It has been a year of opposites for the Buffalo Sabres and their American Hockey League counterparts the Rochester Americans. While the Buffalo Sabres have been mired in the bottom of the Eastern Conference struggling to find their way, the Americans were busy building on their early playoff exit from last year and chasing down first place in the Western Conference. Now they seem to be almost a mirror image.
The loss of Head Coach Ron Rolston to the parent club has not had the effect on the Buffalo Sabres the organization may have been hoping for, and the Rochester Americans are not fairing better either. Under interim head coach Chadd Cassidy, the red, white, and blue Buffalo Sabres farm team has gone 0-4, dropping losses like they were the Buffalo Sabres.
With a 27-22-2-1 record, the Rochester Americans have fallen out of grace and hold the ninth place spot in the Western Conference.
On top of losing their head coach, the Buffalo Sabres have recalled captain Kevin Porter, and defenseman Adam Pardy to help the struggling club. Those losses have been felt both on and off the ice as well. In Pardy’s brief time on the ice in Rochester he became a steadying force for the blue line, and Porter’s veteran leadership has been helping the development of the young team.
With 24 games remaining on their schedule, there is still time for the Rochester Americans to regain a place of honor as far as the Calder Cup goes – but they cannot let this run continue. All but three teams ahead of them have played more games, (two have played the same number, one has played fewer), so it is feasible the Amerks could use their games in hand to their advantage.
They are just two points out of the final playoff spot in the conference, trailing the Chicago Wolves – the only team ahead of them that have played fewer games (2). In the North division, while once championing for the top spot in the division and an automatic bid into the top three of the conference, they now sit only above the Hamilton Bulldogs. They are five points behind the Toronto Marlies who hold the division lead.