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blog-0518971001361307991.jpgAccountability....I've tossed this word around a lot the past three years in reference to the Buffalo Sabres franchise. In my mind I know who I consider accountable to the Sabres play over the past three seasons, but I don't know who Terry Pegula holds accountable. Last year the Sabres missed the playoffs and Darcy Regier along with Lindy Ruff were handed contract extensions. The only real change made from last years team was trading of Derek Roy. So am I to assume it was Derek Roy's fault the Sabres missed expectations last year outside of a crazy month and a half run. Was it Milan Lucic's fault and bringing in John Scott would fix all the problems? I was embarrassed for the franchise when Regier decided it was a good idea to tell the media that Sabres players were scared and thats why they had to get tougher.

When Pegula bought the Sabres he came in beating the drum of change and a new direction. Dropping the famous line "The Sabres sole existence is to win the Stanley Cup". Sure like most Sabres fans I ate up and ran with it. Two years later I ask someone to show me where things have changed. Where is the new Pegula run franchise going over and beyond to bring a cup to Buffalo? I give him credit for re doing the Locker Room, paint job to the First Niagara Center, Alumni Plaza, and now developing the Webster block in front of the FN Center with a hotel, shopping center, and ice rinks. I am more than thankful for that. However the product on the ice has got worse in the two years Pegula has run the show. What has been the constant this entire time and over the last 15 years? Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier.

I think Darcy has done a decent job in putting this team together however I think Ruff is running it into the ground. If Darcy can't take off the blinders and see that then he needs to go as well. Ruff is not a bad coach, but 15 years of no championships is enough. Player like Vanek, Pominville, Stafford, Miller, and Myers have heard the same voice their entire careers. I reflect back on a moment in Boston this year when the Sabres came away with a 7-4 victory, Ruff ripped the NHL leading scorer and player who single handedly led the Sabres to victory that night Thomas Vanek. On a commercial break Ruff layed into Vanek for a neutral zone turnover on his previous shift. At the end of the game Ruff came over to tap Vanek on the back and give him a "atta boy" smack and Vanek rolled his eyes and muttered a expletive to the player sitting next to him. That alone shows Ruff's style is wearing thin with this roster.

Ruff continues to mishandle the youth on the Sabres roster as well. He ruined Luke Adam who now is no more than a AHL winger, Tyler Myers has never been the same since Ruff told him to focus on the defensive end after his Calder Trophy Year, and now he is mishandling Mikhail Grigorenko. Grigorenko is scheduled to be scratched for this 3rd game in the last 4. Ruff doesn't feel he is getting a lot of production from the 18 year old which is hard when he plays with Scott, McCormick, Kaleta, Hecht, and Ott. His best game this year in DC he played with Foligno and Stafford. Watching Grigorenko he looks like he is afraid to make a mistake and someone got in his ear and preached defense first. He leaves the offensive zone early and looks hesitant at times to get caught up ice. A much different style than I watched him play in Quebec. Lindy tells the media that he using the Seguin and Stamkos method with Grigorenko giving him little ice time and letting him come along slow. That style also got Barry Melrose fired. Also that is not the way it is done any more in the NHL. Look around the league Brodin, Granlund, Galchenyuk, Gallahager, Brunner, Tarasenko, Conacher, Yakupov, and Schultz are examples of rookies getting a lot of ice time and thriving. The Sabres franchise always seems one step behind.

Tonight the Sabres look to rebound against the struggling Jets at home. Buffalo comes in with a 3-4-1 home record. A struggling Stafford is being put with McCormick and Scott to get his game going and Leopold is going to be a healthy scratch for and replaced by Tj Brennan. Ruff is going with his shut down line again that held Crosby to three points Sunday in Hecht-Gerbe-Ott and Grigorenko will sit.

I hope you sensed the sarcasm in the above paragraph. When will someone be held accountable?

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Great Blog it definitely was time to fire Lindy. The Sabres have a lot of talent on their roster which has been misused. Problem now for the rest of the Eastern conference is they now likely will be scarey good. ;-)

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