Last night’s brutal loss to the Minnesota Wild can only be summed up one way- brutal. Even interim head coach Ted Nolan admitted his team
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was very bad last night as the Buffalo Sabres opened 2014 and ended the first half of their season with a lose. Not only was last night’s loss brutal, it was also the Buffalo Sabres 41st game of this season which brings them to the halfway point of the 2013-2014 season, and if last night was any indication this season needs to end sooner rather than later.
After 41 games this season the Buffalo Sabres sit 30th in the NHL with a losing record of 11-26-4 good enough for 26 points, just 5 points behind the Edmonton Oilers. The Sabres are also on pace to become one of the lowest scoring teams in NHL history with just 144 goals over a 82 game season.
The first 41 games have been a little rough for the Buffalo Sabres this season but it’s not all doom and gloom for the boys in blue and gold.
Terry Pegula finally gave long-term general manager Darcy Regier the boot and with him went head coach Ron Rolston and the two were replaced by Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan. Since LaFontaine and Nolan have taken over the Buffalo Sabres have been, believe it or not, a much better hockey team.
But ironically have become a much worse team on the road compared to their play at home.
The Sabres have become a better team overall. They haven’t acquired much more skill, the players they currently have are working hard and battling for Ted Nolan. Many players such as Zemgus Girgensons, Tyler Myers and Mark Pysyk have had great season’s as the continue to propel the Sabres forward. Even Tyler Ennis has been playing better since Nolan took over. Ryan Miller is back to being the old Ryan Miller as he looks to earn back his starters job for the 2014 Olympics and has been the backbone of the Sabres this season. Imagine how bad they may be without him this season?
The first half of this season hasn’t been good and the second half will likely follow the same path as the continue down the road of rebuilding. The first thing the Buffalo Sabres need to accomplish as they head into the second half of the season is the hiring of a new GM. Whether LaFontaine wants the job himself or whether he’ll bring in Jim Benning, someone needs to be named the GM before this season lingers on.
The Sabres have big decisions to make in the next month as they must decide the future on Ryan Miller, Steve Ott and Matt Moulson amongst other free agents. Do they keep Miller to backstop through the rebuild? Do they try and convince Moulson to stay through the rebuild alongside Cody Hodgson?
Most importantly the Buffalo Sabres need to find a number one centre for the future and that player is niether Cody Hodgson nor Daniel Briere.
For the most part the rest of this season will continue as the first half has gone, little will change in the wins column but the future of the Buffalo Sabres will likely change forever as this season plays out. Who stays and who goes?
A quick change at the coaching and general manager position wasn’t going to turn this team right around. Have the Buffalo Sabres learned from past lessens and will future decisions be much better than the ones that have gotten us here?