I want to first say Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all have a very fun and safe holiday tonight. The long dick of the law will be out trying to fuck all of us tonight, so keep your legs closed and make sure you have safe means of travel home.
Now that that's out the way, we'll get to the Sabres. Last night on the WGR post-game show, the host started out by saying that we should all feel a little bad for Terry Pegula. He mentioned how big of a fan Pegula is and how much desire he has to make Buffalo an attractive place for hockey. Awesome, we all know that story. (Personally, I refuse to feel bad for someone that is ultimately responsible for the success and failure of a franchise, but anyway.) We know about the renovations, the alumni, and the atmosphere he has tried to create. In just months he has already had the ability to attract big name free agents and get one Robyn Regehr to waive a no trade clause. He's done very well so far, but he isn't even close to being finished. All of that was chapter one.
It's time for him to begin working on chapter two. Hoping that Brian [Cozio, I think?] was just making a statement rather than relaying fact, I don't want an owner that sulks and says "woe is me," I want an owner that demands the kind of respect he deserves. Terry proved in just a half of a year that it is very much a privilege to play hockey in Buffalo, so if your coach struggles to get his [men] out of bed in the morning, he needs to be fired; if players continually refuse to "show up for an entire 60 minutes," they need to be traded or waived; and if your GM doesn't have the ability to do that, then he needs to go too.
Knowing how the entire Sabres hierarchy is set up, those steps I just mentioned obviously wouldn't happen in that order, but that isn't my point.
I elected to not watch the game against the Capitals last night. I didn't even check the score once. I was home, I wasn't doing anything important. I just felt like spending some quality time with the wifey (she hates sports, and that's fine). Right before bed I checked nhl.com just to see the score and highlights. You see, even if the Sabres lose, I'll still go back and watch at least the meat of the game, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to honestly assess their performance.
Yesterday was an entirely different story. All I had to see was one play. One play that made me not want to watch that game at all: The Derek Roy giveaway at 16:18 of the second period that lead to the Cap's second goal. Now, it wasn't so much the giveaway itself, it was Roy's lackadaisical effort that followed. He barely backchecked, had a chance to take the body on Ovechkin (and didn't of course), and then skated in circles in his own end while Ovi, Semin and Backstrom worked on putting the puck in the net. The Capitals were even outnumbered as the play developed into the Sabres' end. Didn't matter, scored anyway. That play was the culmination of the entire season for me so far.
When I saw it I was furious. I actually considered immediately cancelling my NHL Gamecenter membership on my computer. I mean, what the hell, I can. I pay it in $20/month installments, why keep watching this shit.
Of course I didn't.
Mr. Pegula has said that he wants to make the fans happy. He has said that he wants to do all he can to make this team a winner. Well, what are you waiting for? You call the shots, sir. You have eyes too. You have to be able to see that injuries aren't the issue here. The majority of this team never shows up for an entire game. Injuries or not, when your healthy players don't put forth an effort, it really doesn't matter anymore.
You know, if this team went out and gave everything they had and went 0-82 by season's end, I could care less at this point. I just want to see a hockey team that tries. The irony of that is, if this team actually did give a shit on a nightly basis (injuries included), they would have a hell of a lot better record than they do right now.
It is the season. It's time to start over again. It's time for resolutions. It's time for Terry and Ted to prove a point to everyone. Start the New Year off with a shake-up. This season is all but lost already, so why not start over now? Why not free up cap space, why not pack this organization with future draft picks? If they can't trade any of these overpriced losers, waive them, who cares?! Finish this season with a bunch of no names from the ECHL. It would probably be more entertaining.
If they unload Stafford, Roy, Miller, Gerbe, Gaustad, Boyes and Kaleta, they will have freed up about $23 million in payroll. Money that can be used to go out and get whatever you want come the off-season. If they can't get rid of Goose, Boyes, and Hecht during the season, their contracts are at least up after this year anyway.
The Sabres could put themselves in the ultimate position to build this team up for next season. They'll have more Rochester guys even more ready by then and the NHL free agent list looks a whole lot better than it did last year.
So if Terry wants his words to carry any sort of validity, he needs to take appropriate action to back them up. Sack up, put your money where your mouth is, and do what you've come here to do. You seem like an awesome guy, turn this shit-for-a-team around so we can all stays friends.