Buffalo Sabres: Time To Go Back to the Drawing Board


It may be easy for Buffalo Sabres fans to look at goaltender Ryan Miller and put much of the blame for the team’s recent debacle on him, but it’s also fair to say the stand-pat approach head coach Lindy Ruff has taken has more to do with his team’s issues.

But with a record of three wins against seven losses in their last 10 games, it’s finally time for Ruff to take back his team.

After jumping out to a commanding lead in the division, Buffalo now finds themselves stuck in a downward spiral that seems to have no end in sight. The Ottawa Senators have put together a 10-win streak that has them chomping at the Sabres’ heels to take the lead in the division.

Whether it be poor goal-tending performances, lack of scoring from the forwards, or defensive break downs in their own end, Ruff seems to have lost a handle on how to repair this once-dominant franchise.

Playing a goaltender 12 games in a row in the middle of a 3-7 record is not the answer. Continuing to allow defense men to log major minutes of ice time while ignoring the glaring mistakes they are making shift in and shift out is not going to work either.

My answer to helping solve these problems is rather simple actually. Make every player accountable for their actions on the ice, and stop coddling the players. Far too many times, we have heard Ruff stand at the podium during his post-game press conference and point out one or two players who he always singles out.

The fact is in the last 10 games, he could easily call out seven or 10 players consistently. This has been Ruff’s M.O. for years now though, and I doubt it will change.

On to the coddling issue. He needs to stop making some practices/morning skates optional. Yes, Lindy, we all get that some players are sore and they have nagging injuries, but just like in any other field of work, if you give some people and inch, they take a mile.

How about making the players skate for a few hours on Sundays? I know this is a notorious day off in Ruff’s mind. But letting the players sit home, or go out carousing on a Saturday evening is probably not the answer either.

Here is a novel concept. Make the players earn days off. Let them earn optional skates/practices. Much like the rest of the world, we earn our days off at our jobs by actually showing up and working. I know this is a professional sport, and things are a little different, but it is obviously not working the way he has it set now.

If this recent trend continues for Ruff and the Sabres, they will be dropping like a rock through the Eastern standings very soon. 

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