Tonawanda News


March 24, 2013

DUVALL: Broken Sabres need a lot of fixing


Tonawanda News — It was a break with years of mostly middling — though sometimes surprisingly good — teams, the goal for which always seemed to be make a good showing. Be a tough out. Win some games, maybe upset a complacent team loaded with aging, highly paid players who weren’t all that interested in trying to win. 

Now all of a sudden they look like one of the teams we once hoped to catch napping.

It’s time, as the preferred metaphor goes, to blow this thing up. 

Sabres apologists will say it isn’t Miller’s fault. They’ll say Thomas Vanek is a legitimate star. They’ll say Tyler Myers is young and has time to return to the Calder Trophy form of his rookie year. They’ll say Jason Pominville is a guy who plays well beyond his physical stature. They’ll remember the Drew Stafford who scored 30 goals and carried a team to the playoffs. 

But here’s the bottom line: Together, they’ve been bad or average far more often than they’ve been good and they simply aren’t good enough to meet their owner’s lofty goal of attaining Buffalo hockey immortality.

There are plenty of good players on this team who, if traded, would probably go on to success elsewhere. The Sabres can’t be afraid of missing out on that when the empirical evidence overwhelmingly suggests the whole of this team is far less than the sum of its parts.

Of course they can’t trade everyone. If general manager Darcy Regier is going to preserve what surely must be the last of his nine lives he should take a hard look at this roster and decide who stays and who goes.

And he must admit more players must go than need stay.

The reality is, unless they get a goalie in return, Miller has to stay. Vanek has shown me enough to merit a contract extension, though his habit of drooping into 15 game slumps (like he’s in now) is disheartening.

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