The Top Five Changes I Want to See the Buffalo Sabres Make

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Change the Culture and Perception Surrounding The Team

Apr 5, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres fans move a flag around the center before the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators at the First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Senators 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

During the offseason, I wrote a lot about how the Buffalo Sabres need to create a culture of winning.  Step one, in my opinion, was to bring in some personnel who actually have enjoyed success in the NHL – Dominik Hasek, for example.   I was happy to see Terry Pegula bring in Ted Nolan and Pat LaFontaine, as both of these guys fit the description of guys who have enjoyed success in the league.

However, there is much more work to be done.  The Buffalo Sabres are the whipping boys of the NHL, the sports media, and fans around North America, and not just because of the team’s record.  Keeping Darcy Regier on board for way too long hurt the team’s credibility; allowing some players-who-shall-not-be-named to leave town did the same; and naming Ron Rolston the head coach, only to can him before November – yep, it all adds up to a franchise that resembles the punchline to a joke more than a professional hockey team. No free agent in his right mind would want to play for this team; anyone who gets traded here is going to jump ship the first chance he gets; and even my previous suggestion won’t keep fans coming to the arena if the team is an absolute laughingstock.

Again, winning games will help in this regard – but it takes the right people to make the right decisions to bring respect and glory back to this team.  I honestly think the HARBORCENTER project will help to establish Buffalo as a bit of a hockey mecca, but there’s so much more work to be done.  I don’t envy Pat LaFontaine and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres’ front office, as they have quite the challenge in front of them.

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