Eichel Sabres good no matter what

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With the Buffalo Sabres having the second overall pick in June’s NHL Draft, many people have Boston University’s Jack Eichel being selected by the Sabres. No matter what decision Eichel makes, both he and the Sabres will benefit any which way.

Boston University came close to winning the NCAA Championship as it reached the Frozen Four. According to the Buffalo News Eichel was already selected as an assistant captain for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. So, if Eichel were to stay he would be the man on the team, expected to lead them to a NCAA Championship and have a ton of pressure on him, which is experience that he wouldn’t get this season with the Sabres.

Before the Sabres gutted their core players, they earned a reputation as a soft team that crumbled when under pressure. The teams that win the Stanley Cup are teams that can deal with the pressure and persevere under it.

Now, don’t get me wrong as I’m not saying leaving Boston University wouldn’t be good for him either.

If Eichel were to leave for the Sabres he would be immediately paired with a certain player that is already on the roster. That player is nobody other than Brian Gionta.

Gionta in college won the NCAA Championship as captain of Boston College for the 2000-2001 season. He then won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003 and just last year led the Montreal Canadiens to the Easter Conference Finals where they lost to the New York Rangers in six games. So, if Eichel were to leave he would be in good hands either which way.

As for the Sabres, if they were to get Eichel they obvious get a top notch player ready for the NFL that would vault the team towards making the NHL Playoffs. If Eichel were to stay at Boston University, then they would get to find out about some other prospects.

Forwards Johan Larsson and Mikhail Grigorenko have been languishing in the AHL for the last several seasons. With the trades the Sabres made at the deadline, along with injuries, both players got significant playing time with the team. Grigorenko scored two goals and two assists in the last 10 games while Larson had two goals and five assists.

Those aren’t great numbers, but they don’t account for the numerous opportunities that they created for their teammates that they didn’t capitalize on.

Let’s not forget 2014 second overall pick Sam Reinhart. The only thing that is keeping Reinhart from the NHL is his strength. However, with the season over Reinhart should have no trouble improving on that before the next season comes.

The NHL is a team sport and if one man could improve a whole team then the Edmonton Oilers would have won the Stanley Cup multiple times as they had the first overall pick from 2010-2012. The last time they were in the playoffs was the 2005-2006 season when they went to the Stanley Cup finals. Let’s not forget about the Pittsburgh Penguins who have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and still not made the playoffs this year.

In the end, Eichel is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

Woods still has a chance

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The National Hockey League and National Basketball Association seasons are about to come to a close, and Major League Baseball season has just gotten under way. That means all eyes are  on Augusta, GA and Tiger Woods as he makes his comeback.

It’s Woods first tournament since February and even though he finished a one over par at the Masters it doesn’t mean he is out of it.

Golf is different than most sports. Popular leagues like the NFL, NBA and NHL are team based sports, However, the game of golf is different as it’s a individual performance based sport, which means Woods still has a chance as even though he finished a one over par he still has a chance as there are still three rounds to go.

Woods has been known for making remarkable comebacks in the past. Down multiple shots he still made comebacks to win tournaments in the past.

A lot of people will discount Woods with all his injuries, but that doesn’t mean anything/

The evidence is in the hole in one par three tournament that preceded the Masters. One of golf’s legends in Jack Nicklaus at 75-years-old made a hole in one prior to the tournament.

In the end, Nicklaus’s hole in one shows that in golf it’s not about one’s age, but about consistency.

Williams supports Incognito

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The Buffalo Bills started their offseason workout program on Monday and of course the longest tenured Bills is there in defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Like always it’s interesting to hear what he has to say.

Of course Bills reporters asked everyone and anyone about guard Richie Incognito, which of course Williams answered.

“Yeah I saw him,” Williams replied to a question. “And one thing, when we signed him, I was happy. He was a great teammate. Obviously a good player and when he was here he was a fantastic teammate and I wasn’t down when all that junk went down in Miami. So, I tend to base my opinions on my firsthand experiences with people and I had a great time with him as a teammate and I’m glad he’s here.”

The Bills already have a leader on the offensive line in center Eric Wood. According to Rotoworld.com, Wood signed a contract extension prior to the 2013 season, which runs thru 2017 and means that what happened with the Miami Dolphins won’t happen again.

Incognito was asked to take a leadership position with the team, and failed miserably at it.

However, this is a country that believes in second chances. Numerous athletes through the professional level of sports have been given a second chance, and Incognito is no different.

Another factor for Incognito is his age. As of July 5th, Incognito will be 32-years-old. That’s getting up there in age for a professional football player as most players are retired by their mid-30s.

In the end, Incognito will be on his best behavior as a Bills player, but if he doesn’t he will be done in the NFL,

What the Sabres fans and Tom Brady have in common

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The Buffalo Sabres are on a two game winning streak after their win Wednesday night against the Toronto Maples, which leaves them two points behind second last place Arizona Coyotes. If the Sabres don’t finish last, Sabres fans have only themselves to blame.

