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ESPN's Craig Custance: Sabres in need of a wake-up call

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01-17-2012, 12:05 PM
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jamers
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ESPN's Craig Custance: Sabres in need of a wake-up call

For those who aren't ESPN insiders, I thought I'd link parts of a Craig Custance article on the Sabres after last night's loss.

Quote:
An NHL scout who has seen the Buffalo Sabres enough to realize something isn't right about this season's group was asked about their franchise goalie, Ryan Miller. Miller was yanked Monday night in the Detroit Red Wings' 5-0 win over the Sabres, Buffalo's ninth consecutive road loss.

"I don't see the fire. There's just not the same fire," the scout observed. "I don't see that in him like I did a couple years ago."
Quote:
There's a growing notion that the continuity in Buffalo has made things a bit stale. The same GM. The same coach. The same core group of players.

...

Said Paul Gaustad: "I don't think stale is a good word for it. We're going through a tough stretch right now. That's what sports is all about. You're not going to always be good. There's ups and downs throughout a season. So right now, we're having to deal with some tough times. I always think the tough times make a team better."

And it still may happen in Buffalo. But the reality is that it's more likely going to take a shock to the system to get there. Nearly every other underachieving team in the league has done something significant to try and change direction. Seven coaches have been fired. Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray put his stars on notice when he said none of them were untouchable. Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster went out and added Mike Cammalleri.

The Sabres sound similar to the Los Angeles Kings' players when they were asked if they needed a spark during their downturn. They didn't want Terry Murray fired. They didn't think it was necessary.

Darryl Sutter was a shock to the system and, as it turns out, a necessary one.

"It was kind of a wake-up call for the team," admitted goalie Jonathan Quick after the fact.

The Sabres need that jolt.
Quote:
This isn't a call for Lindy Ruff's head. You don't hold your job as long as he has without being a good coach. But these Sabres need a wake-up call. Any kind of wake-up call.

Maybe it comes in the form of a regime change. Former Sabres forward and current Toronto Maple Leafs executive Rick Dudley would be a natural fit in Buffalo if Pegula ever decides it's time for a new voice in the front office.

Maybe it's simply in the form of a passionate plea from Miller, who sounds like he has little patience left for his team's inability to play consistently in front of him.
http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/blog/...-wake-call-nhl

Interesting to get a national viewpoint.

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01-17-2012, 12:09 PM
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Rick Dudley.

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01-17-2012, 12:09 PM
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http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2...e-ryan-miller/

Jeremy Roenick thinks that the Sabres need a jolt to the system.

I doubt there are too many people that would disagree that something has to change.

The only debate is what to change.

And then there is the issue of whether Pegula & Black think that they need to change something other than improving the health of the roster.....


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01-17-2012, 12:10 PM
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From another national media outlet:

Quote:
Pegula has said he will not fire general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff, who have been together in Buffalo since 1997 Ė the longest-tenured tandem in the league. He has said it so often that he would lose credibility now if he did fire either of them. Regier has been historically reluctant to make major moves, but even if he makes some now Ė with more financial freedom, under more pressure Ė how much good would they do?

Would the Sabres make the playoffs?

If they did, so what? Would they get out of the first round?
Quote:
Pegula, once celebrated for those tears of boyish joy in his eyes, is now criticized for being blinded by them Ė for using injuries as an excuse, for being in denial of the hard truth.

Money does not buy championships.
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news?slu...ruggles_011611

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01-17-2012, 12:34 PM
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I've never seen a team so obviously quit on it's coach and at the same time have a majority of people defend him. Even listening to WGR this morning, no one seems willing to state the obvious. Lindy's time is up. It was up last year until Pegula bought the team. At that point, the players realized they had a new set of eyes on them and they had to impress. Lindy didn't do a great job turning around the ship, the players did that for themselves. Lindy has to go. Nothing in hockey is more clear.

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01-17-2012, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretip View Post
From another national media outlet:





http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news?slu...ruggles_011611
I know deep in my heart Pegula is going to give Ruff and Regier until the end of next year to sort things out. Pegula has made a long-term investment in the Sabres, he's pouring hundreds of millions into his new toy which he'll probably keep for the rest of his life.

I'm sure Pegual is thinking how it's evident Buffalo will not make the playoffs, even if they go on a killer tear; and even if they did squeak in, they seem to lack the team chemistry to make a deep run. So why fire the longest tenured coach in hockey or GM for a lost cause? Avoid immediate gratification at all costs. If there are malcontents in the locker room, get rid of them; millions are coming off the books this year, not to mention the likely departure of Roy and Leopold, so retool. What about loyality? Avoid panic. Don't forget the injuries, yada yada yada...

Agree or disagree, this is the course we are on.

As far as money not buying championships, there is an element of truth to that. But let's not kid ourselves that money isn't the overriding factor in every professional sport around the globe, and a critical element to most teams' success.

