Sabres (Sadness) Sunday – 2-24-13

Well, if you’ve payed any attention to the Sabres this week then reading this column might not provide much more insight than you’ve already garnered.

The Sabres are bad.  Like worst in the NHL bad.  In my decade of fandom I can’t really recall any time where it felt quite THIS bad.  This is what it must be like to be a Columbus fan.  Which is ironic, because this year I had decided to take on following the Blue Jackets as my adopted Western Conference team.  I like their plucky, underrated, underdog status.

Turns out my “home” team could have used some of these qualities.  It’s weird to be less than halfway through the season and realize that your team has no shot at the playoffs.  Which, mathematically they do, however if they keep producing games like they did over the last week.  Well, it could be a while till they get lucky enough to steal a game from some unsuspecting foe.

So the big stories were

-Meltdown on National TV … yup, that’s the most depressing way to frame last Sunday’s game.  It could also be framed as the Sabres playing a tight game with one of the best teams in the East, only to have a lead slip away at the end.  Either way a loss is a loss.  The momentum from the game before once again immediately put to a stop.

The good news is that they had a fragile Jets team who doesn’t play well away from home on deck Tuesday

-Lindy and the Jets – No better way to get back on track.  Turns out no better way to get your 15yr tenured, community icon, face of the franchise coach fired … kind of game.  Yep, that happened.  The Sabres lay a stinker against a stinky team and all that stink gets shoveled into a fan ….

Cody McCormick waived / assigned to Rochester:  Well Cody … it was nice while it lasted.  This wasn’t your fault.  I thought you were a great role player.  Always willing to stick up for your mates.  Ready to do whatever you were asked.  Guys like you are necessary and also completely replaceable.  Unfortunately the management thought it was time to give another guy a shot to do the same thing.

Lindy Ruff fired:  It’s the classic mob movie scenario.  We got the head of the family at an impasse with the behind the scene puppet masters.  The untouchable boss.  The audience knows Don Lindy has to go.  He’s running the family into the ground.  The business is flailing.  There’s unrest amongst the families!

Then it happens.  A knock at the door.  An unexpected trip in a car that ends up in a dark alley or some non-descript warehouse. The untouchable becomes untraceable.  My imagination and flair for the dramatic can only imagine how the decision to fire Lindy really came about.  But it came about.  We feel for him though.  He was the best character in this movie!  The best lines.  The best scenes.  The best character.  And now he’s gone.

But … as the script shows … this had to happen.  Queue the funeral procession.

I don’t have much to say about the whole thing.  At least I don’t feel like I have anything different to say that hasn’t already been processed by the various branches of the internet.

It’s been a tough couple of days moving forward.  When all you know is the past moving forward can see scary.

Well, it’s been 2 games since that fateful day.  It’s clear to see the problems with the team were at least partially masked by Lindy’s coaching.  Things have only gotten worse as the Sabres put in a lackadaisical effort vs the Leafs.  Only to put in an even worse loss at home against the Islanders.

The Islanders game was perhaps the most depressing regular season game I’ve watched as a fan.  The players look defeated.  The fans … as they are still calling themselves … even though I would characterize them more as ticket holders and event spectators … have determined that the best way to lift the spirits of the team is to boo them for every mistake.

While I can certainly understand the frustration on all sides.  At this point … what are you getting from booing?  It’s clearly not helping.  In fact it seems like it might actually be hurting?  If you are booing … you are actually increasing the chances that they play even worse?  Isn’t that counterproductive from what you are trying to accomplish with a boo?

Whatever … I’ve been to plenty of events where I booed my team.  I’m no saint.  But it’s almost like booing the Sabres has become “the thing” to do.  That seems … as Buffalonians are known to be … a little classless.

The team sucks.  Get the fuck over it.  We’ve still got a lot of games to go here.  It’s not going to be pretty.  I’d be amazed if the team can pull itself out of this funk to make the season at all redeemable.  My best suggestion is to stop being in the mindset of turning it around or working towards anything more than going out there and letting things fly.

At this point there really is nothing left to lose.  Time to get over the depression and start moving towards having fun.  Fans be damned.  Lose a couple of games 8 -4 or 6-5  … time to start opening things up.  Get back to loving the game you’re paid to play and shut out the negativity.

Easier said than done … but right now these games are straight up depressing to watch.  The players look depressed.  The coach looks nervous.  Miller looks pissy … wait, that’s normal.  It’s just a really sad kind of situation.  Lets hope a few days off to recharge helps the team come back refocused on Tuesday.


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