Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t Boo The Sabres Rookies

It’s been another rough and painful season for Buffalo Sabres fans. Coming into the season there were high expectations for the Sabres which they have failed to live up to. As a result they find themselves in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with only a handful of games remaining.

When a team under-performs it’s easy for fans to become frustrated. To say Sabres’ fans are frustrated would be an understatement. Fans demanded a rebuild and they got their wish, so why are they expecting the Sabres to be an 8th place team?

Sabres fans are frustrated and they have every right to be, but there’s a difference between just being frustrated and what took place during last night’s game.

The Sabres downed the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a nerve wracking shootout on Sunday evening. However, based on the fans’ reactions during the game you would have thought they were losing 13-0. Last night’s game hit a new low for any organization’s fan base; cheering when your team gets the puck out of their own end.

Yes it was embarrassing to see the Sabres hemmed in their own zone for over 2 minutes, but you have to remember who was on the ice for a large part of that shift. A rookie line of AHL players that really shouldn’t be together got trapped by one of the NHL’s best

Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

forechecking teams. You can’t fault the effort of Luke Adam, Kevin Porter or Brian Flynn during that shift, they did everything they could to clear the puck, the Devils forwards were just stronger.

Before we look at the Sabres team that is left, let’s take a step back and look at thing’s right before the trade deadline. What were Sabres fans calling for Darcy Regier to do? Sell the team, clean house and start the rebuild. Some fans even stated they wanted younger players who would be proud to wear the blue and gold.

Regier listened and shipped out two of the veteran defencemen in Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold, getting nothing but draft picks for the future in return. Regier also traded away captain Jason Pominville for young player’s that will help the team in the future. He did exactly what you asked him to do, he started cleaning house for the future.

The product that was booed and received bronx cheers when they cleared the puck last night, is likely the product Sabres’ fans are going to see for the next few seasons. The product they booed is exactly what they asked for- yet it’s still not good enough.

The Buffalo Sabres are now the youngest team in the NHL after the trade deadline and they’re not about to get any older. Next year’s top prospects: Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, Joel Armia and Brayden McNabb who will battle for roster spots are all under the age of 23;

Fans who pay money for tickets are entitled to express their opinions and boo if they don’t like what they’re seeing. But let’s remember who it is you’re booing. A team whose entire blue line, apart from Christian Ehroff, is under the age of 30, a team who’s first line center Cody Hodgson is only 23 and in only his 2nd full year in the NHL. Rookies such as Adam, Flynn, Porter, Adam Pardy and Mark Pysyk who are doing everything they can considering they’re way over their head’s.

This isn’t the same Buffalo Sabres core you wanted shipped out of town or have been complaining about for the last 6 season’s. It’s a new young team led by Steve Ott. One that is never going to quit, no matter how far out they are. At this point the Sabres have essentially become the Amerks, as a result they don’t currently possess the skills needed to succeed in the NHL.

The Sabres have skilled prospects that are going to play key roles in the future. Those players like Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Tyler Myers still need leadership and time to evolve their game. Aside from Ryan Miller, Drew Stafford, and Thomas Vanek, this is a brand new Sabres team.

Before the trade deadline fans were fed up with their underachieving veterans. They got their wish and now have a team of young players who are giving it their all every game. The effort the rookies are putting forward is hard to fault. They’re finding ways to win, while they

may not be pretty games they’re grinding out hard-fought victories.

Despite the games being ugly, the bottom line is the Sabres are winning when logic suggests they shouldn’t be. Why would you boo a team full of rookies that still belong in the AHL, that are finding ways to win hockey games?

When fans demanded a rebuild what did they expect? A brand new team that would climb up the standings and battle for a playoff spot? Unless you fully believed that the Sabres would battle for a playoff spot after trading two veteran defencemen and their captain, why are you booing?

Give the rookies a chance to get their feet wet and gain some valuable NHL experience. Next year’s team is going to be even younger and filled with more inexperienced rookies. With Miller, Stafford and possibly Vanek gone, it may be a very long season. You have to let the kids play and learn so that when the time is right and they’ve matured the Sabres will be ready to compete with the best in the NHL.



