It was like a bad horror movie: You knew what was coming and it wasn’t entertaining at all.
The easiest thing to do is say the Sabres are bad. That much is obvious, but to leave it at that is actually quite pointless. The Sabres are playing bad, yes, but I have a very hard time saying they are a bad team.
They are a talented team that is playing poorly, and look outstandingly unorganized right now. How many times did the Sabres run into one another last night, or horribly misuse the time and space given to them by the Bruins? The power play is the perfect example of that: The Sabres look absolutely disgusting with the man advantage.
Forget about the pair of shorthanded goals Boston netted, that doesn’t begin to explain how out of sorts the 5 on 4 (or better!) looks for Buffalo. No one seems to know what the other player is doing, it’s as simple as that. Defenseman don’t have forwards covering on the pinch. Players don’t look for rebounds on the shot wide, or simply occupy the same space at the same time.
It looks like a team has never practiced together, and as far as I can tell that isn’t the case.
(Sidenote: If Lindy Ruff is untouchable, is the assistant coach running the power play in the same boat? When does the name Brian McCutcheon start getting into the mouths of Sabres fans and the media?)
The defense is a mess. Tyler Myers has collected more pint glasses than points this season, and Craig Rivet is still a step behind. Despite the goal, Sekera looked completely lost at times and Montador was noticeable. Which is a bad thing.
What is upsetting about last night, more than anything, is the complete lack of emotion from almost anyone wearing blue. Aside from Vanek (who was the team’s best player by far) smashing his stick or the bench door, no one did much of anything last night.
Cody McCormick did his job and he’s one of the few you can say that about, but no one followed it up. For as much as the Buffalo News crew will most likely get flack for the post game, I’m sure they would have loved to write the “McCormick sparked a Sabres comeback story.” That’s the better story, but instead we have this mess.
So what is the story here? Is it the campaign to fire Lindy Ruff that will suddenly see a lot of momentum from Sabres fans? Is it trading for Jarome Iginla? What about Golisano and Quinn cleaning house? What’s going on with Tyler Myers? As much as we will talk about all of those until Friday and beyond, none of that is THE story to me.
The story is this:
I think that we have to grind this thing out together. I’m not going to make any decisions until we get (Miller) back and we get Pommer up and running and then you can ask me that question a couple of weeks from now. – Lindy Ruff
In other words, we have our answer to all of the above. It’s the same answer I came up with last week. No matter how bad things get, nothing is going to happen. Despite all the signs that something “drastic” needs to take place, Lindy Ruff is hoping time is all this team needs.
What’s scary is that time may be the only card Ruff really has left to play. The team clearly isn’t getting the message, and benching his captain has had no effect on anyone. He badly botched the goaltending situation on Wednesday and may have obliterated the confidence of another rookie netminder.
Ruff looks and sounds exhausted, and maybe he is. I’ll say it again: If there’s nothing left for him to give, what exactly are we holding on to? Despite Lindy Ruff’s sterling reputation throughout the league, anyone can see that something is terribly wrong with this team.
But again, we already know the answer to this: Lindy isn’t going anywhere. This marriage has gone through worse, and gosh darnit, we can beat this thing.
And so we wait, but I can only wonder how much time we have here. If this team can’t get out of its own way, how long do we hold out hope that things change? We’ve been told by both parents that nothing is going to happen, and I don’t think either of them are fibbing.
But this isn’t exactly a “Santa is real” kind of fib, either. This kind of truth can do some real damage, and the deeper this goes the worse it gets. Time heals flesh wounds, but it can’t fix things that are truly broken. Even the best cars rust, the best watches stop ticking and the most beautiful sand castles can asphyxiate on their own vomit.
The motto for this team for the past few years has been to “Dream and Believe,” to hope without fear of failure. No opponent’s lead is safe, and no shot is unstoppable with Ryan Miller in net. At 3-0 last night, however, no one really thought the Sabres were coming back.
After last night, no Sabres fan is sleeping soundly.