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01-17-2012, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by slip View Post
As far as money not buying championships, there is an element of truth to that. But let's not kid ourselves that money isn't the overriding factor in every professional sport around the globe, and a critical element to most teams' success.
Agreed. I think a better phrasing would be that 'money can't buy chemistry.'

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01-17-2012, 01:00 PM
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I hate Gaustad's quote: "You can't be good all the time."

Why not? Isn't that something the guys should be striving for, rather than chalking it up to, "Well, that's just the way it goes?"

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01-17-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slip View Post
I know deep in my heart Pegula is going to give Ruff and Regier until the end of next year to sort things out. Pegula has made a long-term investment in the Sabres, he's pouring hundreds of millions into his new toy which he'll probably keep for the rest of his life.

I'm sure Pegual is thinking how it's evident Buffalo will not make the playoffs, even if they go on a killer tear.
Based on that TV interview he gave over the weekend, I don't think Pegula will accept missing the playoffs - he seems to think the team can still repeat the kind of run they had last year to get in. If they don't make it, I think he won't gamble with another season of Regier calling the shots. It may not be an outright dismissal - Pegula may feel some sense of loyalty to him and Ruff and just demote Regier into a different role (i.e. scouting, advisory). I could see Pegula giving Ruff another chance for another season but with strings attached.

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01-17-2012, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htsportplaya View Post
I hate Gaustad's quote: "You can't be good all the time."

Why not? Isn't that something the guys should be striving for, rather than chalking it up to, "Well, that's just the way it goes?"
The attitude of this bunch is disgusting. There's no swagger at all.

With the national attention that this is getting right now, I hope Pegula panics and makes a move.

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01-17-2012, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sba View Post
The attitude of this bunch is disgusting. There's no swagger at all.

With the national attention that this is getting right now, I hope Pegula panics and makes a move.
I hope it's not a panic response, but I also hope that they are serious sellers at the deadline.

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01-17-2012, 01:18 PM
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what needs to be done before the beginning of next season...

1) fire Ruff and replace (preferably before the end of the season)
2) fire Regier and replace (give him 1 shot to see if he can acquire players for the new coaches system, if not than get someone that can)
3) trade/buy out 50%-75% of the 2011 opening day roster players
a) keeping vanek, pomminville, gerbe, mccormick, adam, ehrhoff, regher, myers, enroth to rebuild with.

theres nobody else worth keeping from that opening day roster because they all suck. clearly theres an issue with the team seeing how we improved with new players in the off season and have gotten sufficiently worse. something doesnt add up there

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01-17-2012, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iciclesonapapershelf View Post
I hope it's not a panic response, but I also hope that they are serious sellers at the deadline.
I think a panic move might be the only move that happens.

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01-17-2012, 01:26 PM
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I'm sure all of us want the Sabres to be winners. I'm sure all of us hate being on this board complaining day after day. It sucks.

The expecatations after getting rid of our whipping boy and two slower than dirt guys; and then adding two strong, respectable defensmen and a playoff performer, were threw the roof. I've been speechless watching these games. There is no fire, no heart, no one seems to care, etc. I'm lost on what exactly it is but one thing is certain, this team stinks.

Glad for the validation, even though it was ESPN, of Ryan Miller and his lack of fire. I've said it for a while, he's not the same. Hard to pin point anything but a simple trade of say Gaustad for a 2nd this week, I think would do wonders. He's a UFA, it would be a shock. Something as simple as that needs to be done.

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01-17-2012, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresFanNorthPortFL View Post
Glad for the validation, even though it was ESPN, of Ryan Miller and his lack of fire. I've said it for a while, he's not the same.
I've long mocked ESPN for their hockey coverage, but lately they've been hiring some great hockey analysts/reporters. Custance is one such.

And yes, I think they hit the nail on the head with Miller with that quote.

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01-17-2012, 02:11 PM
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It's gotten to the point of disbelief. I hate talking about miller, he's been one of our consistent performers for over 5 years. There has to be something going on in the locker room, where guys just don't like each other, or something like that. Plus, where is the desire? I played a college sport and you lived to play, where there is such a high percentage of players on this team that show no hustle, finish no checks, fight for the puck, etc. Somethings going on, more so than the product on the ice.

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01-17-2012, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bob View Post
http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2...e-ryan-miller/

Jeremy Roenick thinks that the Sabres need a jolt to the system.

I doubt there are too many people that would disagree that something has to change.

The only debate is what to change.

And then there is the issue of whether Pegula & Black think that they need to change something other than improving the health of the roster.....

but.... but.... [DEEP RASPY R&B VOICE]Healthy changes every-thang![/DEEP RASPY R&B VOICE]

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01-17-2012, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htsportplaya View Post
I hate Gaustad's quote: "You can't be good all the time."

