Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Buffalo News' present to their readers

The News announced today that Bucky Gleason is going to be doing a season long chat on Thursdays which started today. This makes me absolutely happy because there is nothing better than ragging on what comes out of his computer. So, lets break down the chat FJM style.

10:51 Hello everyone. Thanks for showing up for the Live Chat. I believe we have the kinks worked out. As Jerry Sullivan told me yesterday, I'm no Bill Gates. That said, he's no Paul Allen. Away we go.

10:54 Sorry for the delay. I'm still figuring out how to work this thing. Fantasy football was much easier. Tim Kennedy has a great upside in that he played three years of the college game, which allowed him to become faster and stronger. I really like the way he plays and not because he's from South Buffalo. He's a terrific skater, has very good skills, played in a defensive system at Michigan State and plays with an edge. That's what we would expect. Long term, we'll see. It depends on how he plays and whether he's in the right system. I think Lindy's system of playing both ends of the ice will work in his favor.

10:56 The Rivet move was mildly surprisin but it really makes sense. He's a veteran guy and an obvious leader. Plus, he's tough. In no time, he took command of that room. That told me plenty about him. I spoke to him over the summer for a column and called my partners in crime, John Vogl and Mike Harrigton, the next day to tell them people were going to love this guy.

10:59 BobbyOrr, good question. The fact that he hasn't played a game doesn't bother me in the least. He's been a leader everywhere he's been. The fact he wore an "A" when he was in San Jose tells me he was respected there, too. Mike Grier was on that team and they thought more of Rivet than Grier. That's a good sign.

11:00 Wait a second, folks, I'm trying to figure out how to post the questions.

Really interesting start to the chat not knowing where he was coming from. It gets better from here.

11:00 [Comment From Zach]
What do you feel is going to be the strong points of this team?

11:03 Wow, that worked. I see the strong points largely what we've seen in the past. The Sabres are still a highly skilled, fast team in this league. Their goaltending should be solid. Miller is bound to play better than he did last year. They have some veterans on the back end, which should help. Plus, and this matters, they have won before.

Ok, so I had to be nice and ask a real question.

11:03 [Comment From anxious fan]
Do you think Drew Stafford suffered from a sophomore slump, or is this is as good as he's going to get?

11:05 I can see why you're anxious, Anxious. I really liked Stafford his rookie year, when he had more help around him. He struggled last year, and it snowballed on him. He played well in spurts but not well enough. He's a good two-way player and I expect him to bounce back, especially if he spends enough time with Roy and Vanek.

Wasn't Stafford also battling injuries throughout the season that he told no one about. Including a concussion? Stafford should turn it on here this year. Stable lines should help generate some chemistry for Stafford.

11:05 [Comment From matt]
Do you think Thomas Vanek can get to 50 goals this year?

11:06 Vanek is capable of scoring 50 goals, definitely, but you never expect that many from anyone not named Ovechkin. Vanek had 36 goals last season and had a miserable start. There's less pressure on him this year, but he's still an $8 million player. Expectations are high. I expect something in the 40s. Fifty would be a great, great year.

Vanek should be able to handle the pressure this year and become a massive contributor to this team. Most of his points will come through goals so expect a 50 goal campaign.

11:07 [Comment From JZ from Buf but in chicag]
Any predictions on this years team? Overall record?

11:08 I'm picking the Sabres sixth in the conference. Funny, but I didn't even realize until looking at our preview section that I had them ninth overall. I'll stay with that knowing they are capable of finishing 10th if things get away from them. I don't see them winning the division, but 97 to 101 points is within reach.

Ninth overall? The West is not that weak but whatever.

11:09 [Comment From Steve]
What's the story with Gaustad? How long is he out for? I can't seem to find much info on it.

11:10 Gaustad's injury will likely keep him out for another month or so. I know this, he's miserabe about not playing. He wants to get back playing like everybody else. And they need him.

11:10 [Comment From Bill]
Do you think Kennedy will break in to the line up this year?

11:12 Kennedy should be in the NHL lineup at some point this season, but he needs to play well in Portland. He's switching to center after playing left wing in college. There will be an adjustment period for him. What I did like this season was the fact he became more comfortable with every practice. If he can make a speedy transition to the AHL, which is a good league, you'll see him in Buffalo.

