So How Do We Fix This?

by Corey

Scotty? Scotty? Uh...? Crap.

What would have happened if Captain Kirk shouted down the intercom to Mr. Scott to provide more power, and all Scotty did was calmly explain to the good Captain that you go into battle with the ship you have, and there was no point in changing any settings now that the battle was underway? What if Scotty had said that after the battle he and the rest of the engineering department would make a thorough review of how the ship handled and would make adjustments if necessary?

I’m not sure what Kirk would have done (besides hot space makeouts!) but I know I would have found another show to crush on in my impressionable youth. Thundercats? Zoobilee Zoo? Someone entertain me! I know what you’re saying. What the hell does this have to do with anything? Bear with me.

It gets to a point where there is only so much someone can do to solve a problem, especially if the solution lies elsewhere. The issues plaguing the Buffalo Sabres are actually easy to figure. First, you need to identify what you believe the problem is.

It seems that fans of the team can be broken down into several groups:

1) This team has on-ice talent issues.

If you fall into this group, you have seen all that needs to be seen from Drew Stafford, Tim Connolly, Patrick Lalime, and any other player you want to toss in. You find the team boring, uninspiring, and generally difficult to like. You watch because you like hockey, although the team is slowly killing that for you too.

2) The team has coaching issues.

At one point, Drew Stafford, Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville and the likes had the ability to score, but then they play for Lindy Ruff and all of a sudden their talent magically evaporates. Defense may win championships, but it also kills the ratings. The Sabres need a coach who can get the most from his players rather than work within a system – especially a system that sucks.

3) The team has management issues.

Darcy Regier might be dead. He hasn’t really done anything once the season has started. Should we file a missing persons report? Both Regier and Larry Quinn have a track record of screwing up (Raffi Torres, Dominic Moore, Chris Drury, Daniel Briere…) so both of them gotz to go.

One Adam Twelve, One Adam Twelve. See the man at Seymour H. Knox Plaza about a missing general manager. Last seen in early October.

The core issues with the Sabres could be any one of and maybe all of those issues. The core issue for fans is that, most likely, none of those issues will be addressed this year. No one will fire Darcy Regier, so management isn’t changing. Regier isn’t going to fire Ruff, so coaching isn’t changing. Regier seems unlikely to move personnel. So for our three possible problems with the team, none of them will be addressed. Somehow, this team has managed to give exactly no one hope of anything changing. We can all disagree on the problems, but we can all find solace in the fact that we are all due for disappointment.

I, for one, happen to think that management is the issue. There is only so much Lindy Ruff can do with the talent on the team, and at some point it behooves the general manager to make additional adjustments. Ruff has basically sat out Patrick Lalime and Craig Rivet. Why are they still on the team? Even if they were waived it would clear space for someone else to play. They do exactly nothing for the team right now. Ruff desperately needs Regier to do something here. Kirk is screaming for more power, but Scotty wants no part of this. There is a disconnect between these two.

Regier tells us that in-season moves are difficult in a salary cap league. I say its time someone called him on it.

In the next few days I’m going to try to hash out exactly how we got to where we are. It won’t do any good, because I have no confidence in any change barring a change of ownership. Even with that, where there has been some news, the Sabres try to kill our buzz. The Sabres have launched an all-out offensive on fun.

What we need to examine:

– What happened to Craig Rivet? Why is he still here?
– Why is Patrick Lalime still here if Ruff will not play him? More importantly, why was he re-signed?
– What do these two personnel decisions say about the relationship between Ruff and Regier.

We’ll see what we can do about these things here at the Roost. Enjoy the game tonight. Or don’t.

Wanna rock the twits? Bring it. CoreyGriswold on Twitter
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14 Comments

  1. To add to that, I wonder why we don’t have a (real) captain yet. Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek, Cody McCormick, Patrick Kaleta, come on Sabres…

  2. Mike

    I don’t know. I’m not as down on the Sabres as everyone else seems to be. They’re not a bad team, but they’re definitely not good either. I don’t really think it’s a talent issue, coaching or GMing issue, but I’m least convinced of the latter. The Sabres are like that friend that you have that’s entertaining to hang around because they’re such a hot mess, and you know that time spent with them will be an adventure. Like say they were really smart and successful in college, but they just never put it all together and are still delivering pizzas and smoking pot because they just didn’t want the responsibilities that come with success. Right now, that’s where I’m at with the Sabres and I’m actually kind of enjoying it instead of freaking out about each loss.

  3. Ogre39666

    Before Regier can move Rivet, he has to have his captaincy officially removed. As bad as it is to have your captain benched, it’s even worse to have him waived or cut.
    (and no, this isn’t me blaming Ruff.) I think Atlas is ready for a letter and it appears that Roy has grown up enough that he can handle a C.
    In regard to Lalime, he was re-signed because Miller wanted him and they knew they had Enroth waiting in the wings so even if Lalime couldn’t erase last season’s troubles, they had a plan-B.

