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Sports: Letters to Editor

Improving Sabres comes with removals

I’m a former season ticket holder that walked away from the product on the ice three years ago. I voted with my wallet. Over this time the team has vanished, lost its identity and suffers from a very stale GM and a coach over his head.

Here’s an idea for ownership to consider. First, get a new GM. There’s many candidates and any GM worth their weight would salivate at the draft picks moving forward. Second, throw a boatload of money at Peter Laviolette. He’s experienced, credible, respected and has a Stanley Cup ring. Let him start by removing (via trade or even waiving players) the mistakes that Darcy Regier will never admit to. Let him make decisions regarding Tyler Myers and a certain Russian forward that’s clearly not cutting it.

This sends a message of accountability and perhaps he can teach them how to prepare for a game, seeing how Ron Rolston does nothing to address this. This also addresses another issue - free agents. Who in their right mind would come here as a free agent knowing there’s no credibility with current management? By cutting losses (no pun intended) now, establishing a new management team and good draft picks perhaps they could attract free agent talent, especially if results on the ice come to be.

Bottom line, they need a new GM with credentials and a coach that’s more than a teacher. They need leadership from the top down so fans can actually understand what they’re doing. If not, they’ll be more fans like me, voting with their wallet and watching (this is very hard to do right now) it at home on TV. Terry Pegula, have the courage to listen.

Bruce Cranston

North Tonawanda

Answers for Sabres? Follow Yellow Brick Road

Upon my visit to the Hockey Wizard of Oz I asked if he would be willing to grant me three requests.

1. Please give our owner courage. He needs to realize that sometimes in business people need to be fired when they are not doing their job, or in our case making things worse.

2. Please give our team President a brain. A brain would enable him to realize how ridiculous he sounds when he is tip-toeing around any legitimate questions surrounding the team.

3. Please, Wizard, if you cannot grant the first two at least grant this one. Give our general manager a heart so that he will man up and realize that he is not the man for this job, stop shamelessly accepting new contracts that he hasn’t earned and finally resign.

I think if these requests could be honored, oh mighty Wizard, the fans of this team would be most grateful.

Bob Polvino


Scott incident brings fan to breaking point

Like many Buffalo natives, I have remained loyal to our Sabres and Bills despite living continents and decades away. But I won’t root for the Sabres again until “forward” John Scott, coach Ron Rolston and General Manager Darcy Regier have been removed from the team.

Like many, I have watched with dismay as the speedy and talented teams of the mid-2000s have become less beautiful and less winning under the euphemistically named strategy of being “tough to play against.” Wednesday’s goonish hit by Scott to the head of the Boston Bruins’ Loui Eriksson (following the suspension-worthy play of the Sabres’ Pat Kaleta) is the last straw.

Outside a hockey rink the Scott assault (there is nothing “tough” about it) would rightly merit stiff criminal and civil penalties. I simply cannot support such conduct and the managers who condone it. Nor should Buffalo parents encourage their kids to root for a team that head-hunts. Nor should we expect remaining stars Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek wanting to return to an organization headed in such a dark direction.

Wake up, Terry Pegula. Even if cheap shots don’t bother you on a moral level, this fake toughness is dumb in a league increasingly looking to protect its players against head and neck injury.

There is no argument for leaving the hapless Sabres managers in place for another game. Peter Laviolette, who has always coached tough-but-fair teams, seems to be looking for a job.

Robert Pollock

New York City

(Pollock was the op-ed editor of the Wall Street Journal from 2007-2012)

Sabres have become shadow of former selves

I have always admired the Buffalo Sabres as a hockey organization. From its early days with Perreault, Martin, Lindy Ruff, Ted Darling, etc., through its great winning seasons, the atrocity of The No Goal by Brett Hull, it is an organization rich with tradition and class.

Until now.

What I have seen and read over the past couple of years, and in particular, most recently, is nothing short of appalling and embarrassing for a once-proud organization.

As columnist Bucky Gleason has opined, the fans need to walk, no, run, to the exits, and stay away from Sabres games until the lunacy of players like Kaleta and Scott and the incompetent coaching of Ron Rolston is eliminated from the NHL ice.

It is up to you, Buffalo, to demand a return of honour, integrity and winning to the Sabres organization.

