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Mike Schopp's Blog

SCHOPP: Decision to sell is simple

I consider Sabres general manager Darcy Regier to be the analytical type, but the one thing I keep coming back to today about his to-be-determined Trade Deadline plans is whether or not he'll be acting on a recent hunch.

It was three Fridays ago, when the Sabres' playoff chances were, well, pretty much what they are now: slim. Regier made what I consider an out-of-character comment for him when he said that he had a feeling that this year a lower-seeded team had a better chance of a Stanley Cup run than usual.

I asked him why he thought that and he didn't really explain. Just a hunch, I guess. It probably reflects somewhat on the Eastern Conference's top teams. At that time the Sabres had just beaten Boston 6-0 and prior to that played the Rangers to a scoreless tie. (Since, the Sabres have played the Bruins and Rangers to regulation ties again.)

Is he right? Who knows?

I find Regier's comment puzzling not only because it's not his style but because I see no statistical evidence that this year is unlike any other. We're talking about winning the Cup here. Cup winners for several years running have been high-scoring teams, and there are the Bruins, Red Wings and Canucks near the top of this year's goal totals. Philly put seven goals up on the Sabres in a game this year and 15 in three games. Pittsburgh had an eight-goal outing against them.

Furthermore, the Sabres are not a high-scoring team themselves. This is about them, right? Regier is not a Vegas gambler, he's considering his own team's chances.

The bottom line is that whether you run the Sabres through an eye test or a statistical analysis, they don't cut it. I'm not focused on whether or not the Sabres are better than the Jets or Leafs or Panthers or Capitals. To me, today is about the big guys and being realistic about the Sabres' chances in a hypothetical series against any of those teams. Or better yet, three or four of them.

I think I know how that would go, and I wouldn't call it a hunch.

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