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MUCK'S MISTAKE

Sabres general manager John Muckler apparently could use a course in logic, according to his quotes in Tuesday's News.

It seems that Muckler can't see paying Matthew Barnaby what he would be worth to a team in better financial standing because it's difficult to compensate a young player after a non-playoff season.

That's his fault? I thought that's what general managers were for -- to build playoff-caliber teams.

And, by the way, when is the last time Muckler either acquired or developed a Stanley Cup type of player? Pat LaFontaine and Dominik Hasek arrived during Gerry Meehan's tenure. Muckler did, however, manage to unload one, Alexander Mogilny.

The Sabres have struggled on the scoresheet since they entered a rebuilding phase two seasons ago. Now Muckler is denying Buffalo fans one of their more exciting and entertaining role players. It's tough to maintain Ted Nolan-style hockey without players who bring the kind of character and tenacity displayed by Barnaby.

Maybe it's time for Doug Moss to look at Muckler's role in the Sabres' lack of playoff fortunes with the same critical eye. After all, to quote Muckler, "What's the worst that can happen? We miss the playoffs without him?"
BOB LEWIS
Niagara Falls

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