Which brings me back to the jersey. The fact that it is physically unappealing is not the real problem here; the real problem here is that the Buffalo Sabres come across as being an inept organization, at almost every level. Even before the jersey was revealed, you had the laughable “sneak peak” campaign that the franchise used in an attempt to build interest, or distract fans from the fact that was really nothing new to get excited about during the offseason. While other teams simply hold a press conference to reveal their new sweaters, the Sabres played cutesy on Twitter, showing us a sleeve here and a shoulder there. Who thought that was honestly a good idea?
From the owner throwing his hat in a failed GM’s ring, to a front office that allows good players to walk away while over-paying players who have not yet earned that paycheck, to a PR department who succeeded only in pissing off its fanbase, to the final straw of the laughable third jersey (folks – you NEVER put two different shades of gold side-by-side!), it’s tough to watch the Buffalo Sabres right now. With so many swings-and-misses, I cannot help but get the feeling that this organization is completely lost at sea. You just don’t see this sort of top-to-bottom silliness (or total ineptitude, if I’m being harsh) outside of the Calgary Flames. (Ouch!) (And no, I’m not blaming the flooding of the Saddledome on upper management!) Buffalo Sabres fans are often accused of expecting, and therefore getting, the worst – but at what point do we stop blaming the fans for being disappointed and realize that, quite often, the disappointment is deserved?
I hope – I honestly, truly, sincerely, “insert-your-adverb-here” hope – that the young prospects that so many of us are waiting to see play this sport truly carry this franchise on their backs into the future . . . but dammit it if it isn’t hard to feel good about the direction the team is headed with so many gaffes, oversights, questionable or just downright godawful decisions coming out of the 716 any more. Developing young talent is tricky; creating lines that have chemistry is challenging; deciding which players to bring up and which ones to send back down is . . . you get the point. It’s not as simple as, “We have good young talent.” Good young talent must be trained, coached, and used effectively. I want to believe we’re being steered toward hockey heaven, but I’m worried about the captains, folks.
So don’t fret over the jersey. Instead, wonder if the Buffalo Sabres seriously are this discombobulated, or if they were just pulling a fast one on us in order to make other NHL teams underestimate just how good this team will be. It would be the only time I wouldn’t mind the Sabres being laughed at by the rest of the hockey world.