For once, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, Garth has a decent point. Buffalo brass does need to sit down and have a nice long evaluation of the direction that the Sabres are headed in at this point in the season.
However, I can already tell you the excuse that the brass will use to explain the recent play of the Sabres.
Thats it. I can hear Darcy Regier now- “We think the team will start playing to their full potential once everyone is healthy”. Sounds about right doesn’t it?
I can’t abide by these excuses anymore. The big guns for Buffalo have been on the ice all season long. Players like Roy, Stafford, Ehrhoff, Leino, and others have been on the ice in Buffalo all season. The players who should be delivering have been there. They’ve come through before. Maybe not with Buffalo, but in the past.
Plus, look back to the 06-07 season for the Sabres. Buffalo had a ton of injuries. At one point in time, the Sabres were referred to as the “Buffalo Amerks”. The Sabres still brought home the President’s Trophy and made it into the Eastern Conference Championship that season, falling short for the 2nd year in a row.
Buffalo also has always been a well balanced team. In the recent Sabres era, Buffalo has never been a team to rely on just 1-2 players alone. So, when a few players got hurt, no one really batted an eye. Even if Vanek got hurt, Buffalo still delivered, and nobody panicked. Buffalo also has consistently had great depth in the farm system, and continue to do so with players like Kassian and McNabb, who have the most of their recent call ups.
The injury excuse wasn’t there before because Buffalo was playing well, even with the backups.
However, now that Buffalo is battling injuries, and they are playing... not well (that’s as nice as I could put it), the only player I think Buffalo is truly missing is the big man, Tyler Myers. He was just starting to turn his game around and playing the physical hockey Buffalo needs in their own end.
I return to the theory that I’ve been mulling around the past few weeks. I’m slowly starting to believe that a coaching change is needed. The current style of play that the Sabres are attempting to pull off, isn’t working, and doesn’t play to the Sabres strengths. Either the current coaching staff needs to get Buffalo to improve their current style of play, and play in a manner that best suits them, or new blood is needed behind the bench.
But it’s all a moot point, because the Sabres brass can very easily state that the reason Buffalo is playing poorly is due to injuries.
It wasn’t an excuse in 06-07, it sure isn’t an excuse now.