11:12 [Comment From Dan]
What was your gripe with Valeri Bure a few years ago when you ripped on him every week in your columns for a year and half ? My firends and I have a bet that you had him on a hockey pool or fantasy team.

11:14 Wow, you remember? My beef with Bure basically was that he was soft. I don't have a soft spot for soft players. OK, I went overboard. Mostly, it was in humor. I don't play Fantasy Hockey. Maybe I should.

Could imagine Bucky playing fantasy hockey. He would just try and draft a whole team of Briere and Drury.

11:14 [Comment From rudy]
Bucky , you are the worse sports writer on earth !!!

11:15 You should hear what my family says about me. It's worse.

11:15 [Comment From Jeff]
I'm more curious about the spark-plug Gerbe's chances at breaking into the lineup. What say you, Bucky?

11:17 I don't know what to say about Gerbe other this this: I love this kid. He's small in terms of height, but he's not a little guy. He's solid. He's strong, he's tough, and he looks at every player as a challenge. And his hands? It's been a long time since I've seen a player with his release. He will not be in Portland for long.

He is right here, Gerbe is really good. But I think that a year in Portland will be enough for him. I don't expect him to be in the lineup this year.

11:17 [Comment From bo Knerr]
Where do you think pominville will end up in scoring this year ?

11:19 Jason is getting to a point in his career where he is what he is, a very effective player but not someone who will score 120 points. He's good for about a point per game. I don't expect that to change, but every year is different. He's going to have teams paying more attention to him. He'll need to adjust.

You'll sort of notice a pattern. Bucky doesn't actually give a prediction, he just skirts the question.

11:19 [Comment From Dan]
Do the Sabres need a healthy Connelly? Will he survive the season? Seems like the guy is made of glass.

11:22 Connolly is a wild card. Everyone can see what he can do when he's right. The injuries are troublesome and at times tiring. The long offseason should help him in terms of strength. Nobody knows for sure whether he can stay in one piece, but his future here depends on it. He's in the last year of his deal.

11:22 [Comment From Steve]
Who do you think is the most intriguing player on the Sabres this year?

11:22 Good heavens, this comuter is slow. The most intriguing player, in my mind, is Gerbe. I'm anxious to see him at the NHL level.

You think its the computer?

11:23 [Comment From damien]
I think Vanek's capable of being a regular 50 goal scorer. He's got the ability. But how come nobody seems to give him enough credit for being tough. He kinda reminds me of Andrychuk in front of the net, the ways he stands in there and takes the abuse. All he needs is one hand free to control the puck. One play from last year comes to mind( i think vs. Tampa Bay) where Vanek was screening the goalie and took a slap shot off the side of his head. Did he leave the ice? No, he preceeded to skate back around the net and set up in the same spot and screen the goalie as we scored on another slap shot. Then he went right to the dressing room and came back out out and I don't believe he even missed a shift. And how many other elite players will be making less each year as they come into their prime years(27-31). Vanek's still in his early 20s.

11:26 I'm not sure that he hasn't received enough credit. He's been given plenty when it's been warranted and criticism when it's been warranted. Hey, when a team makes you the franchise player, you need to play like one. That's said, he's a very, very good player. As for taking that shot off the noggin, most players would have gone straight to the dressing room for some high-octane aspirin. He did the opposite. Ruff was among the many who was impressed.

11:26 [Comment From Phyllis]
What was the best nickname you ever gave a player? And how's the food in the HSBC Arena press box? I hear the water flows quickly.

11:28 I'm not sure that I've ever given a nickname myself. I do remember a headline in our section that stuck with Michael Peca, who was known as Captain Crunch. We'll wait for Rivet to drop someone and call him Captain Punch. The food in the press box? I'm not sure. The only thing I eat up there is popcorn.

Questions like these drive me nuts, but I think there is a reason that Bucky doesn't give nicknames, Captain Punch?

11:28 [Comment From Guest]
I love you Bucky. I got a weird felling Kotalik is going to have a huge year. Cant explain it just a feeling

11:29 Kotalik is a mystery. He has too much talent not to be more productive, and he has the size to match. I would like to see him play with more of an edge. He had good chemistry with Connolly a few years ago. We'll see what happens this year.

