As most of you guys can tell, I've been really bad as of late about writing hot takes about the Sabres. I pretty much warned you like 7 games into the season I couldn't take it anymore. I wouldn't write much until real change happened.
Of course, change came with Darcy/Rolston finally being thrown out on their asses. Still, I haven't been able to find anything interesting about this season other than the firings and feeling bad for Pat Kaleta. Just after years of Darcy, I can't muster enough anger to write about how bad the team is because they've been bad for a while now and it would be Groundhog Day for me. BLAH, BLAH, I HATE PROSPECTS. Repeat. Rinse. Cycle..or however you wash clothes. I like to try and be unique and not sound like a Sucky/Bully broken record column (Credit to Deadspin on that nickname).
Between the losing out debate being played out on Twitter (Get me a gun to shoot Jeremy White and myself for engaging in the argument) to bitching about Corey Tropp getting waived (Fuck the gun, I want to suffer. Get me the chainsaw) to a player having a rabbit be the highlight of the last month for the team (You know..I want to Fall out of 30 story window after being shot in the back and fall into a bed of chainsaws), this season has just been a whole lot of silly discord to keep the Sabres on our minds until we get to the good parts (Deadline/off season trades) and I don't really feel like partaking in it. I'm over it.
While I haven't written anything about it because I'm just playing out the string, I've still watched most games and I think we can all agree that the MVP of this team is Ryan Miller. He's been great and I've been savoring his gallant efforts for every great save he makes look routine. I'm savoring it because I know the end is coming. It is like when you go on vacation and on that finally day, you are savoring every moment of your activities. The food, the booze, the sights and everything. You just aren't ready to leave yet, but, you know you have to.
At the same time, these games don't mean a whole lot because of where we are in the standings and I've found myself kind of pitying Miller because of where he's at with this squad. How does a guy of his talent survive mentally on such a bad team? I think we all know the answer to that. He's looking forward to the same 2-week period I've been looking forward to that we are about to enter:
Maybe this sounds crazy, but up until this point, I haven't wanted the Sabres to trade Miller because of the Olympics rather than just wanting him to stay at the sake of keeping one of the best goalies in the NHL. What seems to be a norm with my mindset whenever the Bills or Sabres go into a state of sadness, I try and journey back to a time where they were fun.
My memory bank to pick realistic scenarios is quite scarce, especially how the last 7 years or so have been pretty bland to say the least. Sure, Pegulamania was fun, but that was really about the idea of having an owner who gave a shit and had vaults of money, only to then see it collapse in an epic #becauseitsbuffalo story arc.
If anything felt organic and real and not just falling in love with the idea instead of reality, it was the Olympics in 2010. Miller was sensational and I can't remember being more prouder of a Bills/Sabres player than him during a short period of time.
I'll always remember how I was at my apex of madness with the Sabres because I loathed Golisano/Quinn and I really didn't get along with many Sabres bloggers as far as how I viewed the team. However, during that 2 week stretch, whether you were Sully, a bitter blogger or a internal optimist, we were all on the same page about him. Twitter was happy and there was zero discord on there.
Buffalo likes to pretend they are big time and are always looking for national recognition. Aside from the HOFs on the Bills 90s squad, I can't think of anyone else being able to crossover outside of WNY like Miller did during those 2 weeks. Not Vanek, not Briere, not Drury and not even Hasek had the same pull with just your casual hockey viewers in the States like Miller did.
He was the talk of the Games and I felt that it was so cool that while America was sampling his greatness, we were going to have him for the next four years.
We bought it, while America was just renting it.
Those two weeks were probably the best hockey I witnessed in the last 7 years and I've been looking forward to see if Miller can recapture that. I'm hoping I can relive that organic feel of being happy that Buffalo somehow makes the big time like it did there.
Yet..It makes the next sentence a little bittersweet...Once he gets home, they should trade him. I know I may change my mind if he goes in and recaptures his play from 2010, but it is just time based on...Time. Miller has been in the Buffalo organization for over 10 years and it just feels like it is never going to get better for him while he's in his prime. How many nights this season have you felt bad for Miller? He's been on a deserted island with Mike Weber turning the puck over and zero goal support.
