Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Death Watch: R.I.P. Sabres

There's nothing worse than finishing 10th.

Wait, yes there is: finishing 10th year after year.

You don't get a shot at upsetting a top seed in the playoffs. You don't get a good draft pick. You don't even get to enjoy the last few games of the season, because you're already out of contention. There's nothing comically bad about your team, yet nothing inspiring either. It's a realm of mediocrity that's virtually inescapable.

Such is life with the Buffalo Sabres.

It's pretty easy to identify what's gone wrong with this team -- the team's core was allowed to walk, and the leftovers simply haven't been that great. To put it bluntly, the Sabres are an utterly average team in every part of their game. Their stars -- Miller, Vanek, Roy, Spacek -- are respectably good but nobody would mistake them for marquee players. As a result, the Sabres are the league-median team in both goals scored and goals against. They're too average.

The big question in Buffalo is whether this is a team that can build its way into competitiveness. None of the team's forwards are over 31, and the aging defensemen all seem replacable. A few savvy roster moves could make this the next team to ascend quickly to the division title. A couple of key injuries could make it a lottery team.
One thing's certain: the franchise can't afford another 10th-place finish next season.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: