I’m still sticking to the fact that Buffalo didn’t really want to make it this year. Look at the effort tonight, didn’t really strike you as a team that was playing desperate hockey, did it?
I waited to write this until the end of the Capitals game. It’s done, it’s over. The playoff race goes to Florida and Washington. Buffalo can’t catch either team now. The game against Boston on Saturday officially means nothing to Buffalo, and is a chance to try and end the season with a win, and maybe try to find something positive to carry over to next season.
After tonight, there’s not much positive to be taken from this year.
There have been a lot of excuses named this year as to why Buffalo didn’t deliver to their full potential. A lot of people (myself included) had Buffalo pegged as a playoff team, even a serious threat for the Cup. Now, they aren’t even making it and are coming up short.
So what happened?!?!?!
It wasn’t injuries ladies and gentlemen, that’s just an excuse for fans with blinders on, failing to see reality. Injuries have impacted every team this year, and, it happens every year. You can guarantee that other teams didn’t use it as an excuse for losing. Plus, a lot of the so called “stars” didn’t miss a ton of games, players like Roy (3 games), Stafford (3), Pominville (0), Vanek(4), and Leino (11) are just a few. So why are we using this as an excuse? Here are of the guys who are supposed to light the lamp, playing in the majority of the games.
First, there’s a lack of leadership on this team. There’s been numerous opportunities for players to step up, be the “go-to guy” and make a big play. No one really was leading this team to really get them ready to go in clutch moments, like tonight. It’s hard to rally, when there’s no one to rally around.
Second, the team honestly didn’t seem to want this. Even if you want to use the injury excuse (and that’s what it is), look at the last 2 months that Buffalo has played. They have played pretty good hockey. However, the instant that they got close to making it into 8th place, or even once they got into 8th place, they’d screw it up. They’d have a big game, and they’d fall flat on their faces. The last 4 games for Buffalo are a perfect example. They had numerous opportunities to take control. You have to seize the opportunities that are given to you at this point in the year. Buffalo held them for a minute, said “That’s nice”, and handed them right back.
Finally, coaching and management hasn’t utilized this team to it’s strengths all season long. The game plans, are abysmal (most recent example, see tonights game against Philly). Buffalo hasn’t played to their strengths all season long. No odd man rushes, yet they give up a ton. Lines aren’t evenly balanced (Stafford, Foligno, and Ennis the exception), and they don’t use the tools that they have. I don’t even see a lot of speed on this team anymore (again, that line the exception) and drive this year. And, I know that speed and determination is there. Plus, Buffalo makes so many passes in their own end, I’m not shocked that they have so many turnovers. This happens every single game; this is coached. This unit that Buffalo has on the ice could be great, however they need to play to their strengths instead of what the coach and management think they should do. There is inept leadership on the ice, and behind the bench. Plus, the coaches are the ones who are supposed to motivate their team. Yes, players can do it too, but it starts with behind the bench. Buffalo should have been fired up for this game, and raring to go.
Fix this? Get that big change that I was talking about behind the bench. I do hate seeing Ruff go, Darcy deserves to be run out of town by an angry mob, with pitchforks. They’ve been here for a long time, and there’s no reason to believe that they will bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo.
It’s depressing watching Buffalo not make it in the playoffs, and having not won a playoff series for 5 years. Hopefully by the start of next week, Buffalo will be searching for a new GM and a new coach. Making the playoffs won’t be good enough next year, they have to make the playoffs and get out of the first round.
Terry Pegula said that money wouldn’t be a problem anymore for Buffalo. They did worse this year than last year. Need I say more?