Owner handed Sabres too much up front
If ever there was evidence that "dangling the carrot" works better than getting the carrot, all you have to do is look at the current position of the Buffalo Sabres.
When Terry Pegula came in he showered his prize students with all the luxuries that you could ask for, thinking that this would motivate them to achieve. It essentially blew up in his face. This proves the hunt is better than the catch.
It looks like this particular edition of the Sabres is not reacting as expected when the owner gave them everything they could possibly want or need. They look like a bunch of athletes who think that however they perform will be good enough for their boss due to what their boss did for them up front, without results, as opposed to after some kind of achievement.
It's a good lesson in life, that anything good should be earned and not always given.
Ruff doesn't grasp offensive hockey
From all reports, Mr. Pegula will wait until the end of this most painful season before he replaces the coach and/or GM. Unfortunately, Lindy Ruff is so offensively challenged that he should have been replaced many years ago. As players, neither he nor his coaches knew how to score goals. Even the announcers (Robitaille and Ray) couldn't score a goal unless it bounced off their face into the net. When Lindy has had an offensive talent he has systematically destroyed their skill with his "system."
Max Afinogenov is a good example of this. He even made Danny Briere play wing many times. When we acquired Doug Gilmour, one of the league's best centers, Lindy put him on the wing and finished his career. When we did acquire some big forwards (Bernier, Zubrus, Torres) they immediately stopped scoring under Lindy's "tutelage." Lindy hasn't had a decent power play since Scott Arniel left the team and he doesn't hire coaches that can offset his defensive style of hockey.
The team is so out of sync offensively, I can't watch them on TV, let alone pay the price to watch them in person.
Watching Sabres is losing proposition
The Sabres' games are getting more boring to watch. They can just save the cable companies money by forfeiting their games. Even the Carruba Collision hits of the game are boring because none of the players can hit anyway.
Offense is stuck in a place called hope
Opinions abound about the Sabres' lack of scoring, though I've heard nothing about Lindy Ruff's offensive system to be the blame. The majority of the Sabres' possession time in the offensive zone takes place on the boards, with the rest being luck. I have nicknamed the Sabres offense Lindy's "Hope" offense.
Whatever method of zone entry is used, the Sabres have to hope to win two or three scrums along the boards. Should we win a one-on-one battle our forwards either work the perimeter for a point shot or throw the puck at the front of the net, without regard to who, if anyone, is there.
Whenever we do put the puck on net, we hope it gets through, we hope it's screened, we hope it's tipped, we hope for a deflection, we hope for a rebound. Even more frightening is that we use the same static, perimeter passing, "point shot and hope" philosophy even with a two-man advantage. Hockey is about skating, passing and shooting, not hope.
Offensive hockey is moving people passing the puck to other moving people.
Many argue our players are not skilled enough. I maintain Lindy's system of "hope" hockey has, and will continue, to suck the creativity from anyone.
From the home office, a Sabres Top 10 list
My list for the top 10 reasons for the Buffalo Sabres' dismal play:
10. Player with 2 goals in 20 games injured.
9. Ryan Miller using games as dress rehearsal for movie role in remake of "Slap Shot."
8. Player with 3 goals in 30 games injured.
7. Darcy Regier overheard saying "You mean I can make trades before the trade deadline?"
6. Defensemen with 11 plus/minus rating injured.
5. Players refuse to stop playing Words with Friends on their iPads when games are about to begin.
4. Unknown player called up from Rochester injured.
3. Sabre players complain that view of Jumbotron bloopers is obscured when they are on the ice.
2. Derek Roy NOT injured most of the season.
And the No. 1 reason for the Sabres' dismal play: Report that number of Time Warner subscribers have increased because Sabres games were dropped from the schedule.
Sabres off the air is a small favor
Just want to thank both MSG and Time Warner for their dispute regarding the Sabres broadcasts. At least now, the local sports fans are not being subjected to the lousy entertainment the games were meant to provide.
Also want to thank Terry Pegula, Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff. Even if the games WERE on MSG, the team's play makes it easy to not care any more.
Give ex-players a shot with Bills
Monday's sports section of The Buffalo News gave me a reason to look forward to next year's football season. A young quarterback that took his team to the playoffs but losing to the mighty Patriots in a great effort. His name is Tim Tebow and he will only get better, even more so that he is going to spend the offseason learning from John Elway.
At least the Broncos had enough brains to hire one of their best "former players" to help manage their team.
Of course the Bills don't think that way, right Jim Kelly? By the way isn't San Francisco's head coach Jim Harbaugh a former player?
Dale Michaels Sr.
A Tebow fan quits on Fitz
If the Buffalo Bills' head coach thinks Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback to get the Bills to the playoffs, they should get rid of the coach.
Fitzpatrick has been a below average quarterback for the better part of his career. Buddy Nix says if the Bills get stronger elsewhere on the field, they can get to the dance with Fitzpatrick. But you still need a very good quarterback. If you put more talent around him, that doesn't make him any better.
The Bills should have drafted Tim Tebow. He can pass and run and is better than Fitzpatrick already.
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 e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.