The East and the West look like they’re both going to be messes as the season wears on, mainly because ten teams deserve to make the playoffs in one and about six in the other. I don’t really know why we cling to the arbitrary nature of divisions, especially ones with so little history as these. It does make sense for a division winner to gain an automatic playoff birth. You don’t want a winner in a tough division to miss out because they came out of the Thunderdome with a subpar record. But having what essentially amounts to three auto-qualifiers is a little ridiculous. So too is prizing manufactured “rivalry play” over more accurate seedings designed to keep the best teams from playing one another until the end.
So I guess I forgot to do this one. Whoops. I used to be a mini-pack holder and one of the things I used to do with that mini-pack was buy really good seats for the game closest to my birthday in November. They have never lost that game. Even now the trend continues.
- 2008 – The Sabres chase Manny Legace with 3 goals in the first 5:18 en route to a 4-3 win.
- 2009 – The Sabres defeat a red-hot Flames team 2-1 in the shootout.
- 2010 – (My personal favorite) – The Sabres defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in OT on a highlight reel goal by Thomas Vanek to win their first home game of the season.
- 2011 – The Sabres defeat the Winnipeg jets 6-5 in OT on another Thomas Vanek goal.
- 2013 – The Sabres defeat the LA Kings 3-2 in the shootout despite getting wildly outshot 45-17
Today the Buffalo Sabres announced that General Manager Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston were fired. Hall of Famer and former Sabre Pat LaFontaine has been brought in as the President of Hockey Operation, while the coaching position has been filled on an interim basis by former head coach Ted Nolan.
This is an exciting time for many fans that felt that Regier had grown stale. But more importantly, this is an opportunity for some Smart-ass (pictured above) to make his mark on the social media scene. And it all comes down to timing. Read more…
Regier out, Rolston out, Lafontaine in, Ted Nolan in, no GM at the moment. You know, I feel a little bad for Darcy despite thinking he no longer had any business being in control of this team. Firing him feels a little like telling your grandpa that he just isn’t capable of driving anymore. I’m sorry grandpa, I’ll take you to the antique shop so you can hit on Doris.
I don’t know if Lafontaine is a great hockey front office mind. I was kind of hoping he’d eventually become Director of Player Safety because having a victim of where that system had failed only made too much sense. What terrifies me is that Pegula is less interested in building a good hockey team in the modern NHL and only cares about recreating the teams he grew up watching and that brought him to tears when he first came on as owner. If the Lafontaine move doesn’t smack of that, the Nolan one certainly does.
That said, Pegula doesn’t control the hockey aspects of the team any more than hiring the guys at the very top, and it’s not like Ted Nolan is a guaranteed failure. Everyone laughed when the Blues brought back curmudgeony old out of touch a**hole Ken Hitchcock and look where that’s gotten them. Hitchcock evolved his philosophies to be compatible with current players and the modern game and he looks like a completely different coach. I can only hope that Nolan can do the same with the qualities that earned him a one way ticket out of Buffalo and Long Island.
Watch the Sabres! See them lose in new and exciting ways! Think you know what ultimate futility looks like? Think again!
And back to your regularly scheduled Sabres. Actually for the second straight night they didn’t look completely out of place in the NHL. They got outshot again (28-19 and 52-33 on attempted shots) but they had a few decent scoring chances against Jonathan Quick. Much like the Bills of the past few years, the hope now is that they can simply be in games instead of blown out by the time the third period starts.