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Sabres keeping busy June 2, 2011

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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As I watched the Canucks beat the Bruins in one of the better 1-0 games we’ve ever seen, I couldn’t help but feel that we would have been overmatched had this year’s Sabres even made it this far. Sometimes you just have to be honest, and over the last two playoffs the Sabres haven’t stepped up collectively as a unit to reach the level that playoffs demand.

Meanwhile the Thrashers franchise is going to be shipping up north of the border to Winnipeg – too late for there to be any significant impact for the 2011-12 season, but the realignment of the divisions for the season after should be very interesting. Die By The Blade contemplates a future where Winnipeg goes to the Western Conference, and one of Columbus, Nashville, or even Detroit moves East. Nashville by location makes sense for the Southeast, while Columbus would slot into the Northeast or Atlantic divisions. Bringing Detroit over to the Eastern Conference would go a long way in improving this conference just by their being here.

What is good to see though is that the Sabres are not sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for the next season. Brian McCutcheon has been let go from the Sabres coaching staff – the Sabres’ much-maligned special teams woes over the last couple of years have been attributed to him. While I’m not the best judge of whether that is fair or not, I think change will be good. With Gragnani expected to play on the Sabres PP next season, I’d like to see some good principles instilled in him.

Unfortunately the Sabres also had to say goodbye to Portland Pirates coach Kevin Dineen, who has done a stellar job with the Sabres’ affiliate. The success of the rookies who have come from up the AHL with the big club, as well as three straight rookie-of-the-year awards are testament to his coaching and vision. He is moving on to Florida to become the head coach there, and we wish him well in his travels, except when we play them of course – the Sabres struggled against the Panthers’ neutral zone this season, and it will be interesting to see what Dineen changes there. No word yet on replacements for either of the coaches, who are your recommendations?

Finally, today brought the news that 2010 first round pick, defenseman Mark Pysyk has been offered an entry-level contract with the Sabres. Since he is not age-eligible, this will mean that if he doesn’t make the Sabres roster after ten games, he will be sent back to the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, where he had 40 points and was +23 on a quite miserable season for the team.

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