins in the last 14 games and just two goals in the last three.

-Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News after the Sabres lost to the Islanders 5-1 last night.  Harrington has more on the Buffalo Sabres.

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A Bad Game For The Buffalo Sabres

from Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News,

When the Buffalo Sabres were on the verge of taking over first place in the NHL, their fans inside KeyBank Center chanted, "We want 10."

The four months since that remarkable 10-game winning streak have included coach Phil Housley calling the Sabres' play soft, team leaders questioning pride within the locker room and all involved growing disgusted with their lack of consistency.

Another call for change was made after what Jack Eichel called an "embarrassing" performance Tuesday night in Canadian Tire Centre. The Sabres were shut out, 4-0, by the last-place Ottawa Senators, who fired their coach less than one month earlier and are regarded as one of the most dysfunctional franchises in professional sports.

Perhaps more troubling than the result, Buffalo (31-36-9) has the fewest points in the NHL since it sat atop the league's standings on Nov. 28, and it became the first team to lose 13 consecutive road games since the 1993-94 Winnipeg Jets.

"For whatever reason, the last couple months, the inconsistency has been a consistent thing," Kyle Okposo lamented. "I think that with the effort piece, in the last month it’s been too much up and down for my liking. I think before that it was really good. We just have to have better respect for the game and we have to have more accountability. We have to have more accountability."

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Watch the game highlights below.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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