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Buffalo Sabres Must Make the Playoffs Next Year

Marc-Andrew BezbatchenkoContributor IMay 22, 2009

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY:  (L-R) Chris Butler #34, Andrew Peters #76, Head Coach Lindy Ruff, Daniel Paille #20 and Ales Kotalik #12 of the Buffalo Sabres look on from the bench area during their NHL game against the Ottawa Senators  on January 6, 2009 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York. The Sabres defeated the Senators 4-2. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres need a big upcoming 2009-10 year if they want to keep the fan base from completely vanishing.

Ever since the president's trophy team of 2007, the Sabres haven't come close to hoisting Lord Stanley, or even making the playoffs.

Should the Sabres have another train-wreck year, things could get crazy in Buffalo.

The Sabres need a playoff year. Plain and simple, no way around it, it's already set. The Sabres need to make the playoffs in order to satisfy the fans.

Not only that, the team needs to be playing in the postseason for many other reasons. One would be retaining current head coach Lindy Ruff's job.

Ruff is currently the longest-serving head coach in the NHL. Ruff is a great head coach, and knows how to run a team. The problem isn't Ruff—it's the players that are put on the ice night in and night out for this team.

The management of the Buffalo Sabres needs to bring in better-skilled guys if they expect Ruff to do something this year. Larry Quinn and Darcy Regier need to bring in guys that are as skilled as Chris Drury or Daniel Briere, who left the team just two seasons ago.

If the team can manage to bring in three to four guys who can perform, they should be able to make a playoff run that resembles their past glory.

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Another reason this team needs to make the playoffs is for the fans.

The fans are dying for a playoff run, and should the Sabres not deliver again, we could see many hop off the bandwagon. The reason the Sabres still have many fans is due to the two deep playoff runs just three years ago. Many of those fans still support the Sabres, but this could be the last year we see them in the crowds.

The Sabres need to make the playoffs now, and should this not be the year again, Buffalo could see many fans, as well as players leave. Buffalo could end up being on the other half of the best teams in the NHL again.

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