Buffalo's favorite holiday far behind us and as April comes to a close there is an all to familiar sound around Buffalo, lawn mowers after dinner instead of yelling coming from living rooms. Yes the Sabres season is done again.
Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News ranked the Sabres in the top 8 teams all season long, even after the olympic break. Sadly they were far from one of the elite teams in the National Hockey League and as fans we bought into the rush that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs yet again.
Since Ryan Miller received a hero's welcome the Sabres finished out the season with a 12 and 10 record. They easly won the Northeast Division, but then again it seemed like no one else wanted to win the division.
Since the break Miller continued to play outstanding hockey but the players in front of him refused to play a full 60 minutes night in and night out.
Derek Roy played some of his best hockey against Florida, Tampa and Carolina where the Sabres piled on 31 goals in 5 games against those opponents. Roy finished with 10 goals and 16 assists over the final 22 games, mostly against those 3 teams.
Thomas Vanek also finished with 10 goals over the same period, with a 4 goal game against Ottawa at the end of the season to cap off that total.
Those 2 players counted for 30% of the Sabres goal output since March 1st. Tim Connolly had 3 goals in 13 games during that same time frame.
Come playoff time when every player is supposed to leave everything they have shift after shift, the Sabres showed little to know heart for extended periods of time.
I have heard they are a young team too many times to count since Mondays loss in Boston. 6 of the teams 15 goals were from rookies or players seeing the NHL playoffs for the first time. Players most teams have not even heard of yet, Kennedy played hard but got pushed around all series, Ennis was the teams leading scorer, Myers scored a goal and held his own throughout most of the series, Kaleta known more for his physical presence scored during the series. Ellis and Gerbe both scored.
Vanek played in only 2 1/3 games but scored 2 goals and an assist. Several high paid players with little to show for the money they are making. Grier showed why the Sabres brought him back, for leadership. But even St. Patrick would have a hard time leading this lineup of check cashing snake's.
After that it is hard to recall anyone else on the team besides Stafford and that is for jumping on the ice too soon in the 2nd overtime.
This off-season will be the same as all the others over the last 13 years, little to no change. But if the Sabres are really serious about winning either get a new coach or send the snakes over the cliff and bring in players with heart.
I say why not do both. Let's have a green and gold 4th jersey while we are at it. Maybe that will keep the stands and ownerships pockets full for another year.