All the attention of the Hockey World, it seems, is on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but there's now a disaster just two hours southwest.
Someone told me it's the Curse of the Buffalo Bills that has inflicted this team. The moment they stepped on the ice at Ralph Wilson Stadium, they got a heavy dose of "We find ways to lose" injected into their bodies. Now I don't know if I believe that, but it is certainly interesting if this business initiative by the Sabres organization is blowing up in their faces, as they haven't been the same since.
After this afternoon's pitiful performance in Phoenix, having lost 12 of their last 13, and looking like their AHL affiliate Rochester Americans, who have lost 21 of their last 23 (really, look it up), the Buffalo Sabres are quickly becoming an embarassment. They seem to continue to lack an identity and just about every player on the team can be accused of coasting or giving up to some extent at least some time or another. If things don't change in a hurry, this team may be blown up completely (more on that in a moment).
I hate to be pessimistic, because I'm an optimistic person, but let's be honest and look at the facts....
-They're setting franchise records again this year (like last year), but now for the wrong reasons - losing their 8th straight road game today
-They're now under .500
-They're SEVEN POINTS back of a playoff position, and a few points away from the NHL basement
-Remember all those games in hand we had for so long? Those are now all gone.
-In a few days, if changes aren't made, the Leafs will jump ahead of them in the Northeast Division standings, and all Hell could break loose in Western New York
A nightmare situation has developed in the Queen City, and the toughest part about it is there's no quick fix or easy answer.
In some odd way, mostly due to the parity in the league this year, the Sabres STILL CAN climb out of this mess and emerge as a playoff team. A trade or two to wake the team up and bring in some new blood could be a good place to start. But things have officially hit an all-time low, certainly within the last three years, and probably within the last decade or two, with the exception of the Bankruptcy Crisis. Going from such a high last year to such a low this year means nothing but massive changes on the horizon.
This team is very, very close from being blown up completely. Fellow Sabres fans, don't get too close to it for that reason. We're inches away from rebuilding, but the good news is in today's NHL, we could pull a Philadelphia Flyers and be competitive again next year, if we do it right.
Jobs are on the line. From personnel, to management, to Mr. Ruff and Mr. Regier.
(And I have to add, this situation ODDLY resembles that of Toronto, as too many orders are coming down from corporate. Mr. Larry Quinn, who has no association with the game of hockey - he's a businessman -, has been handcuffing the team from making good hockey decisions, so much like MLSE, Ferguson and Co. north of the border. He did so during the Drury/Briere saga, and who knows what goes on behind closed doors, but it's likely he's doing it again.)
It's not getting quite as much press, but it's an intense situation in Buffalo, and it may all blow up at any given minute.