You don’t need advanced statistics to tell you that the Buffalo Sabres aren’t playing well. You can glean that from the most basic of numbers in any sport. Their win/loss record is 3-6-1. They’re in last place in the division and two points out of dead last in the conference. They stink.
They also won’t be changing the formula any time soon. As Pierre LeBrun learned from a phone call with GM Darcy Regier, he’s giving the team and coach Lindy Ruff more time to get back on the right track.
It’s hard to get excited about that proclamation but it’s equally difficult to be surprised by the news, either. The Sabres don’t make in-season changes. They don’t panic. No matter who has the keys to the arena, a single game or series or week doesn’t change opinions for this organization. Structurally this is a good thing, but it can be frustrating when the bad results start to pile up.
Can this team get better? Of course they can. The odds of more than one person scoring—you know, eventually—are pretty strong. They can get better on the back end and get a bit more comfortable playing hockey. A week ago, when they took care of Boston in impressive fashion, things seemed possible. Good things, even.
For most fans, the problem is that right now there isn’t much evidence out there that things will improve right away. They look to be stuck in a groove of mediocrity, and the more agressive of Sabres fans want real evidence that something is being done to fix it.
That’s what frustrates fans the most about the Regier/Ruff era. There appears to be few consequences for failure, both short- and long-term. It’s difficult to show accountability in an industry where losing your employment is the only visible punishment for poor results. That’s not going to happen to Ruff or Regier anytime soon, and so we’re left going game-by-game and looking for signs of improvement.
If that’s all we can hope for, Montreal seems like a good place to start.