BUFFALO — Their run together stands at 423 total games over five fruitless seasons. In that time, the Sabres’ homegrown core players have earned two playoff appearances and zero series wins.
Most teams would’ve broken up that group years ago. The Sabres have plodded forward, mostly keeping it intact despite little success.
But a veteran star could finally be jettisoned following a bitterly disappointing ninth-place finish this season. A club constructed to hoist the Stanley Cup this spring couldn’t even qualify for the playoffs.
Something must change, right?
Lindy Ruff, a coach notoriously hard on his players both privately and publicly, laid much of this season’s failure on the group, telling WGR 550 over the weekend, “We put it on the core group of players, and for me it’s a tough situation to be in because we battled hard to get back but we didn’t get there.”
Center Derek Roy, who endured a brutal 17-goal, 44-point season, doesn’t like the finger-pointing, though.
“We’re all in it together,” Roy said Monday inside the First Niagara Center as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers. “I don’t think pointing fingers is … everybody, from Day One, worked hard together. We did some good things. We did some bad things obviously. It’s a long season. There’s ups and downs.
“To be pointing fingers right now is obviously tough. When you’re getting paid to produce, obviously fingers are pointed this way.”
Roy believes criticism “behind closed doors” is fine.
“You can be hard,” he said. “It’s not fun, but it’s good to be hard on players behind closed doors, on the bench to get them pumped up. I don’t know. I’m not a coach. But I don’t think it’s the right thing to be saying it to the media, either.”