Published by hockeybuzz.com, 1-31-2017
Leave it to Buffalo fans.
This morning on WGR550, James from Niagara Falls called in and directed his wrath Sabres-wrath towards owner Terry Pegula and asked why GM Tim Murray wasn't on the hot-seat.
In true whiner-line fashion James jumped right in a snarky knickname for Pegula calling him "Teflon Terry" and proceeded to state that since he took over (Feburary 18, 2011,) the Sabres "haven't even come close to making the playoffs," which, isn't true.
Perhaps the toddler heard wailing in the background (or whatever that noise was) threw him off, but if Mr. James would have done a little research and got his facts straight he'd have found out that the Sabres actually did make the playoffs with Pegula as owner in 2011. They lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games that season and the following year they proceeded to make a late-season run that fell three points short of a playoff birth. I'd consider that coming close.
After his discredited whine directed towards Pegula, he turned his focus towards Murray and asked bluntly, "Why is Tim Murray not on the hot seat." On queue, that wailing background noise, this time sounding like a caged-up version of Mothra, filled the air before the hosts interjected and James came back stating, "he should have been on the hot seat.
"If you look at some of the," he continued, as he stumbled looking to find the right words, "everybody's hammering on the coach (Bylsma) and yet how do you make...this roster is garbage, it's chicken crap!"
Such is the extreme fan in Buffalo.
It's been a bi-polar season for the Sabres with much of the down aspect attributable to injuries. Even tonight the Sabres will be without two top-six d-men in Josh Gorges and Jake McCabe while Bylsma said that another one, Dmitry Kulikov, will play in games but probably will not participate in game-day skates the rest of the season. Kulikov has been suffering from a back/tailbone injury incurred in the preseason and hasn't been able to fully recover from that.
There's really no sense in arguing with, or trying to convince, someone like Mr. James that this is a much better team since a player like Jack Eichel returned to the lineup and that as others like Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Ryan O'Reilly and even Kulikov gets healthier, the team gets stronger.
If there's any proof in the pudding, it begins tonight as the Sabres start their post All-Star stretch run with a visit to the Bell Center in Montreal. The Sabres will have 69 days to prove to people like Mr. James and others that they're not a "chicken crap" roster. Within those two-plus months they'll be playing 34 games and will have a league-mandated "bye week" in February which is sandwiched between three games in four nights on either side and they're scheduled for two more of those in the shortest month of the year.
After that it's the NHL Trade Deadline on March 1.
The Sabres are tied with the Detroit Red Wings at the bottom of the Atlantic Division with 49 points and there are seven points and a whole bunch of teams between them and a playoff spot. Buffalo won three of their last four and have been averaging 3.33 goals/game in January. If they want to make any kind of run they'll need to extend their solid month of January and be even better in a very busy month of February.
It begins tonight in Montreal with this "chicken crap" lineup:
To hear James of NF, click here.