Going into the March 26nd home game against the Coyotes many in the media were wondering how fans would behave themselves. Those who watch the game saw the game know what happened. Let’s just say the Sabres didn’t like what happpened, which could cost Sabres fans the chance to draft coveted prospects Erie Otters Connor MacDavid and Boston University’s Jack Eichel.

The most aggravating thing is that you think that Buffaloians would have learned to keep their moths’ shut after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the last 15 years..

However, that isn’t the case as Sabres fans cheered for the Coyotes to win that night

After the game it was pretty evident from multiple Sabres players comments that fans cheering for the Coyotes didn’t sit well with them. They proved that on March 30th when they beat the Coyotes by a score of 4.-1.

So, how does Brady figure into this?

Simple, he and the Patriots for the past 15 years have used every single little quote in the media to motivate them to wins. That has led Brady to his fourth Superbowl win for his career this past Feburary with plenty of time for his fifth.. That fifth win would make him the greatest quarterback in the history of the National Football League, no matter what has happened in the past.

n the end, if the Sabres don’t finish last the, fans only those idiots who attended the game and cheered for the Coyotes.

It’s all about McDavid

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For quite a while now the conversation for the upcoming 2015 National Hockey League Draft has been about Connor McDavid or the Erie Otter and Jack Eichel of Boston University. No matter where the Buffalo Sabres finish it’s should be about McDavid.

The problem with the NHL is that the last place team isn’t assured of the first overall draft pick. If the Sabres even finished last they are only guaranteed a 20 percent chance at the first overall pick. Even though the NHL does things this way to prevent tanking, the fact of the matter is it still isn’t fair to the teams at the bottom of the NHL.

For teams at the bottom of the NHL it isn’t about getting great right away. It’s about obtaining and developing your prospects right so that they obtain their full potential, but the NHL doesn’t see it that way.

McDavid in 47 games with the Otters has scored 44 goals and 76 assists for 120 points, which averages to 2.55 points a game. Eichel with  Boston University has scored 24 goals and 42 assists for 66 points for an average of 1.83 points a game. Legendary NHL player Wayne Gretzky in 1977-78 with Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 64 games scored scored 70 goals and 112 assists for an average of2.84 points a game.

In the end, if the Sabres truly want to be great they will do everything they can to obtain McDavid.

Enjoy Hurley while he is here

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The UB Bulls men’s basketball team, led by head coach Bobby Hurley, almost pulled off an upset in their first ever game in the NCAA Tournament. Buffalo residents should enjoy Hurley while he is here, because it’s not going to last.

Coaches get hired and fired all the time. However, in college some coaches have been the head coach of their team for decades. There is one college head coach that been at his position for over 30 years and that is Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team.

Hurley led his Blue Devils team to back to back NCAA Championships in 1991 and 1992. Now, in his first head coaching job he led the Bulls to the MAC Conference Championship and the team’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Krzyzewski is 68-years-old, so it’s only a matter of time before he retires. Legendary college basketball head coach Bob Knight was the same age when he retired. It seems like Krzyzewski could coach forever, but that isn’t going to happen as father time is catching up to him.

So, enjoy it Buffalo, because we could be witnessing greatness in the making.

Trading bonanza

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The Buffalo Bills kicked off the start of the new National Football League year with two trades. Since then the trades are still rolling in.

The Bills stunned the entire football world when they traded linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles for running back Leseasn McCoy. The second trade came the very next day, which was surprising as well. In that trade the Bills sent two undisclosed draft picks for quarterback Matt Cassel and an undisclosed draft picks.

Those two trades may have triggered something as other teams have since gotten in the mix.

The next one was also a shocker by itself as the Seattle Seahawks sent a first round pick in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft and center Max Unger to the New Orleans Saints. In return they received tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth round pick.

If that wasn’t enough, not even an hour later another big one came out.

This one saw the Eagles got active again trading quarterback Nick Foles, a fourth round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and a second round pick in the 2016 NFL draft to the Saint Louis Rams for quarterback Matt Stafford and a fifth round pick in 2015 NFL draft. According to NFL.com, there is one clause that if Bradford doesn’t start eight games they will receive a fourth round pick in the 2016 Draft, which could become a third if he is reinjured.

Then this past Friday three more trades were announced.

The first was the Kansas City Chiefs sending an undisclosed draft pick to the New Orleans Saints for offensive lineman Ben Grubbs. The next one was saw the Saints trading wide receiver Kenny Stills to the Miami Dolphins for linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and a 2015 third round pick. Finally the Dolphins then sent wide receiver Mike Wallace and seventh round pick in 2015 to the Minnesota Vikings for a fifth round selection.

Typically, most trades happen around the time of the Draft as teams look to move up near the top of the draft to get a player that they covet.  This many trades at the start of a new NFL season is unusual and should make the Draft very interesting

Bills introduce Cassel

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The Buffalo Bills introduced quarterback Matt Cassel today after making the trade with the Minnesota Vikings official on Monday. In the trade the Bills sent undisclosed draft choices to the Vikings in exchange for Cassel and an undisclosed draft choice.  To Cassel to become the starter he has to earn it.

