How can we find excuses? How can the team, or anyone for that matter, find an excuse for continued losses, at this point in the season? You can’t. No one can.
Tonight was another example of a game that Buffalo had to win, and should have won. What needs to happen for this team to move forward?
Let’s be honest. This team can’t move forward. If I hear how great the Stafford, Ennis, Foligno line looked again, I think I’m going to be sick. Same thing about singling out specific players and highlighting how great they looked or focusing on just 1 tiny aspect of the game. By doing that, one would just be throwing manure on this and hoping something beautiful will grow.
You see this happen all the time. Teams lose, and they focus on how great player X looked, the penalty kill looked good, or at least we got 1 point. How about addressing the problems as to why the team lost in the first place? You can focus on the soul bright spots, and try to make it look like it’s not that bad, or you can look at it for what it is.
I, personally, am looking at this game for what it was. It was a loss. Yes, a loss, with 1 point gained by Buffalo. However, at this point in the season, it’s not enough. A loss is a loss, even if it’s in a shootout. Florida has the potential to be one of the teams that Buffalo is fighting for that 8th place seed, and the Sabres just lost to them. Buffalo needs every point they can get.
This is not a playoff caliber team, and as of right now, I’m doubting that they will even make it into the playoffs this year. There is no consistency with their play. Yes, certain players have been playing well lately, but other players haven’t. More players haven’t been playing well, than those that are. Because of this, Buffalo still can’t find ways to win hockey games. I hate to repeat myself, but this is a team sport. Buffalo is not playing as a team, and can’t just rely on certain players to remain hot and carry them. Sure, Stafford, Ennis, and Foligno have played well... But they’re not the Buffalo Sabres. The Buffalo Sabres, aren’t playing well and aren't winning games.
Why does this happen? Couple reasons. First, Buffalo just doesn’t look like a team who wants this enough. The players don’t seem too motivated to win and really make a serious playoff run. Second, the coaching staff has got to get the team pumped up for games like this. They need to motivate and get them playing the desperate type of hockey that’s needed at this point in the season. Third, this team just can’t score. I still don’t think that they are playing to their strengths, and that Buffalo is stuck in a system that just doesn’t work.
How to fix it? Well, a new coaching staff... But we know that’s probably not going to happen. We can always hope that Buffalo plays up to their strengths again, but they don’t seem to be doing it. Buffalo no longer has fast breaks out of their own end, and doesn’t get good odd man rushes. They don’t get some of the best scoring opportunities that other teams get, because they can’t generate them. Buffalo doesn’t use their speed to set up opportunities. Again, this is coached. If Buffalo is going to be able to compete in the future, they need to revamp their plan of attack.
Who honestly thinks that this team can make the playoffs and win? I don't want to just see Buffalo make the playoffs. I want to see them win in the playoffs. As much as I want to say that I feel they could win, as hard as I’m rooting for them, I just don’t buy it. And I’m sick of watching Buffalo make the playoffs just to get dropped kicked out of them within the first round.
There’s no sugar coating this anymore. Every game that Buffalo is playing in, is a huge game from here until the end of the season. They’ve got 10 games left. Buffalo has been in this position before this season, closing in on that 8th place seed, and they keep failing to deliver.