The 3-2-1

September 14, 2019 - 9:10 am
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The 3-2-1

As we get set for the start of another NHL season, there's no better time to hammer out three quick points, while raising awareness of the dire need of the 3-2-1 point system in the NHL. They need it. We've gone over it. But here's some news stuff!

3. The Offer Sheet Wars That Weren't

The NHL RFA system is broken. It's only broken because we still live in a world where the men that run these teams, fail to use every avenue at their disposal to improve their team. No, I'm not upset that Mitch Marner wasn't offer-sheeted, I never really fully expected him to be. There are middle-tier RFAs that most definitely fit the bill, though. There are teams that are up against the cap, allowed to operate freely without any challengers. At least when Steve Yzerman was the GM in Tampa we could buy the BS argument that nobody wanted to get on Stevie Y's bad side. You wanna be friends with the guy right? Now that Y has left for Detroit how is it that Tampa can offer Brayden Point 3 years at 5.7 million? Pierre Lebrun tweeted THAT was their latest offer. In a just and ruthlessly competitive NHL, Point would tell the Lightning to bleep off, and never play there again. Then a team that knows it's in position for a Cup run over the next four years, would load up an offer sheet and sign him. He'd take it for... ya know, the MONEY, and the chance to win multiple Cups. But, that still hasn't happened... so Tampa will probably just sign him for like... 6.8? And they'll be celebrated for being so good at managing the cap. It certainly is a lot easier when you have convinced other teams and owners not to challenge you, and you've sold every player in the league on the importance of loyalty and family. Good stuff guys. I'm not kidding when I say I'm going to have a hard time ever taking this league seriously until the GMs (or owners, or players) start competing like it's a competition. Even the talk about offer sheets can't get it's story straight. Remember the Aho sheet? First it was that Carolina was gonna be mad! Then it was that Montreal did them a favor! Wow what a favor! In ONE day the story switched from GMs won't do it because their colleagues will get mad, to it's TOO friendly. Stop hiring former hockey players, and start hiring people that are better suited in asset management.

2. Oh yeah, the Sabres

Every year I talk myself into the Sabres being good. Nearly every year, that doesn't work out. The good news is that this year, I'm not even working for it. I have no expectations for them at all. I'm glad they changed coach, something that should have happened 9 months ago. A lot of the preseason build-up includes the notion that they won't be such a mess in their own end this year. There's a universal, "Did you SEE what they were doing last year?" and that just burns me even more. Just about everyone around the league, team, city, world, knows they were a mess defensively, and yet it was such a battle for them to make the coaching change.

Jason Botterill threw away a good start to last year, and half a season of what could have been a time to get things going in the right direction. That was a half a season to showcase a more defensively responsible Rasmus Ristolainen. A half season to NOT be the worst team in hockey over that stretch. A half season to try to convince other UFAs that this team's hot start, was a sign of things to come. Instead he, like his predecessor Tim Murray, watched a season die. The good news for Botterill is that he made it through and got a third bite at the apple. I said it when they hired Kreuger and I'll say it again... he may have hired his own replacement. The pressure should absolutely be on Botterill this year, and if things go south, I wonder if Kreuger could be the one to slide upstairs and start running the show. He presents himself well, and in a very Sean McDermott-like fashion. Lots about belief, and buy-in, and togetherness. Their motto this year is "play connected". I hope things go well enough for the Sabres for the GM and Coach to stay connected.

1. There are comebacks, and there are comebacks.

I'm going to run the risk of angering some of the Josh Allen hype train engineers, here. I'm plenty satisfied where Allen is right now. Encouraged. Interested. Excited. But I am not lining up to tell you he's a comeback artist, with a boatload of resilience. Not yet. Allen 's record as a start-to-finish QB has six wins with the Buffalo Bills.

In his six wins as the start-to-finisher the opposing teams have scored: 6, 12, 21, 13, 17, and 16. Right now the Bills best offense remains, a good defense. Allen deserves high marks for completing the comeback in NY last week, but it's the defense presents the opportunity. Is it resilience, or is it a top notch defense? Perhaps a little of both.

There's plenty to like right now, but I'm saving plenty of my enthusiasm for 38-35 wins, something that you're gonna need every now and then.

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