This was originally a reply to Off-Season Moves??? by mattyd22, but I felt like it was too long of a response and I started to go on a slight tangent. So some of this is a response to his post and some of it is just my own opinion and feelings. This is just one man's opinion, but this is how I see things from the other side of the country. I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
I feel like you (mattyd22) are making your suggestions with your heart and not your head. You said that you have no issue with getting rid of both Miller and Enroth. Think about that for a second. You really think we can get rid of both our starting and backup goalies and have a legitimate shot next year? We are going to start McIntyre at goalie next season, really? Ya we are all bummed they didn't make the playoffs. But whatever. It is probably a good thing. Hindsight is 20/20, but now this team can spend some time doing a little soul searching. I do agree with you about Roy having to go. He doesn't fit anymore, but other than that I really like this team. We will most likely lose Boyes and Hecht in the offseason, but that's not the worst of things. Reiger should continue to do what he feels is right to help this team. Look at what he did at the trade deadline. Everyone wanted him to sell, but he did what he thought was right for the Buffalo Sabres. We traded for a potential #1 or #2 center in Hodgson for a "physical" winger in Kassian. We traded Gaustad for a 1st round pick. We traded a more competent defenseman in Sulzer, who developed great chemistry with Ehrhoff, before he got hurt, for an offensive defenseman, which we have a ton, in Gragnani. We got the better end of everything. Pure genius in my opinion.
Black came out this morning and said that they are keeping Ruff and Reiger, so everyone that wanted to see one or both of them fired can drop that point. I agree with that decision. You have to give this team some time to click. Ya we sucked this year, but you can't fire everyone and trade everyone. It doesn't work that way. You can counter me with the argument that they have had their chances and their opportunities for way too many years. My only response is they have had one year under Pegula and Black. Some of the players may be the same from past years, but the ownership is entirely different. This is why fans don't run the show; they are too emotionally connected. Brains trump heart when running a sports team. It has too, or you will get caught with your tail between your legs making a decision that sets back a franchise for years.
This team showed that they have what it takes down the stretch. They missed the playoffs because they dug themselves into too big of a hole to climb out of. Injuries were a key part of that, but that is no one's fault; it's just dumb luck. They did, however, finish the season as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. There is something to be had for playing amazing hockey in the last two+ months of the season when points and playoffs spots are on the line. We all need to relax and give them time. The people making the decisions know what they are doing and you are going to have to trust them. Guys like Leino, Ehrhoff, Hodgson, Sulzer, and Rehger have been with the team for a year, and you can't even quite say that because of all the injuries. If you were starting a new job with a new company, would you expect to succeed and become the star immediately? There is a learning curve, even if the job is the same. I know you want to and you'll try your hardest, but that's most likely not going to happen. On the rare occasion it might. But you are now placed in a new environment, a new way of doing things, new co-workers, a new boss, a new city. You have to look at the bigger picture, not just hockey. These athletes, who we expect to go out every day and entertain us, are human beings and they all have a different mental makeup. They need to be feeling their best mentally in order for them to be their best on the ice. I'm a high school lacrosse coach, and I see this all the time in my own players.
I'm tired of hearing the fan base whine and complain, and wanting a fire sale to get rid of everybody immediately; it happens with both the Bills and Sabres. Who is to say that guys like Parise, Nash, Iginla, and _______ aren't going to need some time to gel and learn a new system? Will you want them gone after one year too? It's hard being a Buffalo fan. We all know that. I don't know how all of you that live in Buffalo do it. I can't stand listening or reading the Buffalo media bashing every little thing and blowing things completely out of proportion. We all suffer together, but do you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Our time will come. With injuries and new players trying to figure things out, this year wasn't our year. Maybe next year or the year after that will be who knows? But I have all the faith in the world that those players and the people making the decisions want it just as bad as all of us. And when it does happen, how much sweeter is it going to feel?
After reading this, you can obviously tell I lean towards the optimistic side of things, but I don't like the other side of things. Sports are meant to be fun and enjoyable, even when your team isn't performing well. You got to look at the bright side of things. If you are always negative and angry you aren't having fun. Have faith Buffalo fans, have a little faith.