I can sit here and go over a bunch of fantasy trades or the Sabres making a run at Callahan and other FAs. Could they do what Philly did after having the worst record ever since the first lockout and make it to ECF the following year by signing the offseason's version of Danny Briere? Maybe they can make a Miami Heat/James/Bosh/Wade like deal with bringing in Callahan and Stastny, re-signing Moulson and Miller, and having the 1st overall pick doesn't hurt either.
That sounds awesome and more entertaining than the stupid idea of losing out the next four years to be like Edmonton or Chicago. Sadly, this isn't Xbox and I don't have a good feeling that the Sabres are going to go that route and may just continue with the youth game.
I just think they are sooooooooo far behind the 8 ball because of past management, it will be impossible to get good like that within 1 or 2 seasons, and I'm not talking a run to 8th. I'm talking playoff hockey in late May/Early June good. And because of that, why would Miller want to stay here or why should we want to torture him? It is just time to start over again for both parties.
The guy wants to win and I think he deserves to go wherever he wants to have that opportunity. On top of the winning part, do you ever get to the point of when you are at a job or in a relationship where you know it's amicable for now, but there's no growth and it can only go downhill from here? That's where we are at with Miller. It has been getting worse, not better. Hell, I think Miller haters have come around on him based off this year because he's been great while everyone else around him has been garbage.
I think fans who want to keep Miller are basing it off sentimentality. He's pretty much our last remaining remint of the 05-07 teams. We've grown as a hockey base while he's grown as an adult and it's hard to lose that first love connection.
The Olympics may be my last ditch effort to make me think we can still make a run if a decent team is around him or to put a smile on my face, but in reality, it may be just that last dance with your girlfriend that makes you think of all the good times, but it is really only a reminder that the best days are behind us and Miller leaving is inevitable.
Let's enjoy Miller's Olympic swan song run and then let him run out the door afterwards. Yes, the sky is falling on the Miller/Sabres relationship, but we may as well all stand together and enjoy it before the end.
@topshelfcookies team that gives 110% every game, like he does! He needs to stop being so respectful to the sabres and do what's best 4 him
@topshelfcookies Ryan has given years of his career with the promises from the Sabres they have screwed him over, He deserves to be with a
@topshelfcookies He might not want to waste the next 3 years of his career, risking injury, or a career ending injury 4 nothing.
@topshelfcookies You think its about the money? Ryan is not like that, He wants to win & do whats best for him & whats best 4 the sabres
Regardless of what this author says, tanking is the best way to go at this point. I've been with this team since 1970 and the vast majority of that time has seen the Sabres as a mediocre team. Rarely at the bottom, rarely at the top. We thus drafted mediocre players, being in the middle of the pack.
I have learned that mediocrity is hell.
Darcy had the right idea - strip the team and rebuild. He did a great job while GM here in doing just that. His trades were pure robbery...a 1st for Gaustead?? Picks and two prospects for Pominville... More picks and Moulson for Vanek...swinging a draft day deal for Girgensons...need I go on?
I would be happy if Murray has half the acumen Darcy displayed as GM. In fact I'm sure Darcy is on Murray's X-mas list. If not, he should be.
Miller needs to go for many reasons. Trading him will help both him and the team. He isn't going to stay anyway. If you were he, would you stick around, knowing that you only have 3-4 years left? Of course not.
I'm just hoping Tim Murray can fill the shoes of his predecessor. If so, we're in good shape.
Jagr has 3 more goals than Hodgson and 4 more than Ennis this season. He's not going to change this team so much for the better.
Boston is paying Iginla $6M and he has 16 goals this season. Detroit paid Alfredsson $5.5M and he has 13 goals this season.
8 out of the top 10 scorers in the league are on the teams that drafted them. Only Kessel and Sharp have been traded and none landed with their current teams as a UFA. The top 20 is 14 drafted, 5 traded, and one UFA (St Louis to TB after Calgary bought him out).
