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Buffalo Sabres Lose Again, So Naturally It's Time To Panic . . . Right?

It’s been a terrible 2012-2013 season, Buffalo Sabres fans, but at least there’s next year!  Check back in with us as we cover the off-season, the NHL draft, and . . .

. . . wait – the season isn’t over yet?  Are you serious?  Hmmm.  Let me check the calendar – yep, February 6th.  Well I’ll be damned – the season is still going!  In fact, we’ve only played ten games, not even 25%!

I guess I’m just confused, then, because everywhere I turn this morning, I’m bombarded with negativity and end-of-the-world doom and gloom pertaining to the Buffalo Sabres.   Over at Die By The Blade, for example, there’s not much joy to be found.  Some fans are already envisioning the demolition of the team; others are calling for Lindy Ruff, Darcy Regier, or both to be relieved of their responsibilities; some are even counting down the days to MLB’s spring training camps, which is weird since, you know, there’s no MLB team in Buffalo.   Many fans are complaining about the goaltending; others, the defense; some, the offense; some fans, all three.

And we’ve played ten games so far.

Look: I get it.  Fans are passionate.  Fans pay an awful lot of money for their season tickets, concession stand goodies, NHL Center Ice or Gamecenter packages, the jerseys they wear to the games, the glasses they drink out of at home – got it!  As fans, we invest a lot of time and emotion into cheering for a team of athletes we all wish we were like, wanting them to win so badly we often let losing ruin our day, for reasons even we cannot understand.  Being a fan is a lot of lows mixed in with some amazing highs, and none of us like to see a team lose, and lose often, so I completely understand why Buffalo Sabres fans are agitated today.

I do.

I’m guilty of dwelling on the negative sometimes, as well.  I’ve called for Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold to be benched.  I’ve wrung my hands over which players (other than Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville, and Cody Hodgson) are going to start earning their paychecks and score some goals.  I’ve argued why this Sabres team is never going to win without a true playmaking center, and I’ve lobbied hard for upper management to consider going after someone like Ryan O’Reilly who is currently stuck in the KHL, a victim of the Colorado Avalanche’s stingy ways.  The Sabres have not given me an awful lot of positives to write about, and I have been pretty tough when it comes to describing what I see happening on the ice.

But please – let’s have some perspective.

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As I wrote prior to the beginning of this shortened season, the ’94 New Jersey Devils won a Stanley Cup despite the fact that they didn’t have a .500 record until they had played a full month – 15 games .  I may be in favor of going out and trading for an elite-caliber player at the center position, but I’m not calling for a complete overhauling of the current roster.  I haven’t loved what Tyler Myers has given the team so far (last night being a nice change of pace), but I’m only asking that he be benched, not traded.  And I have never asked that Lindy Ruff be fired, although I imagine the Sabres organization is watching this season unfold and will consider making some pretty big changes if the team cannot salvage the season.In short, I’m fully aware that the Sabres are struggling, but I’m able to wait a bit longer than ten games to throw in the towel and declare the season a bust.

Even after last night’s loss, there are some reasons to think the Sabres are close to figuring this lockout-shortened season out.  The line of Vanek-Pominville-Hodgson did produce one goal, but for most of the night the offense was coming from other lines, which is what we have been expecting.  Defensemen Leopold and Myers both had their best games of the season – they may yet remember how to play this game!  And the goaltending . . . uh . . . well, at least Jhonas Enroth didn’t give up five goals!  Yeah, I’m disappointed with this area, too.

It’s hard to find the positives in a three-game losing streak; it’s hard to see anything good in a team that has lost seven out of its last eight games.   We’re all praying for a miracle but dreading more of the same, but the season is young, and anything can happen.  Let’s hold off on the “The sky is falling!” chatter until the season is half-way done.

If things aren’t better by then, I call dibs on the panic button.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Darcy Regier Lindy Ruff Thomas Vanek

  • PaulR

    I would agree with you, but this team’s play, and this slump, look like replays of so many losing streaks over the last 5 years. This team has not progressed at all in 5 years, and someone should be accountable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Drunkenribeye Rich Spalding

      I see that point of view. I guess my patience is based on the fact that the lockout destroyed training camps and practices for everyone, and there are some truly good teams that are also struggling right now because of that. My patience isn’t infinite; I’m just not at the point of “We’ve hit rock bottom” – yet!

      • Kevin

        Thanks Richie For that truthful and positive outlook. I needed that. I also feel it has been HOW (very bad) they have been losing that has been the factor. The good news is the HOW (almost there) has improved. That’s why predict they are going to snap out of this funk very soon. I truly believe that. Like you said they have only played 10 games.

        • http://twitter.com/theaveragedick Richard Spalding

          Well, there certainly were signs of life the other night. The Sabres might have won that game with Miller in net (hate to throw Jhonas under the bus, but I don’t think Miller gives up all of those goals). Very interested to see what kind of Sabres team we see in FNC tonight. P.S. Thanks for making me feel younger! lol

  • Troy Berkely

    It’s looking a lot like last season. Groundhog day! I wonder what the excuses will be if this team yet fails again to make the playoffs this year. I with you Mr. Spalding, this team does not need to be blown up, and I am of the belief they have some good pieces in place, however that being said, it is obvious that this team needs something, whether it be defense, another scorer, or simply a organizational change, the Sabres, aka, Mr. Pegula and Mr. Black, have to be objective in their assessment and be willing to be honest with themselves first. In a ironic twist, the Sabres are representative in how the city itself operates , ineptness, with a goal to achieve the status quo, is the next best thing to sliced bread, that diverts the true optics with semantic sludge. I have no doubt if the latter continues, there will be less viewers until significant changes occur. I will reserve my judgement until the season concludes, but I have been watching for a long time, and I am not one who submits to drinking the kool aid, merely being objective is as painful as admitting to yourself that you need to lose weight is a reality that most fans hate to admit. Sabres fans deserve better, and more importantly should insist on holding this organization to a higher standard.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Drunkenribeye Rich Spalding

      I wonder if the organization’s attempt to “achieve the status quo” is the by product of the small-market mindset. Some clubs talk about winning, but don’t really think big like your teams from Detroit, Chicago, Boston, NYC, etc. Too bad, because the Tampa Bay Lightning are proof that small market teams can compete. If you’ve read my stuff, you know I’m really committed to the idea that the Sabres cannot win without a truly elite center, but I doubt they are thinking big enough to go out and secure that final piece. Defensively, I think they just need to play smarter, and communicate more. It does feel like the organization needs to do some soul-searching and ask themselves, “Are we truly committed to winning it all?”

      • Troy Berkely

        That’s a good point. The TB’s and NC’s of the league figured out a way, so there should be no excuse for Buffalo. Not only playing smarter, but making smarter decisions on personnel as well, (Leino, Stafford contracts) are head scratches, and I solely blame Regier on these decisions. Also on the communication front; How much cultural diversity has hurt in that process? I am not saying that European players are the issue, or suggesting not drafting or getting the best player if he is European, rather asking if having too many players that speak different languages, from different countries muddles the communication process or is a contributing factor to a teams chemistry. I would like to see a analysis on this issue to see if there is any correlation.

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