Yes, I know I’m a week early. I know that Buffalo’s final game of this season is next Friday against the Islanders. But that matters not, since the Sabres have lost to the New York Rangers tonight. Another must win game for the Sabres that they failed to rise to the occasion for.
And doesn’t that sum up the Buffalo Sabres for the past few years?
The past few seasons, the Sabres have been in playoff contention up until the end and fail to rise for the big games. Tonight is just another example. Plus, Buffalo has had several opportunities this season alone to win big games, and they were unable to do so. Buffalo had a chance to beat Winnipeg about 10 days ago in a crucial game, and failed to show up. Same thing against Montreal 2 days after the Winnipeg loss. This team, has made a habit, of getting their fans hopes up, and then dashing them down. Even in this past season, where the Sabres have struggled, and not looked good on a nightly basis, they still managed to stay in the playoff hunt. Then, choke in the make-or-break games.
It’s the same story we always see and hear, it’s just a different day/season.
At the start of this season, I said that Buffalo was no better than a 7th place team, and that they would finish somewhere between 7th and 10th place. Most likely, I saw this team finishing where they normally do, in 9th or 10th place. Some people (We all know who) had Buffalo winning the division.
I know, right??
Now that we’ve all enjoyed a laugh (and God knows we need it), it’s time to start assessing what comes next for the Buffalo Sabres. We Sabres fans are all sick of watching this team either limp into the playoffs, or be sitting just outside of the 8th place seed.
Obviously changes need to be made.
Last year, Sabres front office seemed to want to find excuses for the Sabres poor play. Injuries were the perfect excuse.
This season, there is no excuse. By using that one last year, the Sabres front office just prolonged the inevitable that turned into this season with another non-playoff caliber hockey team.
However, let’s not look at how the Sabres are missing the playoffs again. It’s time to look forward, and to the changes that need to be made.
Regier- Thanks for coming out! You’re Fired. This one goes without saying.
Buffalo has 3 games remaining this season, against Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, and the Islanders. It’s time to make some changes to the lineup the next couple nights. Players like Porter, Flynn, and other young guys need to continue to get big opportunities in key situations. Really push these guys, as this is a preliminary tryout for the Sabres next season. If Rochester wasn’t in the midst of a playoff push, I’d even call up a few of the prospects to see how they do in Buffalo for the last 3 games. However, Rochester will be making the playoffs, so they don’t want to break up that roster.
That brings me to the Grigorenko debacle. I agree wholeheartedly that he shouldn’t be playing in Buffalo for the game tonight, as well as the game against the Bruins. I agree with Rolston’s decision to bench him completely. Buffalo had been winning with the lineup he had in the past 3 games, and you don’t change it to put an unproven rookie in the lineup.
That changes now. Grigorenko gets the nod the next 3 games, and gets chances to play on one of the top 2 lines for the Sabres for the final games, power play included. Buffalo has absolutely nothing to lose by putting him in. Plus, it gives the coaches time to do an accurate assessment of his current abilities, and whether he should even be considered for one of those top lines in the 2013-2014 season.
The next 3 Sabres games need to be assessment time to start determining the talent that they have on their roster for the upcoming season. While the playoffs are officially out of reach, there’s still work to be done.
As soon as this season ends next Friday for the Sabres, the next moves need to be made. However, I think I’ll save that for another night. It’s been painful enough watching this team choke in another big game. Predictable, yet still painful.
Hopefully Buffalo takes these steps tto try to make the most out of 3 meaningless games standings wise. Now it’s time to take a realistic look at this team, to try to make sure that next season, Sabres fans don’t have to suffer through this again.
On that note, I raise my Sabres glass to the end of another Buffalo Sabres season, now that they are officially eliminated from the playoffs. My toast? It’s as simple as this;
To another season of Buffalo Sabres hockey; It’s time to rebuild.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB- Now that the season is wrapping up, I’ll be popping on and off during the off season, chatting about Sabres moves and news.
And as always, thanks for reading.