Tonawanda News


October 19, 2013

DUVALL: Hating a winner is the stuff of sore losers


Tonawanda News — I went to my first game of the year Thursday (I gave away a ticket to Monday's game to watch the Cards on television). As it happens, it's the first time I've been able to watch any Sabres game with undivided attention.

I'd read all the mocking assessments and heard all the groaning from fellow fans. The Sabres are just as bad as advertised.

They're the worst team in the league and one of the the worst teams in franchise history — if not the worst.

They're on pace to score about 1.3 goals per game, which would blow away the lowest goal-per-game average in league history (the expansion Tampa Bay Lightning scored 1.8 goals per game and only had one player with 20 or more tallies).

Fans have taken to chanting "Fi-re Dar-cy!" — a reference to general manager Darcy Regier. I've been on board with that for a while but whether it happens is far from a sure thing.

The team is in rebuilding mode. Regier famously said he thinks fans will be willing to endure "a little suffering" to build a winner.

But there's a big difference between "a little suffering" and being the worst team in the league.

Media reports surfaced last week in Canada that Regier is on the hot seat. It would seem odd to fire him after ownership signed off on the plan to trade away talented veterans and go with a bunch of kids. After all, wasn't this the plan?

Still, if they don't start winning — or at least playing competitive games — something will have to change or they'll face an open revolt from fans. 

If they keep being this bad, season ticket holders, the lifeblood of the organization, are going to walk away. Many of us (I've shared seasons for six years) rely on being able to sell some of our seats to help offset the cost. Right now you can barely give these things away. Any hope of selling a ticket for a profit is gone. Many fans will re-evaluate this off season and decide a poor product on the ice and a poorly managed franchise isn't worth the investment and give up their seats.

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