Tonawanda News

Columns

April 15, 2014

For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

Tonawanda News — This is the last time I'm going to write about the Buffalo Sabres for a while. That's a good thing for several reasons.

No. 1: They suck.

No. 2: Writing about sucky teams sucks.

No. 3: Few people really want to read what someone writes about sucky teams.

If you're still with me after that, godspeed. We're off to the land of rebuilding!

First, some perspective on the tire fire of a season we just watched: This Sabres team scored the fewest goals of any in the NHL's expansion era, which dates to 1968. Think about that for a moment. We were the least offensively productive team since they expanded the league beyond the Original Six.

It is quite literally futility of historic proportions.

Now think about how much worse they would have been with even average goaltending. Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth — two of the franchise record nine netminders who dressed for games this season — both maintained save percentages well above the .900 mark, which is the benchmark for good goaltending. This despite facing more shots almost every night than the guy at the other end of the ice.

They came in last place and, realistically, it could have been much, much worse without their goaltenders bailing them out in many of their paltry 21 victories.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray and coach Ted Nolan held the semi-annual end-of-year press conference to address the season, its failures and the plan moving forward.

I have little desire to rehash the season but on the latter point, an important piece of the puzzle will fall into place Tuesday night. This column is being written in advance of Tuesday's draft lottery but the Sabres have a 25 percent chance of winning the top spot in this summer's NHL draft. If they don't win the top spot, they will draft second.

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