Good news, Sabre Noise readers: I have figured out the Buffalo Sabres organization.
Seriously: while all of you are at home, trying to figure out what in the hell Terry Pegula, Ted Black, Darcy Regier and especially Ron Rolston are actually trying to accomplish, I have cracked the code and solved the mystery.
And the answer has been right in front of our noes the entire time: reality television.
Before you dismiss this as just the ravings of a lunatic, or a sarcastic dig at the team, remember – I’m doing my best to maintain a positive outlook this season. I have enjoyed watching some of the younger players take baby steps toward becoming bona fide NHL players, and the games against San Jose and Los Angeles last week were truly exciting contests to watch. Heck, I just published a piece that chastised a few Buffalo writers for perpetuating the “Woe are we” mentality that defines the “suffering” fanbase, so why would I want to start being negative now?
Exactly – I wouldn’t. Which must mean I am actually being serious here: the Buffalo Sabres are secretly filming this season with the hopes of marketing it as a reality TV series, a la HBO’s Hard Knocks.
Come on – this has to be the reason why this franchise APPEARS to be such a mess right now. No team is really this clueless, right? So this is all an elaborate plan, because drama sells, big time.
We need look no further than the Sabres’ last game to see proof of my theory. Sure, Buffalo was being pasted by the Anaheim Ducks for the second time in
a week, and yes, the coaching staff COULD have accepted the blame for not effectively game-planning for an Anaheim team that had already showed Buffalo what to expect. But blaming the coaching staff, specifically head coach Ron Rolston, is too easy, too boring, too un-sexy, for television. So who winds up getting the blame for the embarrassing loss, in the form of being benched during the third period? The Sabres’ starting line of forwards: Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, and Matt Moulson.
Wait – Rolston benched Matt Moulson, the player who just joined Buffalo as a result of the Thomas Vanek trade? The guy who has scored 30+ goals in three consecutive seasons? The dude who will turn a UFA at the end of the season, and who many fans would love to sign sign a long-term contract with the Sabres, a team that has problems, you know, scoring?
AND THE ONLY GOOD, PROVEN FORWARD WE ACTUALLY HAVE? HE BENCHED MATT MOULSON?
Yes . . . and calm down, Mister All-Caps. It’s all for show. It’s called creating conflict, and building tension, and it’s great for TV.
Sucky for, you know, hockey. But great for TV.
I mean, that has to be what’s going on here – correct? Because if you have a shred – and I mean, a tiny, Mozzarella-cheese-sized shred – of intelligence, you do not bench the guy who has played all of six games for you. Six games, six points in those games, and lots of energy and hustle = benched, in a blowout loss against arguably the best team in the NHL?
Not unless you have a juicy contract from HBO or Showtime sitting on the table. Certainly not if you want to retain Moulson’s services, or keep your own job as the head coach of an NHL team.
By now you’e asking yourself, how did I, an idiot blogger, gather all of the evidence and solve this mystery before the better-paid, better-dressed, and better-looking members of the professional sports media? Simple: I asked myself this question: “Is Ron Rolston REALLY that dumb?”
Then, when I was absolutely convinced that no one on the planet is actually dumb enough to punish a player who clearly is NOT the reason why the franchise is incapable of playing NHL-quality hockey, I asked another question: “Well, if he isn’t that dumb, then there MUST be a good reason why he benched Moulson, right?”
And here we are.
This should come as a relief to all fans of the Buffalo Sabres, as it proves once and for all that the organization does, indeed, have a vision. Sadly, it comes at the price of good hockey, but hey! It makes for good entertainment.