The Buffalo Sabres will take to the ice one last time tonight with nothing left to play for but their dignity.
With no hope for the playoffs every member of the Buffalo Sabres, to include the coaching staff will have one last game to try to ensure their safety heading into what should be an interesting off season of changes – as the team enters the rebuilding phase.
On fan appreciation night, it could be the last time people in Buffalo see favorite players Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek. Ryan Miller has grown slightly estranged from the team lately, with the latest outburst that the teams starting goaltender comparing himself to Patrick Roy at the end of his time in a Montreal sweater. Thomas Vanek does not want to be part to a long term rebuilding process if that is the course the Buffalo Sabres choose to take. If Jhonas Enroth starts in net tonight, the Buffalo Sabres fans could have seen Ryan Miller have played in his final game as a member of the blue and gold.
Both players are entering the final year of their contracts and Buffalo could resign both players to extensions when the teams enter the free agent period.
If the team can’t rebuild quickly, that’s a direct reflection on management – given the fact that so many other teams have gone from worst to first or worst to contenders in one off season.
The New York Islanders head into the final game of the season with something to play for. While they need some help from the New Jersey Devils. With an Islanders win tonight, and a Devils win against the Rangers on Saturday, the Islanders can avoid playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
With the impending move to Brooklyn – the New York Islanders are rewarding their fans with at least one more playoff push in the second to last year in Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders will play their first game at the Barclay Center on September 21st when the long awaited preseason matchup between the Devils takes place, and will officially play regular season action in Brooklyn beginning in 2015.