Tonawanda News

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March 24, 2013

DUVALL: Broken Sabres need a lot of fixing

Tonawanda News — I’ve been watching hockey my entire life and I’ve never been more flummoxed by a team than this year’s Buffalo Sabres.

They have talent aplenty. They have some pretty tough customers. They have a new head coach for the first time in a generation. They have a locker room with a fireplace in it and laser zambonis. 

What don’t they have? Very many wins. Specifically, they have seven regulation wins this season. Seven.

If ever there was a time to admit the core of this team is rotten, you’d think it would be now.

And yet they sit, headed into Saturday night’s tilt with the Canadiens, four points out of a playoff spot and winners of a couple in a row. 

Yes, we’re officially at that point of the season: The one where they look poised to begin their heroic run to a playoff spot. Or a heroic run to ninth place.

As a diehard fan I can never root for this team to lose. But there’s a nagging feeling now that I haven’t had the other times this team has found itself in this place (and they’ve been here more times than I’d prefer to recall).

Maybe they pour it on, turn into one of the league’s hottest teams down the stretch and go into the playoffs striking no small measure of fear into a soft southeast division winner. Maybe, if they get a good draw and Ryan Miller gets hot, they even win a round for the first time since 2007.

All it’s going to do is paper over the fundamental problems with this roster and this franchise.

The Sabres are, in part, victims of higher expectations. When Terry Pegula bought the Sabres he famously promised the goal was a simple one: Win the Stanley Cup.

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