By the time that I finish writing this blog, Buffalo will have lost their 5th game in a row. It is 4-1 Columbus at this time, 5 minutes into the 2nd period.
Before reading this, I offer a disclaimer;
I am not going to sugar coat this. No matter how much I hate having to write this, I’m keeping this grounded in reality.
I have heard a lot of dissent over the past 4 (soon to be 5) games with the Buffalo Sabres. There almost seems to be a shock that Buffalo isn’t winning. There’s also a lot of assessing blame. I’ve heard the coaching staff, I’ve heard the captains, I’ve heard Darcy, and I’ve even heard the goalies are to blame. The only positive things I keep hearing is that everyone loves Zemgus Girgensons.
To the Buffalo faithful, I ask this (and I have been asking myself this same question as well);
What did you expect going into this season?
Don’t get me wrong, I expected a little more (not much) from this team. Namely, I’d expect a win over the first 5 games. Now, I know a lot of Buffalo fans feel that they got the short end of the stick on Tuesday night against Tampa. I agree, it was a bad call, but that’s no reason to fold. It’s just an excuse, and I’m not looking for excuses. Bad teams find excuses, good teams say, “We stayed resilient and bounced back.” Let’s not try to find blame in this situation.
I will not sit here and find excuses to rationalize this teams poor play. That won’t solve anything.
Has anyone considered that we were warned? We all remember when we were told that we had to go through a little “suffering”. There shouldn’t be any surprise at all.
There’s a few things that I think we all need to start accepting when it comes to the Buffalo Sabres this season.
First and foremost, Ron Rolston isn’t going to go anywhere. No team is going to fire their head coach, especially a newly hired head coach, after 5 games. He’s coached a grand total of 36 games, and he’s got about a 50/50 record. He’s the coach who was brought in to rebuild this team, and develop these young players so that down the road, in theory, the Sabres have a solid team on the ice. Rolston isn’t going to be fired, and he’ll be here for at least the whole season, if not next season as well.
Second, and it pains me to say this... Darcy, probably isn’t going anywhere. I know, I’m a huge advocate of Darcy being fired yesterday. It’s not going to happen even though we’re running out of excuses for keeping him in Buffalo. If a team wants to do a rebuild correctly, they replace coach and GM. Ted Black informed the Sabres fans that Darcy was staying on as GM after this season, and we were then told that we were to suffer. That move spoke volumes to me. They’re not going to fire him right now, they’re locked into the long haul with him and they’re going to give him a chance to rebuild this team (even though he hasn’t proven himself).
However, Darcy is on a much shorter leash than Rolston. Darcy has less margin of error than Rolston. However, they’re going to give him at least a year or two right this sinking ship.
Finally, I think this needs to be said, and it ties directly into Darcy Reiger staying with Buffalo... Has anyone considered that this hockey team just isn’t that good? Yes, I know they’re young, I’m not saying that they won’t be good in the future. However, at this time, it’s worth saying that the unit on the ice for the Sabres, can’t compete with the elite, or even the average teams in the NHL. There’s no shame in saying that this team is not good.
Is there potential in Buffalo? Of course. They have a very young team that needs the opportunity to develop. The potential for this team is huge, especially looking at names like Ennis, Foligno, Girgensons, Grigorenko, Hodgson, Larsson, Ristolainen, well, you get the point. But that is just potential, it doesn’t equate to success. However, they aren’t developed yet, and need that time to get to the point where they can deliver.
Where does that leave the Buffalo fans? Exactly where we were told we would be, suffering. I know we want to see wins, I, in all honesty, hate watching this team play like this, and it kills me. However, I accept that this is the cards we as fans have been dealt, and we have to deal with it. No huge changes are going to take place, especially since we are at the starting point of a potentially long process.
The game is over (little delayed in finishing this tonight). Buffalo has, as predicted, dropped their 5th straight, and sit at the bottom of the NHL with 1, count ‘em, 1 point. 1st overall pick in the 2014 draft, here we come.
So while we’re all getting angry, frustrated, and looking for any excuse to cope with how the Sabres are playing, remember one thing;
We were warned.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB I live chat during the games (work pending). I’m also going to be up in Rochester tomorrow night scoping out the Amerks and seeing if they can bounce back and get 1 team in the Sabres organization a win.
As always, thanks for reading!