Found December 18, 2011 on
Queen City Sports:
Fourteen years with one organization is something that is almost unheard of. For Lindy Ruff, that is exactly how long he has been with the Buffalo Sabres, but is it now time for a change.
The Buffalo Sabres entered this season expected to compete for the Northeast Division and even the Eastern Conference title, but the first three months of the season have not gone as planned. The Sabres have been riddled with injuries and their goaltending has not been spot on in a while. However, Buffalo is not the only team in this situation yet they seem to bethe only team having the severe struggles that they are.
Just look at the game Saturday night in Pittsburgh. The Penguins were without six “regulars” including the best player in the game, Sidney Crosby. The difference between the Penguins and the Sabres however is that the Pittsburgh players stepped up when needed and led their team to an 8-3 blowout win over Buffalo. Sure people can and will say that Buffalo has more injuries than Pittsburgh, but look at who is missing for each team. The Sabres who are out of the lineup are mostly depth players, with the exception of a couple, whereas the Penguins are missing a few of their top players. In addition to not having Crosby, Pittsburgh is without Jordan Staal, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek, and Kris Letang just to name a few. The Penguins are without their top three defensemen and two of their top three forwards, yet they are still winning games. It is a sign of the immense amount of talent, but also a sign of the coaching job that Dan Bylsma is doing in the ‘Burgh.
That is when it is time to look at the man behind the bench here in Buffalo. You have to start asking yourself, “Is Ruff really starting to lose his players?”
Thomas Vanek has been Buffalo's best player all season
Go back to the Sabres 5-4 loss to the Flyers a week and a half ago. During the Versus broadcast, Pierre McGuire said something that caught my interest. He said something along the lines of Ruff was yelling at Thomas Vanek for coasting and from the look on Vanek’s face during the incident, it looked as if Vanek was just blowing Ruff off. You can make the excuse that the team was demoralized after blowing a 3-0 lead, but to me it is a sign of a bigger problem. When a team’s top player starts to seemingly ignore what the head coach is telling him, it is never a good sign. If a player of Vanek’s caliber is drowning out Ruff, who’s to say that no one else is doing it.
There has been far too many moments this season in which the team just looks disinterested on the ice, and at times it shows in the post game comments from both players and the coach. Go back to the team’s overtime loss against Ottawa last Wednesday: Lindy Ruff was clearly flustered and was seemingly at a loss for words to describe his feelings about his team’s performance, but he was able to come up with enough words to call out one of his players. Veteran winger Drew Stafford left his man wide open in front of the net which led to the game-winning goal for the Senators. Ruff may have called out Stafford, but Stafford was not quick to fully own up to his bonehead play.
“It was just a pass in front – the D-man went to the net,” Stafford said after the game. When asked if he was the one who had to come down on the Senators defensemen, he was not all too quick to accept the blame, “We need to make sure we collapse….I’m not thinking about that play.”
For a player who was clearly the reason Jared Cowen was open in front of the net for the winning goal, he sure did not show acceptance for his mistake. That is a sign that player and coach are not on the same page.
The players are all saying the right things: “we’re working hard”, “we’ve got to get better”, “we’ll work this out”, but is what they are spewing actually believable or is it typical athlete shtick? Captain Jason Pominville said it best after the team’s loss to the Senators by saying that if they do not get on the same page soon, they are going to keep losing games.
The Sabres have six more games left in the 2011 calendar year, and with the holiday roster freeze starting tomorrow management has to take a serious look at the coaching staff and the player roster and find out what needs to be done to get this team winning. If things do not change soon, a big change could be coming.
BEST OF MAXIM
Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek missed practice on Monday due to an upper body injury.
While Vanek is expected to play against the Northeast Division rival Ottawa Senators, the Sabres elected to call up a pair of players from Rochester of the American Hockey League.
Vanek, 27, has a team-leading 17 goals to go along with 17 assists and 30 penalty minutes this season.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News, The players keep saying they need to work harder, then forget to do it. The former all-world goaltender is near the bottom of the NHL in every category. The coach continues to stare at his long injured list.
There is a mix of frustration, anger, disappointment and resignation in Sabreland. It all came out this weekend after an 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh...
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres regained some of their lost scoring touch thanks to their offensive leader.
Thomas Vanek had two goals and two assists, and Tyler Ennis added a goal and assist to help lift the Sabres to a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Vanek’s fourth 4-point game of his career — and first since April 10, 2010...
Last night in a game between the Leafs and Sabres, with about three minutes left in the second period, Leafs defencemen Dion Phaneuf hit Zack Kassian from behind into the boards. Phaneuf receieved a five-minute major for the hit and a game misconduct. Kassian missed the rest of the second period, but eventually made his way back into the game.Phaneuf is one of the most prolific...
Buffalo Sabres' leading goal-scorer Thomas Vanek missed practice due to an upper-body injury, leading the team to call up two players from the minors on Monday.
Tonight's recap will not be written in rhyming couplets, because I think I may have broke my rhyme muscle with that last one.
Also, I'm slightly mad, because my dear TKhusband will be at this game with one of our friends, and I am clearly not joining them at the CEC tonight.
He's like an overexcited puppy. I can't stay mad at him.
The Buffalo Sabres are struggling in net. For the rest of Buffalo's battered lineup, it comes at a bad time.
The Sabres hope to have leading goal-scorer Thomas Vanek available when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night after he missed practice to begin the week.
Vanek, who has 17 goals, missed practice Monday due to an upper-body injury. Coach Lindy Ruff said Vanek...
“We saw some great goaltending tonight, didn’t we? If they think they played well, we’ve got more problems.”
-Terry Pegula, Buffalo Sabres owner after the Sabres lost 8-3 to Pittsburgh. More on the game from John Vogl of the Buffalo News.
Buffalo Sabres (16-12-3) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (17-11-4)
TV: ROOT, MSG-B
CONSOL Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA
The Penguins are 5-5 in their last ten. They've lost four of their last five. The Sabres are 4-4-2 in their last ten. They've lost three of their last five, but two losses and one win were in overtime. A look at the injured players...
The Sabres were able to end a six-game slide to the Penguins in an October meeting that was minus Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby due to post-concussion syndrome.
Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (17-11-4) vs. Buffalo Sabres (16-12-3) Where: Consol Energy Center When: 7:00 PM EST Channel: ROOT Sports After an awful performance last night the Pens take on the Sabres for the second time this year. You can view that post here. Last time out the Sabres beat the Pens 3-2. James Neal and [...]