Why The Third Jersey of the Buffalo Sabres is the Least of Our Concerns

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So the new third jersey for the Buffalo Sabres isn’t what many of us thought it should be, eh?

Get over it.Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 12.42.06 PM

Hey – I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I think the jersey deserves all of the negativity that is being tossed its way, and then some.  It’s almost like different parts of the jersey were assigned to different artists – “Here!  You design the armpit!” – and the individual creations were fused together, Victor Frankenstein-style, into the monstrosity that was unveiled yesterday.

So yeah, I don’t like the jersey.  But in and of itself, the third jersey is not enough to occupy my time.

The fact that this is another epic fail on the part of the Buffalo Sabres organization, however, IS worth my time  And your time.  And the time of every Buffalo Sabres fan fretting over whether it’s okay to dislike the jersey (because Buffalo Sabres fans always expect the worst, so we’re only disappointed in the jersey because, well, we’re always disappointed).

Think about this: what has the Buffalo Sabres franchise done “right,” lately?  (I placed quotation marks around the word because I understand it is a highly subjective concept.  There is no true right and wrong, so for this post, “right” really equals = “supported by an overwhelming majority of the fanbase.”)  I will concede that they have so far proven my gut instincts about the 2013 NHL Entry Draft wrong – I’m man enough to do that.  But from the draft on, this team has done nothing to improve a team that looked pretty bad on both ends of the ice last season.  As a matter of fact, there is a good chance that this year’s team could be worse than last year’s squad, which I guess appeals to those fans who want to land a high draft pick next year, but not to those of us who watch this team because we want to see the team be competitive night in and night out.  I don’t pay money for “what might be,” I pay money for “what is, now.”  And it’s not just me – you can’t find too many members of the media who feel the “sit on our hands and wait” approach is really what this team should be doing – yet here we are.

Let’s go back a little bit more: this past February, the Sabres let go of long-time coach Lindy Ruff for his failure to get results on the ice . . . yet, to the amazement of pretty much anyone who follows the sport of hockey, the Sabres continue to trust in General Manager Darcy Regier, who has failed to create teams who get results on the ice.  Regier inherited arguably the greatest goaltender to ever lace his skates in the NHL, and he failed to build a team that could return to the Stanley Cup Finals following its heart-breaking loss in 1999.  Not only that, but upper management continues to testily ask reporters, “What has Regier done wrong?” when the obvious answer is that he has not done much right.

Digging even deeper into history, we can find the Sabres offering bajillions (it’s a real number!) of dollars to players such as Tyler Myers and Ville Leino . . . probably an after-effect of allowing both Chris Drury and Danny Briere to leave town in 2007 . . . only to get absolutely laughable results.  Yet both players are still on the Sabres’ roster.  (I’m inclined to give Tyler Myers another season – he’s still young, so he has some benefit of the doubt left.)   As is Drew Stafford, who Buffalo is probably stuck with because no one in the NHL would touch him after his no-show of a season in 2012-2013.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres

  • Caitlin Campbell

    I fully agree rich, this organisation is complete joke right now and it’s hard to watch. Hopefullly they can get it figured out soon. Solid piece!

  • Kevin

    I like the Frankenstein comparison. The thing about the Unis’ is that to me they are an embarrassment to the aura of an already fragile organization. Before this came out everyone new we were in a rebuild with promising young stars, then this just throws an ugly ass hat on the team. Too bad, such a wasted opportunity for a good thing to the psyche of the fan base of this team. Now look it. Way to Sabres, Again you fail to see the big picture.

  • Jes

    Nice read. The organization totally failed here especially with all that build up to the jersey. Honestly all I got to say I’m just hoping all my friends don’t start laughing at me once they see the jersey. BRING BACK THE GOAT HEAD FOR THE THIRD JERSEY!!!!

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Thanks, Jes. Sabres fans are in for some ribbing now (if we were not already).