Tags: Buffalo Sabres NHL Sabres Rebuild

  • Chris Kapsiak

    really ….. calling the fans low for booing…. Were more than disappointed with what has transpired over the years here but don’t you ever blast a fan base who still fills that stadium given the product performance all year… of coarse boos came down there not babies has you want people to believe they know hockey pick your head up and make a pass, put your body into someone.. saying they were out worked is saying they worked at all.. no they just mirrored players and no one made nothing happen…. don’t come after the fans that bring 10 thousand plus out side the arena for games…. this isn’t are fault… get a team we can cheer

    • Timothy Redinger

      I think Jerry Sullivan said it the best, let Ryan Miller compare his salary to the average fan – spend that much on entertainment to be disappointed – he would boo too. Fans want to see good hockey played – what other voice do they have than to boo the on ice product – it seems to be the only way the fan is heard in Buffalo. We can’t get the team to change any other way.

      • Kevin

        it isn’t that she saying your should not be allowed to boo your team. Just ask yourself, are you you sitting there watching the game expecting an 11th or 12th place team to be playing like 7th or 8th team or higher? Please! That’s just unfair. I watch alot of Center ice and witness alot of the same things fans criticize the Sabres for by many teams much higher in the standings. It’s not just the Sabres. Give a little credit to the opponent for once.

        • Timothy Redinger

          Kevin – your right, teams you are playing should get some credit for playing better than their opponent – the Sabres are trying to avoid imploding on themselves this year, so everything is going to be magnified.
          The Buffalo Sabres also have a way of making bad teams better – just look at our last trip through Florida.

          • Kevin

            Your right about that Tim, the Sabres just flat out laid a brown egg.

          • Stephanie Stephen Daugherty

            I love it how you the writers come on to defend themselves. I understand what you are saying; however, you can see how lazy the team was playing for most of the season. When I look at teams that are winning they are a lot more aggressive and not standing around like the Sabres. I have to admit that it has been a little better as of late because I see the young guys picking up the pace and the veterans following suite. It should be the other way around with the veterans setting the example. I am not talking about all the veterans. Some have been very consistent. ie – miller, Vanek, Hodgson, Enrhoff, and Ott. If some of the other veterans would give half of the effort as Ott we would not be in this situation.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Exactly it’s all about perspective. The Sabres are in 11th right now and have a team full of young inexperienced players. Why do fans expect them to play like a 6th place team?

        • Dotsun Moon

          As long as you keep paying for an inferior team, an inferior team is what the Bills and Sabres will give you. Fair weather teams. When people stop attending, they will get serious about playing.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I’m not saying don’t boo. Fans have every right to be upset at what they’ve been seeing on the ice. What I’m saying is just be careful who you’re booing.

    • Justin Tosczak

      What do you do for a living man? If someone constantly criticized the job you were doing, or you could hear people saying under their breathe what a bad job you were doing, it would affect how you did your job. You would stop caring about the quality of work you did, and you would start to develop bad habits, because “who care’s anyway?”

      Get where I am going with this?

      These guys rely on fans to keep up momentum, and to help get inside the opposing teams head.. I live all the way up in Saskatchewan, and our football team, the Riders, is a perfect example of that… We are known for the best fans in Canada, and we will occasionally help our green and white pull out a close win because we helped keep up our momentum.

      The Sabres have normally been lucky to also have the best fans in the NHL, but this season everything changed.. I am getting really upset too, because I have always been a Sabre fan, and always been equally proud just to be a fan, as I was to actually cheer for the team, because again, we have the best fans…

      If you only cheer or support a team when it wins, then don’t call yourself a true Sabre’s fan, your just a hockey fan. I want to continue to be positive, and cheer on my Sabres, with the rest of the family of fans, because THAT is what being a Sabre fan is about.

      • Dotsun Moon

        They were cheered for the entire season until they once again did not make the play offs. Boos well deserved.

    • Dotsun Moon


  • Bob Walsh

    Give the young guys a chance. All of you we’re the new guy at your job at one time.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      exactly give the young guys and rookies a chance to learn and evolve their game before people start killing them with boo’s

  • Dotsun Moon

    Win and we won’t boo. Make the play-offs with an open checkbook and we won’t boo.