The End of Stagnation: 5 Things Sabres Fans Can Celebrate Now


It’s been a long journey. It’s not one that any fans had asked for, and it was one of heavy burden and endurance. But it’s over. The tank is parked in the garage.

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Everything changes now.

Let’s take a look at what “everything” means.

1. Courting top UFAs


Who wants to play with McEichel, Sam Reinhart, or Evander Kane? Everyone. Expect the Sabres to have a far easier time signing top UFAs as this team, already stacked with young, exciting talent, slowly returns to the top of the league.


2. Bringing in the best minds in hockey

Word on the street is that Mike Babcock will be looking at new opportunities when his season with the Red Wings is concluded. The Pegulas constructed a hockey destination with the addition of HARBORCENTER, but Tim Murray finished the job by adding elite and generational talent to the pipeline.

Whomever gets to coach this team for the next 10 years is going to have a lot of toys to play with.


3. The end of stagnation

I revisited a piece on the 2012 Sabres from The Globe and Mail, and it really put the journey of this rebuild in great perspective:

…a pro scout for an NHL team, who spends a lot of time watching the Sabres, says their problems seem to be more psychological than physical. The scout noted Regier and head coach Lindy Ruff have run the team together for more than 14 years and their core group of players have been together for a long time as well and wonders if they don’t all have a collective case of the blahs.

“It seems like it’s just stagnated,” said the scout, who wished to remain anonymous in order to remain employed. “There’s nothing wrong with Lindy Ruff as a coach, but he’s been there forever, Darcy’s been there forever. The core players have been there forever.

“They don’t seem to play with a lot of passion. It’s just like playing by rote. That’s the way it struck me.”


4. The end of bickering

Well, not really. Fans and the media are always going to chirp each other, but the overall experience was different this year. People became entrenched. The conversation at times became heated and toxic. We’re done with that noise.

We’re all friends again, right?


5. The Roy and Connolly Era was awful

But it’s over.

We had a short and wonderful time with Briere and Drury, but for the most part, our experience with the Sabres was mainly about Lindy Ruff leading his annual heroic charge to 8th place. Middling hockey is for chumps. The Sabres don’t have to sell it to the fans anymore, and the fans don’t have to buy it.


Bonus: For many, perhaps the most underrated change of all:


Sticktaps to all of the Sabres staff, players, and all of the fans out there that went through this epic odyssey. We made it out alive, and rediscovered our fortune that is “Hockey Heaven” at the end of it all. Goodness, it’s so good to be there again.

Let’s go win some hockey games.

Go Sabres.

Update: This video of McEichel should make the long week ahead of the draft lottery a bit more fun for all of you. Share it around the office, and enjoy the hopeful vibe.

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