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LEADERSHIP NEEDED

Congratulations to News sports reporter Jim Kelley for pulling the curtains on the travesty that is currently going on with the Sabres.

So, the personnel in the John Muckler camp feel that coach Ted Nolan has been insensitive to management's requests to be more of a team player! In light of the current dilemma, and the recent history of this organization, I wonder what kind of a "team" Nolan is supposed to dedicate himself to. Perhaps he should be more like the billfold/three-piece suit/paper-pushing harlequins that have run a very unsuccessful team for the past few years.

Muckler has been more of a liability than an asset from the beginning. The players who played under him when he was a coach despised him. Not only do the Sabres not need his services anymore, but they especially don't need any more of his old alumni. Doug Moss and Jennifer Smith hail from New York City with credentials. So what? What have they done to improve the status of the Sabres?

Now, not only are the Sabres not competitive, they look like goons on the road in those revolting black jerseys. Thanks for the new legacy. Give us back our blue, gold and white.

I, like Nolan, am not satisfied with the team's younger players. If they had any heart and desire and talent to win, they, and the veterans too, would not have put on those disgraceful performances in the first two home games.

So as punishment for their pitiful performances this season, coach Nolan gave them what they deserved with physical and disciplined practices. That's doing a lot more for the won/lost record than any of the salaried cronies who sit behind desks and taking two-hour lunches.

The fact that the Sabres didn't sign anyone of significance during the offseason is appalling. Who is going to be on the line with LaFontaine? Everyone knows what he is capable of when teamed with appropriate talent. How is he supposed to live up to his huge salary if management won't acquire help? It's obvious that the interorganizational development is mediocre, at best.

Last year was supposed to be a rebuilding year. So what is this year? Where's the commitment? We, the people who pay the bills for this sorry organization, want answers.

I am in Ted Nolan's corner. I've read his quotes in the Buffalo News over the past two years and can tell that he is right for hockey and for sports. It is foolish for the upper management of the Sabres to hold it against him if they feel that he is anti-establishment and supposedly needs to make enemies to be successful. Nolan is thirty-something and might need some polishing. Shouldn't there be someone there to groom him into what he is capable of being? Not necessarily to take off the edge, but to teach him to deal with things in a more professional manner if that is necessary? Isn't that what the term "organization" is supposed to be about -- to work together? It's my opinion that someone needs to take control and right this crooked ship.

I will not buy any tickets until I see some positive results. I have no faith in the organization or the players.
JOHN SWIGONSKI
North Tonawanda

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