By Conor Thompson
Heading into the shortened NHL season, there were little expectations for our Sabres this year. The Sabres made a big splash in free agency by shocking the hockey world and signing former MVP Taylor Hall. But even with the signing, the East division is the toughest division and very few expected the Sabres to clinch a postseason spot. But no one expected this; the Sabres are currently chasing the NHL record for most consecutive losses, originally held by Pittsburgh.
So how did this happen? First would be ownership. With the carousel of coaches and GMs the Sabres have had since the Pegula’s took over in 2011, you can’t keep blaming the coaches and GMs. People close to the Sabres say that the Pegula’s have way too much say about team decisions than owners should have. It also doesn’t help that before the season the Pegula’s fired 22 of their scouts. Plus, you add the 50th season where management forgot jersey deadlines, misspelled players names and so on, the main problem for this franchise is management and it starts at the top.
The next reason the Sabres got here was because of head coach Ralph Kruger. It’s reported how much the Sabres loved playing for Ralph because he was more of a mentor than a coach. Kruger seems like a nice guy who really does care about his players, but if I’m hiring someone to coach an NHL team, I want them to coach instead of trying to be everyone’s friend. For a coach all the players supposedly loved, it’s been over 2 months since I’ve seen them play as if they wanted to save their coach’s job.
The bottom line is that this franchise is a mess and has been for decade without even sniffing a playoff berth in that span. For the kids out there, it didn’t use to be like this. Granted, in 50 years the Sabres have yet to win a Stanley Cup, but there were many good times and players. Other than Jack Eichel, what player's jersey in the last 5 seasons do people wish to purchase? If you have kids, who’s your kid’s hero on this team the past 5 seasons. Thankfully I grew up with guys such as Dominik Hasek, Miroslav Satan, Stu Barnes, Danny Briere, Chris Drury and Ryan Miller to name a few, all in a span of ten years. But who are the legends and fan favorites these past ten years? It’s sad, but mostly embarrassing how far this franchise has fallen, and the most frustrating thing is the fans are desperate for change when management hasn’t shown it.