Monday, March 24, 2008

Amerks affiliation issues

Continuing to follow the Rochester Americans situation, here's the latest, which is sort of a post postmortem of the year. And to think, just a year ago, the Buffalo-Rochester relationship was lauded for how well it worked. No one really scratched underneath at that point because it was such a tidy story. But things are rarely that tidy, good or bad. There's a lesson in there for sure.

Rochester’s record suggests an AHL team in complete disarray, but that’s only partially accurate. A feud among the team’s three owners has contributed to financial problems and continuous speculation about a sale. The Sabres and Panthers, the only NHL teams that share an AHL affiliate, have made it clear the dual relationship no longer works.

The result has trickled down to the ice, where both NHL teams stocked the Rochester roster mostly with players who will be no better than third-or fourth-liners in the NHL. Winning becomes difficult because they lack the balanced cross section of players — scorers, defensive players, toughness, etc. — required for success.

...(much further down) Regardless, the Amerks will likely continue their relationship with Florida and bid farewell to Buffalo.

Where Buffalo's prospects will end up next year is anyone's guess. They own enough prospects to stock their own farm club if they sign all their college and junior guys, but what kind of partner will they find this late in the game? It's not as easy as just wishing it so. (Note: Buffalo has stated they don't wish to stock a full team next year).

On the plus side though, highly-regarded AHL coach Randy Cunneyworth (an employee of the Sabres) may be looking for a job if Buffalo has to find a new city for its prospects, and should be considered a legitimate candidate for the Thrashers position.

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