Marian Hossa at 21 is the first usual UFA signing.
It all starts with drafting well. That allows a team to trade well when guys like Kessell, Sharp, and Seguin are out there.
@BuffaloWins excellent read!
@BuffaloWins push comes to shove do a bad trade or keep miller he does not want to got another losing team.. starting goal tenders are hard
Maybe Hasek's gold only resonated locally in 1998, but capturing gold in the middle of his Vezina/Hart run was another feather in the cap. I'd say his and Miller's triumph on the internation stage as Sabres goaltenders are two incredibly impressive moments for Buffalo fans.
Miller is the one UFA-to-be that might be worth trying to lock up. He might also be the toughest one to re-sign.
I still remember the Marty vs Mika vs Miller battle royale the Sabres went through after Hasek forced his way out.
Enroth vs Hackett vs Makarov vs Lieuwen vs Ullmark vs Goalie To Be Named Later could give the Sabres the next Miller or it could lead them down a Flyers-esque path of mediocre goaltending.
But at the end of the day, I can't see Miller re-signing here. Some team that is closer to winning a Cup will give him a good enough contract on July 1st.
Hopefully Tim Murray can find a quality starter sooner rather than later. But, just not next year. I want McDavid or Eichel!
The best way to rebuild is not to sign band-aid FA's like Statsny, and keeping Moulson.
Trade Miller for the team's sake and rebuild correctly with top 2 picks this year and next. Not this summer but next summer start to add a big name FA and maybe a solid trade for a top 6 forward.
Their D seems to be stacked with young prospects but a solid veteran, better than Tallinder, will help the process.
I hope Miller stands on his head for the US and gets our country a gold medal and also increase his trade value. The blow up of this team isn't quite over yet.
@Miller_30ER and that if he feels like he has a better shot of winning elsewhere, he should go.
@Miller_30ER Did you read what I wrote? Because I did say that I hope it's not about the money (more)
@TheDepewTickler You don't know crap about being a GM, that's obvious. Darcy has set the stage for the rebirth of this team with hard work and smart trades.
You seriously need to wake up or go back to football.
@BuffaloWins trade.. I doubt we will see anything before trade deadline.. it sucks but oh well
@costrander08 Hasek's did locally, sure. But I dont think anyone else in the states cared cause of the country he represented.
@JimBobv2 It's going to be a race between Enroth & Hackett; What would Lieuwen, Makarov and Ulmark have anything to do with the starters role? Lieuwen has 0 chance of being a starter in the NHL. Noronen was never in the running for the starters job so I don't know where your getting that. Ulmark will eventually be our #1.
@JohnDewey What about trading everyone and re-signing everyone in the offseason?
@topshelfcookies yes I did & I understand what your saying... The Sabres organization have made promises they have not kept
@Jammerz Lieuwen has outplayed Hackett this season in Rochester, so I wouldn't make decisions on those two so quickly. As for the rest, who knows how goalies will develop. And what I'm talking about isn't who is the Sabres #1 in 2014-15, but rather who is the next Miller that is the Sabres undisputed #1 for a length of time like Miller became after Hasek left and Marty & Mika got looks before Miller took the job over. Personally, I doubt Hackett or Enroth emerges as the Sabres #1 for a long time in the near future.
@Buffalowins @JohnDewey The only player I'd want re-signed is Ott. I have no passion whatsoever for Moulson. Soon to be 31 yr old, aging forwards who will want at least 5.5 mil a year and who basically does one thing well does not excite me. I also think his goal scoring prowess is over-rated due to playing with Tavares. Miller is going to be 34 and will only steal games and maybe mask how bad the Sabres really will be next year and also hurt their chances at a top 2 pick.. Not to mention he won't sign here if traded. It's going to be painful but exciting to rebuild this team and patience will be needed. The excitement often won't be on the ice next year, but in seeing the top 1 or 2 picks in the draft develop and many moves that will be made. I currently have faith in Murray in making those moves and I hope he doesn't let me down.
