Dear Pegula Family: The Buffalo Sabres are not an afterthought

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: Terry Pegula of the Buffalo Sabres attends the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: Terry Pegula of the Buffalo Sabres attends the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Terry Pegula and the Buffalo Sabres are entering another important offseason as they look to avoid missing the playoffs for the 10th straight year.

Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of the lack of urgency and lack of attention the Buffalo Sabres receive from our owners, Kim and Terry Pegula. I’m not sure if anyone else remembers Terry Pegula’s introductory press conference as the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres, but I do.

It was February 22nd, 2011 — just four days after the sale of the Buffalo Sabres was announced — and Terry Pegula had the entire city of Buffalo eager for the new era. He was dedicated to the Sabres’ new mantra of bringing a Stanley Cup to the city of Buffalo and promised that there wouldn’t be any financial mandates for the Buffalo Sabres.

Not just that, but he stated that the rebuild process should only take three years or less — in theory.

That was in 2011. By the time February hits next season, Terry Pegula and the Buffalo Sabres will be celebrating their 10-year anniversary since that sale went through. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be the 10-year anniversary they were hoping for.

Under the leadership of Pegula, the Buffalo Sabres have now missed the playoffs in nine straight years — eight of which ended with a losing record.

While he has spent a lot of money on free agents over the past decade and has lived up to his promise of no financial mandates, that money has been spent recklessly. They’ve often been quick to hand out large contracts and fail to re-sign the right players when given the opportunity.

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Terry Pegula expected this to be a three-year (or less) process, but it has been far from that. Not only has it been a nine-year process thus far, but the Sabres are still losing. And they’re losing with players like Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, Jeff Skinner, and Victor Olofsson on their roster.

They have the talent to build around now. They have the prospects to start building towards the future. But the Pegulas continue to drop the ball and can’t seem to put together the front office, coaching staff, or full roster that’s ready to compete for a Stanley Cup appearance.

Look, I get it. They’re trying. They love this city, love this team, and wouldn’t intentionally do anything to put the team in a position to lose. At the same time, I don’t see that same fire I saw from Pegula 10 years ago. I don’t see that sense of urgency. I don’t see that passion.

I’m not sure if it’s because the Buffalo Bills are finally starting to see success (by the way, go Bills!) or if they’re just that lost on what to do at this point, but the Pegulas have been treating the Buffalo Sabres like an afterthought recently and I don’t think we can allow it.

Read. If only the Sabres could imitate what the Buffalo Bills are doing. light

We need culture. We need passion. We need to start winning.

I’m a strong believer in everyone doing their part and firmly believe it’s the only way to get anything done the right way, but it has to start at the top. It has to originate from the owners and reciprocate down through the rest of the organization.

Up to this point, the Buffalo Sabres’ brass has failed us. The front office has failed us. The coaching staff has failed us. Even most of the players have failed us. That’s not to say no one was trying, but at the end of the day they’ve failed us and there’s no way around that.

What happened to #OneBuffalo? I thought this was supposed to be a collective.

As a fan, I think we deserve more. Not because I think any of us could do better, but because the fans in Buffalo haven’t failed the Sabres’ brass. We haven’t failed the front office. We haven’t failed the coaching staff and we haven’t failed the players.

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Now, I’m not asking for a Stanley Cup this year (though let’s be honest, that’s the goal) and I’m not asking for a new owner. What I am asking for, however, is smarter decisions — both strategically and financially. I want to see a sense of urgency, but not the type of reckless urgency we’ve seen recently.

I think hiring Kevyn Adams was a smart move and I think trading for Eric Staal has proved that so far, but this team still has a long way to go. With the draft coming up, Kevyn Adams has an opportunity to showcase his ability to made smart decisions, while also getting creative with trades.

Once free agency hits, we’ll see what this front office is truly about. I just hope in a couple week’s time, I can revisit this post and feel even better about the direction this team is headed this season. If we get the same attention we’ve gotten in past years from ownership and management, then I don’t feel too confident about that.

I think if we can have a similar turnaround season as the Buffalo Bills had a few years ago, then this team could finally be primed for progress — something I think we can all appreciate. We’ll see what happens, though.

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