For the 10th time in the last 13 games, the Buffalo Sabres lost. This time, to the hands of the New York Islanders, 4-2.
Once again, the Sabres collapsed under the pressure of a heavy forecheck, which led to the Isles spending long periods of time in the offensive zone. Fortunately, Jhonas Enroth was on top of his game, making a plethora of highlight reel saves – 36 in total.
Once again, the Sabres exhibited poor passing and execution trying to navigate through the neutral zone. Once into the Isles territory, decision making wasn’t much better.
Once again, the Sabres were pensive and passive in the offensive zone. Players opted for the pass, instead of taking shots when the opportunities presented themselves.
Everyone is aware of the designated destination for this ship. As each game passes, it becomes clearer and clearer that the ship is off course. The ship needs a new captain. It was revealed in a recent Buffalo News article that the owner of the ship is content with the current course.
I didn’t realize that billionaires drank Kool-Aid so heavily.
The injury excuse is a weak scapegoat. Injuries are part of hockey. The Pittsburgh Penguins are without captain Sidney Crosby; the Philadelphia Flyers are without captain Chris Pronger; the Montreal Canadiens are without captain Brian Gionta. Have they/will they just pack up their bags, call it a season, and use the injury excuse?
The Sabres are in desperate need of leadership. According to Ryan Miller, “We’re waiting for something or someone to lead us out of the dark shadows.”
A new coach would be a great start. Lindy Ruff shows no confidence in his players, and gives them none either. One day, Tyler Myers is being ask to play more defensively. The next, he is asked to jump into the offense more. One day, Jochen Hecht, Brad Boyes, Luke Adam, and Ville Leino are playing center. The next, they are all playing wing. Constantly flipping around the line combinations only further exacerbates the problem.
How can the players gain any semblance of confidence or chemistry or consistency in that type of environment? They can’t.
Seems simple. Give the players positions to play, set the lines, and give them roles. Then let them play. Support them, and build their confidence.
Before the season began, the fans were sold on a team that was going to be offensively aggressive, rolling lines. A team that was built with more offensive defensemen, that would be joining rushes, attacking through the neutral zone. Instead, these Buffalo Sabres are timid, with little offensive attack, and collapsing under opponents offensive attacks.
These Sabres need less excuses, and more leadership. Leadership and confidence, stemming from the ownership, and trickling down to the bench, then onto the ice.