Alex Ovechkin failed to clear the puck past Justin Schultz at the blueline

There was some optimism this year might have been different, but that notion was laid to rest about four minutes into the third period when Patric Hornqvist caught Braden Holtby off guard on a turnover and gave the Pens a two-goal lead that might as well have been 20-0.

Seconds before, Alex Ovechkin failed to clear the puck past Justin Schultz at the blueline, and it bounced right to Hornqvist.

Holtby, dumbfounded, never saw the backhand flutter past him and stood motionless as the hockey world already knew the outcome. The Capitals managed just five shots on goal after that — two came in the game’s final minute — and went out with a whimper.

Botterill pledged to build the Sabres’ prospect pool with the Rochester Amerks, Buffalo’s minor league team. The Amerks haven’t won a playoff series since 2005. The Penguins’ minor league team in Wilkes-Barre has won 15 series over that stretch, and a majority with Botterill overseeing the team.

“It has to be a priority of management and the development group to get down to Rochester and be around,” Botterill said. “We had a bigger staff in Pittsburgh. I was fortunate enough to work with people such as Tom Fitzgerald, Bill Guerin, Mark Recchi. The last time we looked at it, in a three-year period at least one of us was down for there for 95 percent of the games. Players realize that. Players notice when management is around making that a priority.”

Botterill expects to have a GM in place to oversee the Amerks, and hopes to Liverpool Cheap Jerseys bring Knock Off Cheap Jerseys in more assistant GMs to help run the franchise, a similar to hierarchy Pittsburgh has.

Botterill admitted he hasn’t had a lot of time to evaluate Buffalo’s roster, considering he was just at Game 7 with the Penguins on Wednesday, but he knows one thing for sure.

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