We all the words of the song – well, depending on what version you have heard or adhere to. Regardless, the twelve days of Christmas outlines the gifts that a true love gives. The twelve days of Christmas actually marks off the “Christmas” season on the Christian calendar, running from December 25th to the celebration of Epiphany on January 6th.
So instead of merely changing the words to the favorite Christmas carol – were going to give you what gifts Pat Lafontaine should be unwrapping for the Christmas season to turn the Buffalo Sabres around this holiday season. Some will make more sense then others, some will just have to be dealt with to keep the song moving forward.
On the first day of Christmas the Buffalo Sabres need…..a franchise goalie in the crease.
If you want the future of your organization to start sooner than later, you need to land a franchise goalie and lock him up long term, so you have
a range of confidence in the crease, and build outward.
For many fans, last April’s fan appreciation night was supposed to be Ryan Miller‘s final hoorah in a Buffalo Sabres uniform, the luck fan at the end of the night to get the game used number 30 was going to walk away from that night with a little piece of history.
With no movement of the goalie in the off season, Ryan Miller started in the lackluster first part of the season, posting career type numbers, despite the team in front of him unable to win. Unlike Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller couldn’t check out, mentally or physically. With a bid to Sochi on the line and stiff competition for the starting spot in the chase for gold, Ryan Miller had to show up with his game face on, or miss losing his crease for Team USA.
With the change in heart for the general manager and coaching position by Terry Pegula, does it make it interesting for Ryan Miller to stick around? Behind Miller is Jhonas Enroth who you want to build around – or will he get the Martin Biron treatment and remain the backup goalie as recently acquired Matt Hackett is made available for the crease.
Buffalo has some deep options at the goalie position, but are any of them capable of being considered a franchise goaltender? The downfall of the Buffalo Bills and their inability to snap a playoff drought that now has reached 14 years probably rests on the fact that they have not had a franchise quarterback to help lead them to the promised land. Are the Buffalo Sabres going to look within with the goaltending prospects that the last regime left in place, or will a different model for goaltending be adopted? The one even keel for the Buffalo Sabres at the goaltending position is Olympic coach Jim Corsi, the man who has been the goaltending coach in the organization since 2001. Regardless of who is coaching the position; you need to have that goalie that is going to play the bulk of the games in the season, and have the mentality capability to stand the pressure of the post season.
Without solidifying what is happening in the crease, no amount of rebuilding will do any good if you have a weak link in net. Buffalo needs to settle on who the netminder of the future is quickly and stick with him, or be very up front of who the guy is and tell us that they are waiting till they are ready to roll out the plan.
Given the progress that the new regime has already made, I don’t think we will be waiting much longer on the decision of the franchise goaltender, good, bad or indifferent. Follow the breaks to see options the Buffalo Sabres have available to fulfill wish list number one this Christmas season.