Well, Sabre Noise readers, a day after I called the Toronto Maple Leafs the most embarrassing team in the NHL for their questionable tactics, the Buffalo
Sabres made the claim for second place as they succumbed to the St. Louis Blues tonight, 4-1.
Honestly, the Sabres are just nowhere near good enough to hang with a team like the Blues. Right about now, St. Louis is probably one of the top five teams in the NHL, with some arguing that they may actually be the best team in the league. Meanwhile, the Sabres are feeling the effects of being gutted by ex-GM Darcy Regier, and will continue to struggle against the absolute elite teams of the NHL for most of the season. It’s sad to watch, especially after we fans got what we pretty much wanted with the firing of Regier (and, for some of us, Ron Rolston), but as I said in my podcast earlier today, this team is just not built to win hockey games as it stands.
Things actually started out as well as they Sabres could have hoped, as Tyler Ennis put Buffalo on the board just ten seconds into the game. It seemed as if the Sabres were going to rebound from their disastrous first period Saturday night against the Leafs . . . but alas, St. Louis took the game over by the end of the first period, and at no point did it seem like Buffalo was ever to going to mount a comeback.
I know interim coach Ted Nolan wants to win some games with his new team, but after watching tonight’s game, I have to wonder why a player like Nikita Zadorov was sent back down to the London Knights. I have no problem with Mikhail Grigorenko being demoted to Rochester, and I am on the fence about Rasmus Ristolainen, but Zadorov is going to get nothing out of playing with the Knights. He’s not far off of being an NHL talent, and keeping him on the roster isn’t going to cost this team wins, obviously, so why not let him play?
Ah, but it’s a moot point. I think Nolan and Pat LaFontaine will get the Sabres back on track, but honestly, there’s not much they can do to salvage this train-wreck of a season. The truly elite teams of the NHL are just too much for Buffalo to handle, so as tonight’s contest made abundantly clear, all we as fans can do is be patient and hope that adversity brings out the best in the players who will make up the core of this team for years to come.