Buffalo Sabres Biggest Problems Getting Bigger


The Buffalo Sabres became the first team over the weekend to lose ten straight games in regulation in nine years, and then last night; they go and add to the despair by losing another game.  A game in which they had immediate control over by chasing a goaltender by scoring three goals in eight shots.

You read that right.  Three goals, eight shots, and they ended the night of Petr Mzarek.  The level of compete they showed in last nights first period was probably their strongest showing since defeating the New York Islanders on December 27th, and was likely helped by the fact that the Detroit Red Wings came out last night and just didn’t care what happened in the first period, because they knew the Buffalo Sabres don’t have the word try anywhere in their roster.

Once it was figured out that the Sabres were going to have some jump, the Detroit Red Wings flipped the switch and it was all down hill from there.

It is getting harder and harder to watch the Buffalo Sabres – in fact, there isn’t much fun and there isn’t anything the shiny new HarborCenter is going to change to get people to hockey games.  Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News said it the best in his column yesterday:

"“…the Sabres have become historically inept. They’re a joke. A punchline. Most nights this team has little work ethic. They’re soft.”"

Whose fault is that?  GM Tim Murray is at fault, but truthfully though, he is just pulling the strings on a season that the team owner wants.  Pegula is high on McDavid, he wants a generational player, and Tim Murray is giving him exactly that.

Now sitting in last place, the desired spot in the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes, the Buffalo Sabres only need a few more losses in the streak to get some distance between them and the rest of the league.  They are only in last place thanks to a tie-breaker with the Edmonton Oilers at this point.

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The Buffalo Sabres have reached the mid-season All-Star break, and save for Zemgus Girgensons, they are going to get some much needed time off away from the game of hockey.  Drew Stafford can help his wife and new baby get settled back into home, but there are some other things that need to be happening as well.  He might want to take this break to start an inventory on his household goods.

The trade deadline is going to be fast approaching, and he is one player with a target on his back courtesy of Tim Murray.  Players not part of the future of the Buffalo Sabres – they know who they are; should be preparing for that call into the coaches office letting them know they aren’t part of the big picture anymore.

Drew Stafford is far from the only player to be thinking of where he might end up next year.  Cody Hodgson has been largely absent from the season; Chris Stewart shows potential, but with no one trying around him has to be frustrating.  Half the blue-liners on this team are watching the end of their careers tick away.

For those players, the All-Star break isn’t going to be very relaxing.  Where are they going to end up – what role will they play?

For the players that are part of the future, that have a future in Buffalo, you almost have to feel bad for them, generational player in the draft or not – the lure of getting big name free agents to want to sign with this team.

How many more players will get traded to Buffalo and instantly demand to play elsewhere or refuse to don the Blue and Gold?

The trade deadline is coming up on March 2, and to date Tim Murray has done nothing but sit back and let the team wallow in it’s failure.  It’s a surprise that the Buffalo Sabres still have anyone attending the games, let alone attract more fans that the Florida Panthers.

Ted Nolan can only do so much.  At this point the only bag in his tricks that might work for this team is to poke them with a stick and say try harder.  The fact that he remains an NHL coach is shocking, and to think, that just a month ago when the Sabres were streaking up the standings in their little hot streak was there the start of rumors that he could be in the running for another Jack Adams trophy at the helm of the Sabres.

Last night during the teams timeout as the game started to slip away, Ted Nolan appeared to be the only one on the bench with any sort of motivation as he tried to spark some semblance of the first period in his team.

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You have to give credit to Tim Murray, pulling the trigger on either firing Ted Nolan or making a move on the roster at this point could spur some motivation and put the Buffalo Sabres on a run that would knock them out of contention for one of the generational players available in the draft, but the longer he over-values his players and allows the whole to get bigger, the harder it is going to be for him to climb out.

For the Buffalo Sabres, they continue to develop good young players for other teams, and remain the place for aging players to go for one last NHL contract before retiring from the game.

Next: Buffalo Sabres Complete Breakdown Against Detroit