Why not? Isn't that something the guys should be striving for, rather than chalking it up to, "Well, that's just the way it goes?"
didn't click the links... where did he say that?

And that's a horrible response. WTF man.

GOD I HATE THIS TEAM

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01-17-2012, 02:44 PM
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Miller's interview, and the increasing turmoil of the Sabres, sure seems to have gotten the attention of the national media outlets:

Sportsnet:
http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2012/...miller_bummed/

TSN:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=385298

NHL.com:
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=612183

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01-18-2012, 11:32 AM
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http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/i...to-win-central

Quote:
Custance: On the flip side, you had a Sabres team that hasn't consistently put together consecutive good performances since the fall. What a disaster. Owner Terry Pegula was at the game and couldn't have liked what he witnessed. Ryan Miller's frustrations boiled over after the game, one that included relatives in the stands watching to see him take on brother Drew.

"It's embarrassing," he said. "I got family, friends, everybody came to watch Drew and I play. At least they got to watch Drew perform."

To me, something needs to give in Buffalo. A trade. A coaching change. Something.

"It's not my decision," Miller said. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen in the locker room. If you guys really think there's any kind of trade made anywhere that's going to affect this team any more than we can affect it in this locker room, you guys just -- I don't know. I don't know what to think."

Yeah, the frustration level was high in the Sabres' room, as well it should be. That's nine straight road losses for Buffalo. You have any solutions for the struggling Sabres?

Burnside: The Sabres remain one of the most mystifying teams in the NHL. I wasnít seduced by the Pegula spending orgy into thinking they were Cup contenders, but I certainly figured them to be a middle-of-the-pack playoff team. You know how weíve been questioning the leadership on teams such as the Washington Capitals and, perhaps to a lesser degree, the San Jose Sharks the past couple of years, well, for me, the Sabres have been the poster boys for a leadership vacuum. It canít all fall to Ryan Miller, who, as you noted, seemed like a guy at the end of his rope Monday night. Where is Thomas Vanek in all of this? Or Derek Roy? Or Jason Pominville? Or much-ballyhooed Robyn Regehr?

The problem for Pegula et al is that there are no easy answers -- there never are when you stink as much as the Sabres do. And Millerís right, you canít snap your fingers, make a trade and make everything OK. But if ever there was a team that seems to have grown stale overnight, itís the Sabres, and that means looking for a new voice behind the bench and even beyond that to a new direction from on high. Pegulaís loyalty to GM Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff is admirable, but at some point the reality of whatís happening on the ice dictates change. The other reality is that itís probably too late to do anything about any of this during the season. The Sabres are in 11th place in the conference, seven points out of a playoff berth. Sure, try to trade Roy if you think you can get decent value, but the real changes for the Sabres look as though they will happen in the offseason, which for them will begin April 8.

Custance: I had a good chat with captain Jason Pominville before the game, and he pointed out that the Sabres have battled back in the standings in the past, including last season, when they rallied to make the playoffs and probably should have won in the first round. Like many of his teammates, he doesn't want to see any drastic changes made to right the ship.

"I believe in the group we have, the coaching staff and everybody in the organization," he said. "I know we're a better team than what we're showing right now. To me, that's the disappointing part of it."

It doesn't get any easier for the Sabres, either. They left Detroit on Monday night for Chicago, where they'll face the Blackhawks on Wednesday, then it's on to play the Jets in Winnipeg on Thursday. As we know, Winnipeg isn't an easy place to play, especially for a team that can't buy a win on the road.

"It is a crucial part of the schedule, definitely," Pominville said. "We're on the road to the All-Star break. Playing some teams that have been going really well. I'm not going to lie to you, we've dug ourselves a pretty tough spot. It's basically crunch time, playoff time from here out."

And that was before they got steamrolled by Detroit. The players realize the urgency to win, they just don't appear capable of doing anything about it.

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01-18-2012, 11:41 AM
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Sounds like Ruff is getting thrown under the bus...again...how typical.

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01-18-2012, 11:45 AM
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Dear Goose, if you don't expect greatness out of yourself and your teammates each night you have no business being in this occupation any longer. Please leave.

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01-18-2012, 11:47 AM
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Dear Goose, if you don't expect greatness out of yourself and your teammates each night you have no business being in this occupation any longer. Please leave.
The Sabre get and look in the mirror every morning. And they each repeat this mantra while giving themselves the old side arm finger point salute.

"As little as possible."


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01-18-2012, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Play4Miracles View Post
Sounds like Ruff is getting thrown under the bus...again...how typical.
How is he getting thrown under the bus? And even if we was, how is that typical? No coach has ever been as bulletproof as Lindy. Somehow he's managed to escape blame time and again.

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01-18-2012, 12:02 PM
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Sounds like Ruff is getting thrown under the bus...again...how typical.
you cant be serious?

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