In March The Hockey News conducted a player survey that did not reflect favorably on Buffalo. At the time the Sabres were in first place and we all just kind of brushed it aside. The poll stated that Buffalo was the place players least wanted to play. The question I have is... is this poll accurate?
To what city would you least like to be traded?
- Buffalo Sabres (40) 16%
- Edmonton Oilers (28) 11.2%
- New York Islanders (24) 9.6%
- Pittsburgh Penguins (18) 7.2%
- Florida Panthers (17) 6.8%
- Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues (13) 5.2%
- Washington Capitals (12) 4.8%
- New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers (9) 3.6%
- Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens (8) 3.2%
- Calgary Flames (7) 2.8%
- Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings (6) 2.4%
- Nashville Predators (5) 2%
- Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators (4) 1.6%
- Philadelphia Flyers and Phoenix Coyotes (3) 1.2%
- Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 0.8%
- Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning (1) 0.4%
Last season the Sabres lost Mike Grier, J.P. Dumont, and Jay McKee and this season they lost Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, and Dainius Zubrus ( to be fair nobody expected Zubrus to be here anyway). That is quite an extensive list of players who left and moved on over a two year period. The scary part is that the overwhelming sentiment is that they don't feel the organization is committed to winning and that they do not deal in good faith. I have praised management more than anyone else this off-season but I'm a little worried.
It seems that most players that leave take one last parting shot... with Grier he said "he wanted to go to an organization that is committed to winning. Jay McKee said that if they offered him a contract before the season he would have stayed. J.P. Dumont didn't have a decision because the team walked away from his arbitration decision.
This season was slightly different because Chris Drury was the only player the team tried to keep and he said he wanted to play for his hometown team. He said he was fulfilling a childhood dream (what a bunch of crap that is... there was much more to it). Daniel Briere was offered a contract but it was obvious the Sabres didn't want him to be here. I'm sure it was a matter of money with Briere in that they knew they couldn't keep both players and wanted Drury more.
The ironic part of the survey is that many ex-hockey players make their homes in Buffalo after leaving the game. Many ex-Sabres stay in town but some players who never played for the Sabres like Darryl Sittler and Marcel Dionne live in Buffalo as well. Some ex-Sabres like Larry Playfair, Rick Martin and Richie Dunn live in Buffalo as well. If it's a good enough for these guys why don't current players want to be here? The only logical explanation is it has to do with the orginazation and not the area.
So I ask you is the survey accurate? There has to be something to it right? If you never seen the survey and want to read the entire survey you can view it here. click link