The Sabres are in a terrible crisis.
I admire the optimism of anyone that is still holding out hope that this team will get healthy and turn things around, but it’s optimism misdirected. This year’s Sabres team stinks.
The “team reports” will inform you of the “last 10 games” record, but honestly, and unfortunately, the real statline for the Sabres should be “games since Lucic ran Miller.” If the Sabres miss the playoffs – heck, even if they rally and make the playoffs – this season will be defined by that moment.
Since that game, the Sabres have 18 losses, and 8 wins. I am not counting overtime points, or “loser points.” I am talking simply here – wins and losses, for what is simply a losing team. Here is what 8-18 looks visually:
Beyond that, the Sabres are soft to the core. They don’t hit, they get pushed around, and they hang their heads and repeat the same loser cliches after every loss.
It’s no wonder the FNC is so quiet these days. Who wants to cheer for that kind of fluff? The Sabres might remark on it, they might even ask for cheers, but Buffalonians don’t cheer on command.
Of course, it wasn’t Lucic that made the Sabres soft – they already were. The hit on Miller only galvanized that fact, and made it the #1 key to victory for opposing team strategies. Outhit the Sabres, and you win the game. Or, push the Sabres around and try to get them to hit back, and then take ’em out. That one sure worked on Christian Ehrhoff, didn’t it?
The players are out of ideas. They’ve got no cliches left to give, as Drew Stafford recently noted. I’d look up a link for that, but I think I’ll pass. You know, not put in a full effort. Make this post fit the team.
Then, there’s the new “Win 2 Games in a Row” strategy. Sexy.
The Sabres have a chance to gain some serious ground on the Leafs, with a back to back on the schedule. Still, even if they win those two contests, fans will be deadened by the fact that another loss is around the corner. That’s just the way it goes for this team. The thought that suddenly the Sabres will emerge as a healthy club with the confidence to out-win the teams in front of them is plausible, but not probable. (It especially doesn’t help when the team loses to the teams behind them. See: Carolina.)
So far, Vanek and Pominville’s best seasons have been unable to save this team. Miller, Stafford, Roy, and many more have been disappointing at best. Lindy Ruff, considered a hockey genius by many, doesn’t have the answer. Despite their collective best “efforts,” no one at ice-level has been able to provide an answer, a cure, or a way to win hockey games.
It’s up to Darcy Regier now. He’s the only one with the power to shake things up and get this team winning again.
GM’s will hold onto their trade bait until the trade deadline to maximize their returns, but if this season is to be saved, something has to go down now. It’s a new “clarion call” in Buffalo these days:
Let’s get it trending.
UPDATE (12:50 am):
6pm: even on slow-traffic Sunday, during the NFL playoffs, this keeps trending more and more in the B-lo. The fans are speaking. And they are not happy.
The playoffs are just a phone call away.