And it got me thinking:
My initial response was:
Frustratingashell (that's one word!)
But then I got to thinking about it some more and other, highly descriptive one words came up:
I'm sure I could come up with others (I can actually be pretty good with words, on occasion) but you get the (depressing) picture.
This team is NOT getting the job done. Sure, they have dealt with some adversity- crazy injuries, bad hits, non-calls, etc- BUT so has every team in the league. There's a point when excuses just become empty, just like the platitudes the Sabres mouth after each game and practice-
"we've just got to stick to our system and stand up for each other.
"we've got to settle down and not grip our sticks too tight"
"We have to play our style of game and not let the other teams run us around"
Blah blah blah the System won't do jack if you can't play with a little HEART. That's one of the biggest things I see missing from this Sabres squad. This team has no heart, no pulse, no grit or determination. I don't even think they are necessarily soft (a common complaint) but more that they aren't tenacious at all. They don't look like they care.
And that's where the breakdown occurs.
Back when the Sabres got fun for me- in the playoff run of 2006 (I wasn't even living here at the time) and during the subsequent season- 2006-07, they played with HEART and SOUL and GUTS and SWEAT. They came from behind again and again and again and again and it was FUN. It was fun to watch, it looked like they were having fun playing- and this whole city was alive with Sabres fever. That was a glorious season. They ran out of gas in the playoffs but it was a great run.
Where did that team go? I don't think it was Briere and Drury (that's so 5 years ago). Other than those 2, the core of this team is the same guys who were there then. There have been some minor changes, but for the most part, the guys who made that glorious season such a great experience are still in the room and on the ice. But they can't seem to get that magic back. They aren't playing with the hunger and the desperation and the fever that those players had (even though many of them ARE those players.)
Let's look back on the roster: Roy, Pominville, Vanek, Miller, Gaustad, Stafford, Hecht, even Kaleta were there. That should be enough, considering that this is the basic "Core" that the organization has been built around.
THOSE guys need to step it up and lead the way. They are old enough now to BE "that guy" and lead this team out of the basement. Someone needs to take it upon himself to make it- something, ANYTHING, happen for this team and soon. Else they are dead in the water and it will hurt. It may feel like spring in WNY, but it's only January and the Sabres still (barely) have enough time to turn their season around.
And if they can't, or won't, then it's up to one of the "new" fellas to step up and step in and grab this frickin bull by the horns and right this ship and all those pithy cliches about getting it right. JUST DO>.... SOMETHING!
And if everyone on this team would play with half of the fervor that little Gerbe does every night, they would make some progress. I know, I might be biased, but seriously, he is really standing out to me right now- he's hitting and taking shots and TRYING out there- the rest of the team needs to get it in gear.
WHO WILL IT BE?
Let's Go Buffalo!