  4. dorry

    keep meeting team’s backup goalies.
    give the team a REAL captain (roy or van)
    as much as i loved him at bc, the gerbe experiment is done.
    relax and accept the fact the playoffs are a distant memory

  5. Steve

    The Sabres are a good team in a very evenly matched league. They aren’t getting blown out, they can skate with anyone and I think they still have a good shot at making the playoffs this year. Their main fault is their total reliance on Ryan Miller, but I guess when you have one of the best goalies in the league that’s a difficult situation to avoid. To write a post asking, “What’s wrong with the Sabres?” 1/3 of the way through the season when they’re still in striking distance of the division lead is humorous to me.

    But suppose they did have an owner who thought along the same lines, declared the sky is falling and made one or all of the moves you suggest to right the ship. There is no magic wand to make a Stanley Cup contender in the salary cap NHL. You can’t just gut your team and make it better on a whim. Look at Toronto. New GM, new coach, new players – pretty much everything you are asking for – and they’re still worse than us. New Jersey – new coach, went out and got the best sniper in the league during the offseason. New York Islanders – fired their coach a month ago, have gone 1-8-2 since.

  6. Corey

    Those are some good points Steve, but it all depends on your point of view, right? As much as you can say that they are within striking distance of first place in the Northeast, they are within striking distance of dead last.

    I do not think I am out of line asking what is wrong with a team that is outside of the playoff picture a third of the way through the season. I don’t think I would be out of line to ask what is wrong if they were in 8th, 7th, or 6th place. I think this is true especially because they won the division last year.

    It looked as if the Sabres had found their way back from the wilderness of missing the playoffs for a couple years in a row when they won the division last year. Even with the disappointing playoff performance, there was sound justification for thinking the team would be in a sure spot to contend again. With those expectations in mind the first portion of this season is a tremendous disappointment. I expected way more.

    This being said, they have played well as of late. The problem is that they have dug such a big hole that they need help to get back in that division race. They need to play great now, not just well. Its possible (especially with some of the weaker competition coming up,) and the next few weeks could be telling.

    You are absolutely right to point out that change does not guarantee success in and of itself. I am willing to take the risk that some change is necessary to make the roster a Stanley Cup contender. I could be completely wrong about this. I’m willing to bet I’m not.

  7. Bob

    They are what they are. They are a team built with a budget in mind. I don’t think Mr. Regier has an easy job, but he could have made some better decisions. There are moves that could and should be made. He’s absolutely correct in that it’s tough to make moves during the season. We can all sit here and play armchair GM but he’s the one that actually has to do it. Are we over paying some players? Yep! There a lot of things that he can’t control. I don’t think it’s time to blow it all up, but some tweaks would definately help.

  8. Solid points. I’ve been wondering the same things all year. I actually just posted my opinion on rivet and his captaincy over on sabretake. The guy is in denial…but he has to realize that it’s for the best of the team to give up the C.

  9. Byah

    “Right now, that’s where I’m at with the Sabres and I’m actually kind of enjoying it instead of freaking out about each loss.”

    In other words, “Mike”, you have absolutely no interest in the Sabres winning the Stanley Cup. You just like to watch the team win a few games a season or watch a couple good plays and goals. That’s it. You have no interest in the Stanley Cup. God, I hate fans like you. Cheerleaders who will root for the team while they are in 30th place, the last game of the season, while they are losing 10-0 with a 0.5 seconds left on the clock. What a joke. And “Steve” is no different…

    “To write a post asking, “What’s wrong with the Sabres?” 1/3 of the way through the season when they’re still in striking distance of the division lead is humorous to me.”

    Pfff, keep dreaming about that Division Championship hahahaha, you must be insane. Lemme guess, you’re the guy who says “It’s only March”, right?

    “They aren’t getting blown out”

    Depends on what you’re definition of getting blown out is. They sure as hell have been shut out more than once this season, and… it’s only “1/3 of the way through” to use one of your insane lines. Yeah, they have a chance to make the playoffs alright, but will just barely do so (8th or 7th) and get absolutely destroyed again once they get there. No Division title, BANK ON IT. Get your wallet out.

  10. Byah

    Hey, speak of the devil…. the Sabres are in the process of getting “blown out” by the Florida freakin’ Panthers right now, 6-2, with 8 minutes left in the 3rd period.

    Where’s Steve? Hiding?

  11. Corey

    I’m not satisfied with them being what they are. They are boring and hard to like to me. Even under a salary cap there is no reason the team should be like this.

    I say all of this is still open for debate, even with the craptacular loss tonight to Florida. I write because its what I think but not because its what I know for sure. I’m looking for differing opinions, so I’m glad Mike, Steve, and everyone else cares enough to comment.

  12. keller

    The window closed…the Sabres peaked on January 1st 2008 around 3pm. This is Crosby’s Conference….Briere gets the leftovers…Ovie gets some too after BB is fired. Buffalo is leaderless, heartless and disengaged. Prepare for at least 5 more years of sucktitude and generally unispired play.

  13. Jerk

    Wrong. The Sabres peaked at the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006. That was the best hockey team I have ever seen play the game, and the best Sabres team there will ever be. They played their hearts out, took and extremely unfair amount of injuries, and lost. A southern team with fans who don’t even give a damn about the game won the Stanley Cup while the people of Buffalo continue to get their hearts ripped out and stomped on. Then laughed at. There is no god.

  14. keller

    Jerk…there is a god. S/he was just smart enough to move to Pittsburgh in 1973.

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