11:30 [Comment From Rick]
Bucky have you seen anything different in Connolly this year or are we in for another one of those," He has so much potential, but he is hurt again" years? Is he a pipe dream or for real?

11:31 It all depends on health. Like I said, he's a terrific player when healthy, one of the better passing centers in the league. When he's not, there's a feeling of "here we go again."

11:31 [Comment From Dan]
What is your relationship like now with the Sabres in general after last summer ? Truthfully. I know you are media and get access, but do they treat you personally any different ?

11:37 I'm glad you asked that question because it comes up all the time with people. My relationship with management hasn't really changed from my point of view. People would be surprised to hear that Darcy Regier and I actually get along quite well. He's a good man and a good general manager. At times over the years, I thought he should have been fired and wrote as much. Last year, I think he was hung out to dry by upper management. I wrote that, too. There have been times in which I've praised management, too, even since last summer's mess. Hey, we all have jobs to do. It's not always easy. It's not always pretty. From my perspective, I write what I see. I think they generally understand that even when they don't like it.

I am more shocked at this response. Bucky takes his shot at management and Regier every time that he can. I wouldn't talk to the guy.

11:37 [Comment From Bill]
What logo is currently painted at center ice?

11:39 You know, I've been there enough times to know and now I'm thinking about it. I'm pretty sure it's the old-school logo. I remember seeing it and thinking it was cool, so it must be. I always like the old one more than the others. I did not like the snorting goat.

11:39 [Comment From matt]
Hey Bucky, any inside information regarding trades for this team?

11:41 The Sabres were trying to move Afinogenov during the summer, but apparently they had no takers for their price. I think he also recognized that a change in scenery was in order. He's here now. We'll see what happens with him. My sense is that Ruff is running out of patience, and he's a very patient guy. It all depends on Afinogenov's production. Let's be honest, he couldn't have been much worse than he was last season.

11:41 [Comment From shocked]
Bucky, this chat gone on for 17 minutes and you have mentioned Briere or Drury yet. What gives?

11:44 It must be a record. Really, I know people became tired of reading about Drury and Briere. I grew tired of writing about them, too. It doesn't matter because they applied to the problems last season. If that had one of them, they make the playoffs. They lacked leadership. They missed their production. This is a new year. I promise that I won't be hammering away at the loss of Jocelyn Thibualt.

Briere and Drury weren't the issue but whatever. I am glad to see that he won't harp on the loss of Thibault. I know I will miss him.

11:44 [Comment From Bob]
Chris Gratton says hello.

11:46 Tell Chris I said hello. We actually had a good chat last year. He thought that I didn't like him personally, which wasn't the case. I like Chris. He's a good guy. I told him my beef was his play. Actually, he understood. We left on good terms.

11:46 [Comment From sabr3sf@n]
Hopefully in the NET is where Pominville will score.

11:46 Yeah, I guess that would help.

First off, what the hell kind of name is sabr3sf@n. Nothing annoys me more than stupid symbols replacing letters. And I seriously don't want to know what is going on.

11:46 [Comment From Rico]
Let's say the Red Wings DON'T win the Cup. Who do you pick...?

11:48 Tough question. Are you going to hold me to my answer? I really like Anaheim again. Their defense is incredible. They're better than they were last year, and they have Scott Niedermayer for a full season. That's huge.

11:49 [Comment From Nick]
With the backlog on the blueline, and Weber looking NHL ready, do you expect one of the veterans to be moved? If so, who?

11:52 I expect them to start the season and see what happens with injuries. Ruff has been keeping a very close watch on Henrik Tallinder, who needs to be more physical. Weber belongs in the NHL, in my opinion, but going back to the AHL is not going to hurt him. If it reaches a point where someone needs to be moved, we'll see how long it takes. Darcy, as you know, likes to take his time.

11:52 [Comment From anxious fan]
If Kennedy and Gerbe are in the league this year, who do they replace in the Sabres' lineup?

11:53 We'll see what happens with Max. If either one starts tearing up the AHL and it becomes obvious they need to be with Buffalo, you could see management become more aggressive in trying to move one of their veteran forwards. Max and Kotalik are likely candidates if they aren't playing well.

I don't see this team benching Max and Kotalik for the new kids to play. Also, its a contract year for both of them, expect monster seasons.

