This week has been beat up on the Buffalo Sabres week. While much of it is probably well deserved, it’s hard to hear just how bad the situation seems to be behind the scenes of that franchise and it will be interesting to see if changes are made or things are ever actually done about it. The shame is that for as bad as the Sabres have been, there is a lot of support for that organization to do well and be successful.
Kevyn Adams fired head coach Ralph Krueger on Wednesday. Steve Smith was also let go as the associate coach. Adams said during his media availability that a change needed to be made now. The concern, however, is that a coaching change is really the least of the Sabres problems.
During his 31 Thoughts podcast, Friedman said: “There is something there in the way they run their teams that throws things off track and the belief is that the latest regime with the Bills came in and they reached a written agreement as to what they can do and what they can’t do.” In other words, the Buffalo Bills — who have been much more successful than the Sabres lately — had a management team come in and tell the ownership group to stay out of the way. And, that the Pegulas have had much less influence on the day-to-day operations of the football team is why they’ve recently been more successful.
Friedman went on to say that the management team needs to maintain a level of respect for the owners, but the owners also need to trust the management team they hire to do their job. The Bills seem to have figured that out and the Sabres don’t have that. “There’s no question it became a factor in the Eichel negotiations, and there’s no question it became a factor in the Skinner negotiations,” Friedman said.
Friedman suggests if a clear delineation can’t be sorted, moving onto the next steps of working on players like Rasmus Dhalin or Jack Eichel will never matter.
Until the Sabres ramp up their scouting and stop having inexperienced hands controlling what happens with the team, things might not get better. The Pegulas are being blasted for cutting back in the wrong areas and consistently hiring people who can’t turn this team in a positive direction. Moreover, if things are expected to change, that change needs to start at the top.
Some are suggesting that either the Pegulas bring in experienced management, scouting and a coaching staff, then get out of the way while offering the proper resources to let them effectively do the job they were hired to do, or sell the team to someone who will.
What Are the Sabres?
There is a video that the Sabres released at the start of the season that showed the behind-the-scenes of the signing of Taylor Hall. Looking back it now, there are questions about what the Sabres were ultimately trying to be this season. Was the signing of Hall meant to signal the team was going for it? Or, was this an evaluation year for the organization?
Friedman argued that Hall fell into the Sabres lap, but now, the team will need to decide what to do with the player. That too will signal what the team is. That Krueger frequently referred to Hall as the “tipping point” and said the team is much closer than people think speaks to what the mentality of the coach was. And, that Kim Pegula was so vocal about the relationship between Krueger and Adams, but the team now has no set direction is troubling. It really brings that video and what was said during the Sabres call with Hall into a clearer view.
Friedman believes Hall will be moved and he pegs the New York Islanders as the best fit.
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