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  • Timothy Redinger

    I would rather see them pay homage to the old school Buffalo hockey and put the new logo on a bottle cap. Or we could just run with our normal jerseys and keep it that way for the rest of history – we don’t need another sweater, we need a winning team.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      No kidding, You have to think most of the reason that they dragged out the reveal is to distract fans from the fact that this team really did not improve much (on paper) during the offseason, They tried to build up excitement for what really is a non-event, which only made the reveal even that more ridiculous and disappointing. The whiff!

  • Bill Stowers

    Oh my god, i just realized we are the new york jets of the NHL….. FML… :(

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Oh man, you had to put it that way? :D

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  • qwicwted

    Rich…Rich….Rich – Hockey is a Free Market enterprise – the first rule of thumb is…..you need to have something someone wants in order to make a trade. Meyers – no value, Leino – no value, Stafford – no value, Vanek – has value, but it is limited because he becomes a free agent (also, other teams know he doesn’t really want to be in Bflo) so I’m sure the offer are low balled. Miller – very limited value – he’s not the darling of the media anymore, might not even make the Olympic team and most teams are pretty much set at goal – also, he deflated his value by stating his desire to go West and not be part of a rebuild.
    So, that leaves us with Ennis, Ott, Fogilino, Porter, Kaleta, Sulzer, Erhoff, Weber and let’s not forget Adam as trade bait. So…..do you honestly think Tyler Ennis and Luke Adam will get us ROR?
    I know you have your “Wish List” – but how about a “Reality List”. Its always easy to be critical and “dream”, but let’s be real……
    The new jersey is not a ploy to take the focus off the team, it is a ploy to sell jersey’s – Yes…..its ugly and ranks with the slug or mad bflo, but we all know it will be a limited addition – so….get it before its gone – it will be a collector’s item.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding


      You and I have chatted about the trade scenario, and I agree with you for the most part. Plenty of soon-to-be UFAs get traded, though, and if Buffalo knew there was rebuild ahead of them they could have made moves that involved more than just Pominville. Besides, the Sabres COULD trade Miller or Vanek – they are just unable to, and not just because of the fact that Miller and Vanek will be UFAs after this coming season.

      It’s not just the lack of trades this summer, either – it’s a consistent string of occasional hits with some pretty big swings-and-misses that concerns me. Free agents blunders, huge contracts that are ridiculous, the fact that Regier hasn’t been canned when any other team would have let him go years ago – I just get the feeling that (unlike franchises like Detroit, for example) the Sabres really are just guessing at almost every level.

      Hey – appreciate the comments!

      • qwicwted

        Actually Rich – I thought Darcy made some pretty slick moves – Gaustad, Regher and Leopold for draft picks – who would have thought? Huge contracts? Well Meyers was touted as the second coming of Pronger – and if he continued his level of play when he was signed long term, we wouldn’t hear a peep. At the time of his signing – I think we all agreed it was a solid move. With Leino, we all know he was misused his first year – shifting positions and shifting lines, but there were times when we saw glimpses of his talent – then injury. I’m sure Leino wants to play and he wants to justify his long contract/signing – I’m willing to give him a shot and hope he stays healthy. Based on the 8 games he played last year – 6 points shows he does have some talent. Ehroff – I would have to say he was a good signing – he logs a lot of minutes and is a mainstay on D – Captain material some say. Stafford – a disappointment signing, but at the time fans wanted him signed. Too bad he hasn’t lived up to everyone’s faith in him. Thing is……I saw something in him the latter part of last season, a more physical, go in front of the net and battle hard in the corners Stafford. So, maybe he is taking a page out of Otts book and will have a comeback year.
        I think maybe I am more an optimist – I’m not saying Darcy is the best, but in a lot of cases he played the hand he was dealt – management interference, addition by subtraction et al. Kind of like the way Melnyk dealt with Alfredson – sounds familiar.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          Your optimism is welcome. I am really excited to watch the Sabres this year because of their talent . . . but not because I honestly think the Sabres have a clear vision of how to build a winning team. I go back to the post I wrote about getting Hasek (or any ex-Sabre who has enjoyed success) into the organization. When this organization misses, they miss the mark so bad it’s laughable. Keep my hopes up, though!!!

