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Sabres: Simply Not Good Enough

What else is there to say about the Sabres early exit from the playoffs?  To some of us, the writing was on the wall at the trade deadline.  By acquiring Raffi Torres and nothing else, Sabres management telegraphed their belief that this team wasn’t good enough to make a run for the Cup so there was no sense mortgaging the future to bolster this year’s roster. Of course, that seems to be the Sabres approach every year.  No matter how good and hot their goalie is – whether it be Hasek or Miller – management tinkers at the deadline to marginally improve a team good enough to go a couple rounds in the playoffs.  But they’ve never made the big move – the statement trade – that says to everyone ‘this is the year we’ve going to push for the Cup.’ 

Today, Sabres management faced the media to answer questions about the team’s early playoff exit and future plans for the organization.  Of course, few details were provided, except one – Lindy Ruff will remain as head coach for at least another season.  That should surprise exactly no one. 

And of course, many of the local television news sports stations have heaped praise on the decision to ensure continuity in the organization.  Ed Kilgore at WGRZ, the Pravda of Buffalo sports franchises, has already rushed to express his support for the decision to make limited changes

Fans, on the other hand, seem more interested in making substantial organizational changes – a reasonable stance given the Sabres haven’t won a playoff series in 3 years.  Indeed, since Drury and Briere left, the organization has seemed downright hapless.

But one very good thing did come out of this season.  Tyler Myers.  The 19 year old proved he is a top defenseman and could be a stalwart for the team for years to come.  And remember when Darcy Regier wasn’t sure whether he was going to keep Myers up or send him back to juniors?  That was funny.  Beyond Myers, this season revealed nothing more than the obvious – Miller is a premier goalie, the Sabres defense is better than average, and the Sabres offense is unreliable.  And the Sabres prototypical player – Connolly, Roy, Pominville, etc – simply can’t be expected to help push the team deep into the playoffs because they are too small and too weak to exert their will on the opponent.

So what do you suggest the Sabres do? Fire Ruff? Fire Regier?  Trade Connolly and Roy? 



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  • BuffaloByChoice

    Can’t we just make a team by cloning? Here’s my suggestion.
    Offense: Ennis, Gerbe, Vanek (genetically modified to prevent constant injury), and Grier.
    Defense: Myers
    Goalie: Miller
    Just clone these players for a shot at the cup next season 😉
    P.S. We wouldn’t need to close Miller though, because Lalime is pretty impressive too and plays with enough heart to earn his keep!

  • Fictitious716

    The article title here sure does go against what i originally thought buffalo RISING was all about, no one was calling them failures come party at the plaza time, which btw was loaded with band wagon fans looking for an easy under 21 drink to have …. they made the playoffs and and got booted first round just like the caps and devils, and they upgraded at the trade deadline. Seriously this whole article is ridiculous to me. =/

  • RaChaCha

    BD, I was disappointed as well (to put it most mildly) — we had such a great shot at it this year, but managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The photo I snapped (I just uploaded to MT) on Main Street the day after we got bounced from the playoffs says it all — check it out and feel free to use it. I was going to send it to you, but realized I don’t have your contact info — drop me a line one of these days so we can keep in touch (the other writers have my email).

  • Brendo

    Calling the Sabres downright hapless is a little off in my opinion. They played well during the regular season and showed flashes of greatness during the playoffs. They’re really only a few pieces away from being a serious contender. If they can trade for a solid number one center and D-man to man the point on the powerplay (or anyone to man the point), what else do they really need? Get a leader in there, preferably someone who’s won a cup and I think we will all be much happier this time next year.

  • DMZ

    This article: Simply Not Good Enough

  • JM

    Had we been healthier having Hecht or Vanek for the series might have made the difference, it was really that close.
    Boston is a very solid team, Chara is a monster, vet leadership in Rechi, and a goalie that outplayed ours but makes 5 MILLION less. (Halak makes less than 1 million and he played pretty good in his series)
    I don’t understand why people think we’re not spending enough? We spend as much as any other team, there is a salary cap we must balance. If we spend 7 Mill on a star goalie we miss out on a great forward.
    Check out the numbers here.

  • BuffaloNiagaraPlanner

    Here are my thoughts on the team’s weaknesses: checking, passing, rebounds, and power plays. Checking sucked (the team got absolutely manhandled by Boston) and the team’s usual aggressors, Kaleta and Gaustad, were conspicuously absent from any of the big checking on the floor or against the boards; and the rest of the team is pretty small to begin with. We were losing puck battles all over the place on the dump-and-run – how about trying to pass it into the offensive zone???? When a puck was put on net, there were not enough players fighting for a rebound; every rebound looked like this – one Sabre and three Bruins at the top of the crease. As far as power plays go, the numbers speak for themselves – Sabres 0 for 19 (0% conversion rate), Bruins 6 for 22 (27% conversion rate). The Sabres were lousy on the power play all season (ranked 17th during the regular season) – not being able to convert on the power play is what lost it for them, in my opinion, as well as not being able to defend against the power play. Where was the team that was ranked 2nd in defending against the power play during the regular season???? I think we need more talent up front. We have some really good players, but none of them are going to be remembered as “Hockey Greats.”

  • Dr. Leo Marvin

    Who wrote this article? Is this a member of the credentialed media? Most imbecilic piece EVER!. And by the way… the Sabres had to make a decision early on whether to keep Myers here in Buffalo or send him back to his JUNIOR team..the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL. The clock wouldn’t start on Myers’ three year entry level contract if Myers played less than 10 games.
    The AHL wasn’t a consideration.
    Memo to BRO: stick to what you do best… Downtown development, Elmwood happenings and wine bar reviews. Sports reporting is best left to the big boys.