NHL

The Current State of The Buffalo Sabres

I am from Buffalo.

Ok, ok, you can feel sorry for me later but first let’s feel sorry for the Buffalo Sabres.

So last night I pressed the circular button on my iPhone and ever-so-politely asked Siri who her favorite hockey team was. Because I was curious, and you know, that’s what I felt like doing.

“I always like to root for the underdog, so I will say the Buffalo Sabres are my favorite hockey team.”

Whoa. No Siri. I’m sorry but you’re wrong. Buffalo isn’t an underdog. Buffalo is just plain bad. You only came to that conclusion Siri,  because the Sabres are in last place. Why are the Sabres so bad you ask? In my humble opinion it’s most likely because of poorly utilized new ownership and Darcy Regier. Darcy became the team’s General Manager the year that Billiam Jefferson Clinton was inaugurated into his second term, the world met Kyle Broflovski and friends as South Park PREMIERED on Comedy Central and my coworker was just starting 1st grade (Hi Elli!).

Much like the NFL team which resides in the same County, the Sabres have struggled to make the playoffs in years past. And just like the Bills, the team has been threatened to relocate due to their lack of attendance and marketability. Paul Allen and Portland were words that gave Sabres fans the chills for much of 2009 and 2010. Buffalo fans thought that the clouds had parted and few even heard some angels sing when Natural Gas Tycoon (and avid hockey fan) Terry Pegula purchased the team in early 2011. But not much more has moved nor shook since then.

That’s why it’s time for Darcy to go.

The Sabres are graced with such an American legend and Olympic hero in net (yay Ryan Miller!), yet haven’t been able to keep or have consistent talent in front of him. Not in a LONG time have I seen a Sabres team have so many suspensions and banned games due to dirty cheap shots and nasty checks as what is currently in play. These guys are frustrated! Their team sucks! I don’t blame them! (Please note, I’m not condoning violence in hockey, but can understand why they are lashing out the way they have so far in the 2013-2014 season.)

Jason Pominville, the man who had such a solid fanbase, they created a nice made-up little town for him derived from his last name and became their residents (Pominvillians? Is that what you call yourselves?) He went to Minnesota in a trade for a bucket of pucks, a jock strap and a few draft picks (yes, I put this in order of what was exchanged). In the summer of 2006, when the “Slug-Nasty” made it’s debut and so many players had left the Sabres as UFA’s and RFA’s (Briere and Drury and McKee, oh my!) the team’s former owners had to shell out the big bucks to keep at least ONE decent player on the roster, and as a result was Thomas Vanek’s 7 year deal worth $50 million or else today he’d be an Oiler. This past Sunday night Vanek was traded to the Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson and a 1st and 2nd round draft pick in next year’s draft. Albeit this was a decent move on Darcy’s part, as I feel like Buffalo got the slightly better end of the exchange.

But that’s not my point. I’m not saying that Darcy is an unintelligent General Manager. I mean, there has got to be some reason why he’s been in that role since 1997, it’s just that Mr. Pegula should have cleaned house when he came and purchased this team. This is so difficult for me to say because I am a huge Lindy Ruff fan, and believe he deserves the very best treatment, but I think had he exited with Darcy at the same time along with the rest of the coaching staff, it would have been a better, cleaner move.

Mr. Pegula needs to spend some money. He sold his big ol’ natural gas company for $4.7 BILLION dollars. Spend. Some. Dough. I’m hoping that come trade deadline he and the front office make some moves and Mr. Pegula really digs deep into his pockets. I hope Ryan Miller either moves to a team that he deserves to be on, and goes deep into the playoffs or (PLEASE GOD) beats Sid in the Olympic Gold Medal Final.

I wish Vanek and Moulson luck. Vanek deserves this. NYI is a hot team right now. Just wait.