11:54 [Comment From Paul]
Do you see Darcy making any deals before the deadline? Seems to me they are one elite player away from making any true run.

11:56 In my mind, the Sabres aren't one player from making a true run. They're one or two years and one or two more players. Elite players are hard to get without giving up good prospects. Unless the Sabres are in that position, which is unlikely this season, they're not going to make a bold move this year and put future years at stake. Atlanta made that mistake and is paying dearly.

11:56 [Comment From Maci]
If the Sabres falter this season and miss the playoffs, do you think Lindy will be on the hot seat?

11:59 Lindy on the hot seat? This guy is one of the jewels of the league. His reputation gets better every season. One of the first things Rivet said during our conversation was about the opportunity he had to play for Lindy Ruff. He certainly won't be on the hot seat in anything I write. He's been the most valuable person in the organization for years.

12:00 [Comment From JZ from Buf but in chicag]

12:01 I'm not sure why it's so slow. It's odd. I know this: I won't be asking Sully for help.

Probably not the computer's fault.

12:01 [Comment From mike]
Sabres will not be any better than last year..they did nothing to improve their team and we still have a mediocre goalie that we overpayed..I like Rivet a greatd eal, but he is only one addition....we are asmall , non phsyical team that will get dusted most nights. We have a pool on how many games Connely will miss this year...lowest # so far is 30....wish we would have picked up Wehrner on free agency this week....hope I am wrong, bu doubt it...

12:01 And people accuse me of being negative? Wow.

You just look like a fool when you can't type a complete sentence without using spell check. No one can take you seriously.

12:02 Couple more folks, and it's time to get back to work. This is a union shop.

12:03 [Comment From JJ]
In your opinion, what do you make of the potential for Tyler Myers? Do you think he will be another Mike Wilson? Thats right I said it, Mike Wilson.

12:05 The chore for Myers in the next few years is to grow into his body. He's a great skater for a big man and already has above-average hands. But he needs to put on weight. Spend one summer with me, and that wouldn't be a problem. Seriously, he'll gain weight and strength that comes with age. When he does, the Sabres could have something special. The raw skills are there.

I actually had to find out who Mike Wilson is. So, Wilson played for the Sabres from 95-99. He played in a total of 231 games for the Sabres scoring 11 goals and 23 assists. How he didn't make the Goose's Most Insignificant Sabre listing will beat me.

12:05 [Comment From jim from seattle]
A Sabre's fan since the start. Rivet a great choice to wear the "C". Cant wait for the puck to drop. Will be in front of the TV for most of the games. No question just excited about the start of the season.

12:06 Hey, I'm excited, too. The offseason was too long, even for us, and we don't even play. I'm ready to get back to the action.

12:06 [Comment From Mike]
Bucky, my view is that Miller is mediocre goalie at best and I think a lot this year's success will rely on his ability to be that next level goalie. What do you think of Miller and his rank among other league goaltenders?

12:07 Mike, read my column in today's preview section. I'm not one for excuses, not at all, but there were reasons for his problems last season. When he's good, he's very good. He needs to be very good this season.

Miller is not a bad goalie, just needs to be focused and not exhausted. See 2005-2006.

12:07 [Comment From paul weller]
any idea on the opening night lines and defensive pairings? where does matt ellis fit?

12:09 I'm anxious to see the pairings. Actually, I'm anxious to see how long the pairings last. Lindy has split up Tallinder and Lydman.

Again, notice how he doesn't actually answer the question.

12:11 [Comment From Jason tampa]
I like the talent we have, and think we have skilled people at every position, but I just can't see them putting it together. I think we will have another season like we did last year. I know that the preseason doesnt mean anything, but I really didn't see anything positive. We'll other than some of the young guys(Gerbe). What's your take?

12:14 Last one. Thanks to everybody for your questions. I'm sorry that I didn't get to every one of them, but we'll meet almost every week. As for this season, they will be better than last season. I'll say it again, fans are going to really like this team in another year or two. Yeah, I know, it's always next year. What can I say? I'm from Buffalo. It's part of our DNA.

Had to get a parting shot in there. All in all, a pretty tame chat to start the season off. Hopefully things get juicer as the season goes along.

No comments:

Post a Comment