I think I have finally reached my breaking point...
It's time for people to be held accountable and there is plenty of blame to go around...
I think Lindy Ruff is a good coach, but clearly after the last two years, he isn't getting the message through. You could argue that the talent isn't there, but these players don't even seem to care that they are losing. That is what is so frustrating. Its harder to swallow these losses, when they play so uninspired. Our best players (Roy, Vanek, Connolly, Pominville, and Stafford) were at the top of that list yesterday vs the Flyers. It appeared that they simply did not want to battle. As tough of a hand he has been dealt it is his job to get these players to give an honest effort every night.
If Ruff was dealt a tough hand, the dealer was Darcy Regier. It is somewhat unclear on how involved Ruff and guys like Quinn are involved in personnel decision and if there is a "self-imposed" cap in Buffalo. Regardless Regier seems to have the most responsibility and while he had to make tough decisions on who to retain the past three offseasons, he hasn't had a good track record. Hecht and Pominville have been less than mediocre. Max, Kotalik, and Connolly who were resigned following the 2006 playoff run, have been busts or in Connolly's case unable to stay healthy. He seems to have underestimated the importance of grit and hustle, letting guys like Grier and McKee go. While neither of them may have been a good re-signing for the Sabres, he has done next to nothing to address their losses. Similar to Drury and Briere, its more that he has failed to replace what they brought to the table and less that he let them go.
Overall this year there are few players' efforts I have been satisfied with for the majority of the year. Roy, Vanek, Spacek, come to mind. Rivet to some degree as I think he has added some grit and leadership. Role players like Gaustad, Kaleta, and Ellis seem to always play hard, however they lack the goal scoring ability to be game changers. We need our top two lines to match their desire.
When will the team as a whole get mad and start playing like their hair is on fire? Even during the 2007 playoffs this team lacked desire...and with so much at stake! I think talent alone got them to the Conference Finals, but they were clearly out worked by both the Islanders, Rangers, and finally Ottawa who sealed their fate...And we had Drury, Briere, and Campbell for that playoff run, so their departure can't be the sole reason for this lack of desire. It appears they were showing their true colors during that playoff run.
For whatever reason this team seems content with the efforts they have been giving. If they aren't content, they at the very least aren't mad enough to change their efforts. They show no emotion when they lose! The Sabres' post game quotes are filled with the same coach speak about getting pucks to the net and playing the system.
After two mediocre seasons this team needs a shakeup! The players are probably more to blame than Lindy for this lack of consistency and desire. I think they need better on ice leaders, but as it often occurs in Sports when things have been going bad for this long, the Coach is the one who falls on the sword. Ruff seems to have tried everything he can think of. The organization seems content with the current roster, doing next to nothing to help the roster in the past two offseasons and trade deadlines. Perhaps the only way to get the message through to the players that our organization doesn't accept mediocrity is to let their boss go. (Another nice message would be sticking Hecht and Pominville in the press box for a game or two.)
If Regier is unwilling to change his players or coach...then the owner needs to let him go. It's maddening to see the same erratic play over the past two seasons! Something has to give here!
I wish we could win with this current roster/coach/gm...but it is becoming less and less believable.