@Miller_30ER So will I.
@topshelfcookies The Stanley Cup at least once in his career. He deserves it! I will respect whatever Ryan chooses to do & stick with him
@topshelfcookies Ryan is my idol & my favorite player and I plan on being a fan of whatever team he chooses to be on. I just want him to win
@topshelfcookies and the Sabres don't know if the players they get in the draft or trade or have will fit and it might be bad next year too
@topshelfcookies and if Ryan gets traded to a team that is in the playoffs or can be by April then he has a better chance to get a cup
@topshelfcookies if a team is in the playoffs, then they have at least a chance... The Sabres might take years to get in the playoffs.
@Miller_30ER You don't have to agree, of course, and in the end, I want Ryan to do what he wants to do.
@Miller_30ER I get what you're saying. I just don't think there's a guarantee ANYWHERE and that there are advantages to the Sabres.
@topshelfcookies He should be with a team that is ready * competing for the cup now, so he has the next at least 6 years to try for the cup
@topshelfcookies and when they are a competitor theirs still no garentee they will win a cup in the next 10 years
@topshelfcookies I just wants best for Ryan and for him to get at least 1 cup in his career. The sabres are still 2-3 years from competing
@Miller_30ER Won't argue w/ that but also an entirely new management team. Not entirely fair to hold them accountable for past mistakes.
First off its so hilarious when your biggest comeback is grammar related. It's very comical actually lol.
I don't know how you don't realize the President of a hockey team does have a big say in who will be hired in the personnel department. It's basically in the guys job description.
Look in the mirror bud you've got no comeback. So what if I didn't use the right form of the word? You didn't use periods at the end of your sentences so don't be to hypocritical there jackass.
Anyways man go get a life until then take a hike jackass.
You ignorantly used "retarded" again. By the way it's "than I originally thought" not "then." It is "their meanings" not "there meanings" It's "you're right" not "your right" Now before you make a bigger fool of yourself and try to analyze my cognitive abilities further you might want to take a look in the mirror and get a clue.
How do you know Ted Black had a big say in Darcy hiring Rolston? If so then there is another mistake Darcy made by listening to a non-hockey guy in how and who he hired to coach a rebuilding team. It's been interesting reading your Grade 4 writing, emotional, and analytical abilities,
Man you are even more retarded then I originally thought. Do you know what slang is? Because that's what it is. Go look it up in a dictionary. You know those big thick books with a bunch of words and there meanings in it in alphabetical order. Then maybe you'd know what slang is. Your right you can blame Darcy for anything you want. Hell you can blame him for not moving up and drafting Crosby lol.
Man WTF are you talking about? OMG I used your instead of you're plz help me ahhhh no what do I do? Give it a rest douche bag.
It wasn't only Darcy's decision to bring in Rolston, Ted Black had a lot to do with it.
Nice try though (y) :).
Someone who uses the word "retarded" and "dunno" and "prolly" and doesn't know how to use "you're" correctly is exactly as I said. A dull knife in a drawer.
If you do not consider hiring Ron Rolston as the coach, especially when he didn't do a legit search then your are looking through the lens of 16 failed years of Darcy.
I can blame Darcy for not putting a priority on the center position which is arguably the most important position on a hockey team. I guess you agreed that Roy and Connolly were top 20 centers, not surprising.
Let's wait and see how valuable Darcy is and if he gets another GM's job. Not making the playoffs 4 our of the last 6 years doesn't help your case for Darcy either.
Lol your retarded dude. Promising Compher? The guy is slated to become a low grade 2nd line or a solid 3rd liner Fucale is slated to become a franchise goalie. And if you think Compher over Fucale was the right decision then you should definitely start watching basketball or something and stop wasting our time with your beyond retarded comments. Ulmark looking like a stud and being a stud are two very different things I dunno if you knew that? Lol prolly not. It doesn't hurt to have a contingency (back-up) plan in place.
