The Philadelphia Flyers showed up with passion last night, and the Buffalo Sabres came out and were severly outplayed and out chanced in a Game 7 that saw the Philadelphia Flyers advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Buffalo Sabres season come to an end.
In a very close series that saw see saw action, two shutouts by Ryan Miller, a rotating door on the crease for the Flyers, and Briere, Richards, Hartnell, and Carcillo up to their dirty games. On the Sabres side of the house, the young guys continued to impress, while Mike Grier, Drew Stafford, Brad Boyes, and Derek Roy (for one game) failed to lead this team. I will cut Derek Roy some slack, you can’t return from that long of an injury and bring your A game. The spark would have been nice, but lets be realistic.
And so ends a magical season. How many of us were ready to write the year off in October, November, and December? It seemed like we were going to be mired in mediocricy with the philosophy of the management team and the mantra of the owners. Injuries to Ryan Miller and Derek Roy early in the season were almost nails in the coffin early on.
Rumors swirled around that the team was for sale, and that Terry Pegula was going to buy the Buffalo Sabres. The team was quick to dispell these rumors and maintain their position that the team was not for sale. The rumors turned out to be true, and the former owners revealed alot about their hockey operations when the sale was made official. The hockey department was given a directive to not lose money. Keeping the operation in the black was more important than winning.
Now that explains a lot when it comes to all the moves Darcy made; losing Danny Briere, Brian Campbell, Chris Drury, the list could go on and on.
As of January 1st – the Sabres were one of the best teams in the league. We were all hoping that the luck or success that we found to climb into the playoffs would carry over, and the Flyers would fall at our hands.
We are here today in order to memorialize and remember the season that was. Today is locker cleanout day at HSBC Arena, and while you can’t take what the players say for granted, because at this point they all want to stay and win in Buffalo – but we have seen that lip service before.
Changes are on the horizon. There are many restricted and unrestricted free agents on this roster. There is room for improvement. The 2011-2012 Buffalo Sabres are going to look vastly different than the club that skated this year.
While the Pegula era started with a bang this year, it ended with a fizzle. Next year starts the first full year for the quest for a Stanley Cup with the new passionate owner, something we have never seen before.
Rest in Peace 2010-2011 Buffalo Sabres. Thank you for the run. It was an amazing time. The countdown to free agency begins, and October is only a blink away.