Usually I wait to give the team a chance to work out a few kinks. I don't think the problem lies with working out a "few kinks".
This team is in serious need of an enema...or a heart transplant. Since there seems to be a waiting list for heart transplants, I'll go with flushing out the crap.
This "team" has picked up where it left off last April. Which is playing uninspired, heartless, gutless hockey. Save for a few changes Darcy tried to pass off as "upgrades", this is essentially the same team as last year. And we all know how that ended up.
I am not going to pick on Myers, because he will come around. You don't just turn into a bad hockey player one year into a career. He'll be fine. He's too talented and too smart.
I am not going to pick on Vanek, either. He gets a TON of criticism. On some nights it's warranted, and most nights it's not. If you ever watch that man stand in front of the net, and take beating after beating from some nasty opposing defensemen, then you have to give him some respect. He tries. Hard. And he cares. Alot. And he plays hurt. This goes a long way in my book. Yes, he makes the big bucks. But don't blame him for that. Blame Mr. Regier and Mr. Quinn. Because, as we all know, when "those who shall not be named" left in the summer of '07, the Oilers had the Sabres over a barrel. Darcy and Larry's mis-management and mis-judgement led them to having to accept a ridiculous contract, or risk a lynching down in the plaza. Had they kept Briere, they may have walked from Van the man, and we'd be 4 first rounders richer. Who knows how that would have turned out, but it's out there to ponder.
I will never question Kaleta's heart. His intelligence, yes. But never his heart. He is playing for his hometown team, and would go through a wall to keep his job.
Montador deserves a contract extension now. 'Nuff said.
Roy has been our best skater. And it pains me to say that.
Stafford makes me look foolish. So far.
Leopold, Morrisonn and Niedermayer (although the latter has shown me NOTHING) are too new, and will get the benefit of the doubt.
So, with all that said, here are my opinions on who needs to be flushed from the system.
Let's start with the Tin Man, Tim Connolly. Million dollar skills, ten-cent heart. I love this description of him, and I've used it before, because it fits him like a smelly glove. Yes, I know, Timmy has 3 goals or whatever it is, and he's one of our so-called "top 20 centers in the game". LOL. This guy is Miro Satan with better hands, that's all. If he had the heart of, say, Ryan Kesler, he'd be a perennial all star. The Sabres will be better once he is gone next summer. Addition by subtraction. He is soft and he plays scared. Great regular season, point per game player. But only when the rest of the team is playing with any sort of intestinal fortitude, to hide his lack thereof. I cannot wait until this guy is shown the door.
Does Paul Gaustad really warrant his salary? REALLY? If it's faceoffs you want, they should have kept Mike Zigomanis (hey Darcy: oopsy daisy on dropping the ball on that one...I know, I know, it was the "fax machine" ). Overpaid and underproducing. What exactly DOES Paul Gaustad do when he's on the ice? He's too slow to ever hit anybody. He has hands of stone. After he wins his faceoff, he's either on his knees or he's skating to the bench because his "job here is done". That warrants that kind of money??? I think no....Wait. Oh, NOW I know. Every team needs a player with two O's in either his name or, in this case, his nickname! That's so the fans can yell "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE", and we can pretend we have this bad-ass, booty kicker that we all wish he was. YES, PEOPLE, that's sarcasm. He is another example of bad money management by Mr. Regier.
When will the Andrej Sekera experiment end? He has one or two exciting end to end rushes every game, only to pull a "Zhitnik" on us, and give the puck away. He is a liability in his own end and, with skills like he has, SHOULD BE making up for his defensive deficiencies with some "O". But, alas, he's not. Oh well, I guess that's deserving of a million bucks a year, too.
Can we ever have a friggin' backup goalie we can count on? Patty's a great guy, I know. Good in the dressing room. Yep. Good buddies with Ryan Miller. Right on. He is 9-22-5 as a Sabre. YIKES. That's a great locker combination, not a great record for a professional goaltender. I did not support his resigning, even after the team won their division last year. So don't think I'm picking on him just cuz the Sabres suck thus far. The guy looks like a flounder on the deck of the SS EasyGoal. Totally out of control. But he's a good guy, for sure. I want a DAMN Stanley Cup, not a team of "good guys".
I love the Sabres, and always will. I have supported this team since I could say the word "hockey", and always will. I currently am one of the unlucky ones being held hostage by the DISH Network/MSG fiasco. To leave DISH and sign up with someone else, I have to pay an early termination fee. I had to sell my beloved $1,000 guitar for PEANUTS in order to pay for this. And you know why? SO I COULD WATCH MY BUFFALO SABRES. THAT'S HOW MUCH I CARE ABOUT THIS TEAM. And that's why I bitch. That's why any of us bitches. We want a championship. In the worst way.
And the bottom line here is this. They have some good, and they have some GREAT pieces to build around. But they need more heart. They need more players willing to stop pucks with their faces. Willing to finish every check, every time. willing to fight to get to the front of the net for a rebound, for cryin out loud!
IMO, until changes are made with some of the overpaid, gutless dead weight, we will not have a team of championship caliber. Period.