  • Joe Mazurkiewicz

    Will NOT even use 3rd jersey as bummwipe!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dan Rowe

    “So yeah, I don’t like the jersey. But in and of itself, the third jersey is not enough to occupy my time.” It occupied your time enough for you to write this article about the shitty jersey.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      No – the jersey is just ONE sign that the organization seems pretty hit-and-miss all over. This entire post was not about the jersey.

  • Buffalo1Ben

    If we can just skate hard and have some spirit with this squad I think there could be a little hope. I am tired of garbage and wearing my sabres gear in California and someone saying “you’re a sabres fan.” and I say “yes I’m from buffalo.” I can’t even talk or say anything if they are a Philly or sens or leafs fan even though I hate those teams with a passion. Sucks. I wanna talk shit again and have a little pride wearing blue and gold around. Go Sabres

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      The Sabres certainly have a chance to mold this time into a hard-working, tough-minded bunch. That what I am afraid of, though – does the organization know how to do that? Thanks for the read – stay strong!

  • ende

    “As a matter of fact, there is a good chance that this year’s team could be worse than last year’s squad, which I guess appeals to those fans who want to land a high draft pick next year, but not to those of us who watch this team because we want to see the team be competitive night in and night out. I don’t pay money for “what might be,” I pay money for “what is, now.” And it’s not just me – you can’t find too many members of the media who feel the “sit on our hands and wait” approach is really what this team should be doing – yet here we are.”

    Richard, this is very short sighted. We have to rebuild. We have no choice. There just simply isn’t any other option. There is literally nothing we can do in free agency or trade (we don’t have anything to trade) at this point that would truly improve this team. For too long we have lingered in mid-standing malaise. To break this pattern we have to purge, hit rock bottom, then rebuild from the ground up. That is how Pittsburgh and Chicago have done it. We need a 2 year rebuild. If we are very smart, and a little lucky, we we will come out of the 2015 season drafting Connor McDavid and signing RFA Patrick Kane.

    Pressure from the fans and media to deviate from a rebuild will only hurt the process and threaten to derail it completely. It’s very understandable that it is frustrating for fans to have gone from the high expectations of the Briere/Drury years to the consistent disappointment of the recent pass and now be told that we have to tank to go forward, but it really is the only way to become a competitive team. Personally I suggest going out to watch Amerks games; that’s where the future of this team is currently.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Thanks for the comments! I agree that a rebuild is necessary – 100%, no arguments. But relying SOLELY on the draft? That is short-sighted and leaves so much to chance. Members of the media all agreed that the Sabres drafted very wisely – but you can’t show me someone who thinks the Sabres were smart to eschew free agency AND trades in order to supplement. Having looked at some research regarding how may prospects enjoy successful (200+ games) NHL careers, I have an idea of how many players in the Sabres’ system will become bona fide NHLers. Why not move a piece or two in order to bring in players that have already proven they are quality NHL players? You don’t have to abandon the rebuild, but shooting for last place deliberately next season isn’t acceptable, either, IMO.

      • ende

        Not solely. I absolutely agree that we should look at free agency and trade as well, but there’s no point in doing that for another two years. Darcy is on record noting the King’s model of drafting high prospects and trading in for proven talent. I think some of that will happen here.

        But shooting for last place is entirely acceptable. Believing otherwise is precisely the philosophy that has brought us the last decade of mid-standings malaise: not good enough to compete, but not bad enough to rebuild. It’s called creative destruction, and we need a dose. Would you rather win a couple extra games in 2014 or draft Connor McDavid?

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          You’re honestly saying you want a professional team to deliberately tank for an entire season? You must not be a season ticket holder. And where does it end – how many teams would you be okay with watching them all fight to be the worst team in the NHL? Florida, Tampa Bay, Colorado, Carolina, Buffalo, Calgary – they’re all going to try to spend the entire season gunning to lose the most games? Who would actually watch a season of hockey when 1/3 of the teams are all deliberately trying to lose?