“I think I’ve been in this league long enough to know that you have to compete in everything you do,” Cassel answered. “You have to earn every opportunity that you get. I know that there is going to be competition and I know that EJ is here. He is a young, talented player and I expect that there is going to be a competition. Again, you have to go out and earn your opportunity in this league.”

From there Cassel went on to give some insight on what it means to be a quarterback in the NFL. That is you’re not just competing for a starting position, but you also have to be a good teammate.

“I’ve always taken the approach that first and foremost you are teammates with everybody,” Cassel replied. “We spend a lot of time in the room with each other throughout the course of the year.  That relationship has to be solid because you want their support just as much as they want your support when you’re out on the field and playing and doing all that.”

Cassel then went on to explain that the decision on who is starting is the coaches to make.

“At the end of the day the coaches are going to pick the guy who they think is going to help them win ball games because that is the only stat that matters,” Cassel went on. “I’ve never been one of those guys that would hope that the other guy doesn’t do well or you hope the worst for somebody. I always try to lift somebody up and I think through competition, everybody becomes better. That’s always been my approach.”

The one that Bills fans can take away is that he understands what it takes to win in the NFL, especially in Buffalo. Something the Bills haven’t heard from a quarterback since Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.

“Well I have played here a few times and I have played here late in the year, but I think that the weather conditions can be used as an advantage of us,” Cassel answered. “Late in the year anytime somebody comes into our stadium, especially with the fan base that we have and the excitement that they bring, I think it is going to be very tough for teams to come in here and play us.”

Bills have a chance at history

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The Buffalo Bills offseason has been a whirlwind to Bills fans. From the hiring of Rex Ryan as head coach it has been one stunning move after another. However, there is one question that nobody in the media here in Buffalo has asked.

Who is going to be the fifth defensive lineman in the Bills 3-4 defense?

With the Bills announcing over the weekend that they resigned defensive lineman Jerry Hughes, we know that the outside linebackers will be Hughes and Mario Williams. That leaves fellow defensive linemen Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus to cover the nose tackle position and one of the defensive end spots. However, in a 3-4 defense there are five defensive linemen.

There is one name out there that if the Bills were to sign even New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will not to face the Bills defense. That person is former Patriot nose tackle Vince Wilfork who would allow Dareus to go after the quarterback which he excels at.

Since Wilfork’s rookie season in 2004, the Patriots have only been in the bottom half in the league in run defense once, which was 2013 where they were third last in the league.

If your 35-years-old you may remember that the Bill in the late 1990s had a massive man at the nose tackle position in their 3-4 defense. That person was Ted Washington who along with Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith and Phil Hansen created an interior that was virtually impossible to run on. Their only weakness was that their outside linebackers stunk, especially after Bryce Paup left the team.

Just imagine what kind of defense the Bills would be with Wilfork in the middle. Hughes, Dareus and both Williams recorded 30 sacks between the four of them.

What you would have folks is a historic defense that people have not seen the likes of since the 1985 Chicago Bears. In 1985 the Bears front seven combined for 56 sacks on their way to winning the Superbowl. Yes, things were much different back then, but that still don’t mean the Bills could make history.

The Bears at the time ran a 46 defense, which meant that eight players were on the line of scrimmage. Those were two defensive tackles, two defensive ends and two linebackers, but that’s because teams ran the ball more than they passed.

Today’s NFL is different as teams pass more than they run thanks to the early 1990s Bills.

However, one thing has remained the same over the years. That is you have to be stout on defense in the middle.

What I’m talking about is that during a passing play you need a man in the middle that can get doubled teamed and still get penetration up the middle. This is a key, because quarterbacks will slide up into the pocket to avoid outside pass rushers.  So, when you got a big man in the middle getting penetration a quarterback cannot slide up and will be in the pass rushers path.

If they don’t sign Wilfork it will be a shame as they will pass on a chance to make history

Western New Yorkers are Lucky

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The Buffalo Bills on Monday announced that they resigned Jerry Hughes, along with reports that the team is keeping running back Fred Jackson signifies one thing.  Those two moves signifies a new era in Bills history.

For many years the Bills under owner Ralph Wilson in his later years, key players would be let go on the grounds that they were older or not worth the money to keep on the roster, but that isn’t the case anymore.

On Monday morning the buzz in Buffalo was that Jackson would be release. That was the case until owner Terry Pegula got word of what team officials were thinking. According to the Buffalo News, via ProfootballTalk.com, Jackson isn’t going anywhere, which is a relief to many Bills fans.

If you live near Hamburg and drive on McKinley Parkway you will see a sign that reads We (the heart symbol) Fred Jackson.

Jackson is the epitome of what Western New York is. That is a community who work their rears off every day just to make ends meet.

What the move also means is that the NFL is lucky to have an owner like Pegula.

This past week it has been reported that long time Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson will be cut. On Monday that was made official by ESPN.

What this all means is that the residents of Western New York are lucky to have an owner like the Pegulas who have the common sense to get things done.