You can't blame not getting a number center on him. We don't need passed there prime centers here. Plus it's not his fault mostly all UFA's refuse to come to Buffalo.
John, it's better not to begin talking about the dullest knife or the dimmest bulb. Remember that you live in a glass house.
Jammerz is essentially correct, although I think he's made more mistakes than those stated. I'll get into that later.
Darcy was new to the GM post when he took over, so I'll give him some slack for not instantly propelling this team to the SC finals right away, if that's OK with you.
But he did build a winner. The Briere trade was yet another case of highway robbery. Then came Drury. He recognized Campbell's talent well enough too. He added Barnes, Warrener, Gilmour, Dumont and Miller. Then there was still ANOTHER robbery Hodgson for Kassian.
You said that "he could not build a winner", yet he brought the team to the SC finals in 1999. And in 2006 we would have won the Cup had our defense been healthy for the final game against Carolina. Edmonton wasn't half the challenge the Hurricanes were. Or did you forget those facts in your blind rage against the man?
You also criticize him for not drafting Facale. Well at the time Miller wasn't about to leave the team and we do have several promising goalies in the pipeline. And who knows how good Compher will become? Do you?
My criticisms of Darcy lie elsewhere. 1. Not drafting Nichushkin, knowing we were weak at wing and had depth on defense. 2. Hiring Rolston without doing a proper search 3. Hanging on to Connelly too long 4. Keeping Grigorenko up when he should have been sent down
There may be others, but those are the ones that stand out. Regarding players that did not pan out, all I can say is that he's not clairvoyant. No GM is and all GMs make moves they later regret.
But if you ranked the GMs in the league since Darcy came in, he'd be in the upper half for sure.
That is a very simplistic view of Darcy's performance as GM. He held on to a weak core of players since 2007 that were never going to win anything, the center position was not addressed adequately, he built teams with similar players and not very tough. Face it, he could not build a winner and when he did put together a team with some talent he couldn't add D depth at that trade deadline. Anyone who hasn't seen that and who only points out two mistakes since Pegula took over, and ignorantly says not drafting Fucale instead of a promising Compher when the Sabres have Ulmark looking like a stud in the Swedish Elite League isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Traded away what assets exactly? Previous Ownership forced the guys hand in many of the downgrading moves. Rigas to the NHL to Golisano all horrible ownership that never wanted to pony up the dough. The two mistakes I see Darcy making under Pegula were giving Leino that ridiculous contract and him knowing our weak goaltending and ended up drafting Compher over Fucale.
So ya he did great and anyone who mentions anything different really doesn't know what they are talking about. Darcy has set this franchise to WIN in the future.
Darcy did exactly what his owners required of him.
Golisano wanted to control costs and run things cheaply. Darcy did that.
Pegula wanted a top team in three years by going after free agents. Darcy did that.
When the team needed centers, Darcy took care of that too.
When the team needed stronger D, Darcy again came to the rescue.
If the philosophy of the owner is faulty, that isn't Darcy's fault. He was a good soldier that did his job very well. Did he make mistakes? Of course he did. I'm not happy with every decision he made, but overall I'd give him a very good score.
Let's hope Tim Murray is comparable.
I agree. Who knows what those other goalies will do. I honestly see Lieuwen being nothing more then an AHL goalie. Hackett will never be a number one IMO. He's just a holder for backup position for a year or two. I think Makarov and Ulmark in our system that actually have a real chance at being consistent starters in the NHL.
Moulson is no Jagar. Jagar is a skilled, gifted player. Moulson is the type of player who regresses in his 30's and especially when he's not playing with one of the top 5 centers in the league.
I really dont know about the exciting part. The Sabres have had a roster full of kids all year and the hockey has been horrific. Also. I think we look too much at age. 31 for a goal scorer isnt terrible. Hell, Yagr is leading NJ in goals and he's like 50. Anyways, Id rather the go FA/Trade crazy rather than tanking, but I do think Im living in a Xbox world in that regard.