David Bourque

Grafton, Ontario

Once-proud team has gone downhill fast

While attending Wednesday’s Sabres game I was embarrassed to be a supporter. 27 years with a ticket and this is what it has come to.

Poor quality hockey aside, I was appalled to hear many in attendance cheering when Milan Lucic was hit in the face with a puck and again when John Scott played the fool. A once-proud Buffalo team has deteriorated from a team that reached Game Six of the Stanley Cup finals in 1999 to last place in the league.

The fans need something, anything to cheer for, unfortunately Wednesday night was not what I had in mind. It is said any business, club, school, team, etc., is only as good as the leadership. Too bad for Buffalo hockey.

Curt Taylor


Hopefully Bills haven’t ignored key upgrade

In regards to the article about the renovations at the Ralph, I was disappointed that there was no mention of any upgrades for the handicapped fans. I feel that the installation of handrails for going up and down the stairs and wheelchair platforms in other areas of the stadium (i.e. premium seats and the third level), would and should take priority over a new commissary area and new store.

Don Bartz

West Seneca

Bills came through, but things need work

Would more use of fullback help to setup play action, better blocking for the running backs and/or flare outs to the fullback? I wonder if the coaches saw the Steelers’ Big Ben shovel pass to the tight end on the 2 or 3 yard for a TD against Baltimore.

And, Dan Carpenter’s failure to kick the ball out of the end zone almost resulted in a game-winning RS. Buffalo’s special teams need work.

Ed Clohessy


Fred Jackson is a warrior for Bills

Fred Jackson defines what makes a football player. Even when hurt he lifts his troops and still fights through the pain. No matter what the situation he moves straight ahead.

In the heat of the battle Jackson somehow leads his team to victory. He has takes his game to a new level.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

Don’t get too upset, it’s only a game

Only one team of 30 or 32 in the NHL and/or NFL can win it all. That means every year there are fans in approximately 30 cities that do not win it all every year. You’re not alone.

Don’t feel bad for Bills/Sabres players. They are living a nice life and make 10 to 20 times, if not more, the annual salary that you or I do.

It is just a game. It’s about having fun and passing time. It’s the highest level of competition but it is just a game.

Don’t read the paper the day after a loss. It’s over. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway. Better luck next time.

Hope that management puts good players on the field/ice that will bring many more wins than losses.

If not, remember, it’s just a game.

Mike Ciko


New BCS system will not be better

The NCAA begins its BCS playoff system next year and its structure is extremely strange. Four “Power” conferences are named in that system giving them the advantage for their teams to be selected for the four-team playoff.

The only problem is that the Big Ten is one of the “Power” conferences and the ACC is not. Anyone following college football over the last five years, especially bowl results and recent NCAA rankings, knows that the Big Ten is anything but special in the “Power” category and that the ACC is stronger. The only “P” that describes the Big Ten’s status is “Politics.”

To make matters worse, all of the conference finalists must compete to win their conference title either in a playoff or outright facing conference opponents. But one school, Notre Dame is not required to win its conference because it refuses to join a conference and earn its entry into the BCS playoff. But the NCAA has seen fit to allow this “independent” School access to a national championship as they did in the Championship game last season.

College football’s top level is probably the only sport where one team is given an “exemption” from the rules all others play under. All of the rest of the college football divisions and other sports such as soccer and volleyball require teams or players to follow the rules and compete on an equal basis.

When one examines it’s history it should not be a shock to anyone that the NCAA has come up with this bizarre formula for the BCS Championship.

John W. Kowalski


Killing for sport should not be glorified

I am responding to Will Elliott’s continually “sensationalizing” these so-called trophy hunters and how they killed poor, defenseless animals in the wild.

His article in the Sunday Sports section recently bragged about the ritual of shooting these defenseless animals in Africa (“31 in three years”) and going in detail how he killed them and then put them on a wall as a trophy.

When are we going to stop this “macho man” attitude and keep killing animals for sport? These creatures deserve more than this. What good is a mount on a wall if when you die, someone else will probably sell it anyway. These animals are disappearing on a daily basis and our children and grandchildren won’t be able to enjoy seeing them in the wild.

Heidi Maseduca


Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or email to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.

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