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What went wrong? June 12, 2010

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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I was going to wait until sometime in the summer to post this, but I figured – what the hell – might as well throw it up. Don’t get alarmed – it’s another serious post.

Today’s topic is: what went wrong?

That’s such an open question, I know… but I’m specifically referring to the past three seasons of Sabres hockey in relation to the two years prior. If you look at the rosters for the ’05-’06 and ’06-’07 Sabres compared to the past three years, here are the subtractions:

Dumont
Grier
Kalinin
McKee
Pyatt
Fitzpatrick
Biron
Briere
Drury

IMO there haven’t been enough notable additions to make them part of the discussion, so we’ll ignore them for now (see Moore, Dominic and Torres, Raffi, listed under Busts, Total).

I’m not going to argue that the team hasn’t missed Briere and Drury – they have. And I know they came close to making the playoffs in both ’07-’08 and ’08-’09, but let’s face it – this team has been a shadow of itself since ’06-’07, when they ran the season and won the President’s Trophy.

This past year, they did well in the regular season, but imploded in the playoffs, with much the same roster that took them to the Eastern Conference Finals twice only a few seasons before that.

So what’s gone wrong? What’s the difference?

Did they miss other players more than they admitted? Was Mike Grier really that big a loss? JP Dumont? Martin Biron? Jay McKee? Or was it a combination of losing those veterans, along with Briere and Drury, and thinking the guys who stepped up during the ’05-’06 and ’06-’07 could it without them?

I’ve heard time and time again that what this team (and the teams in the two playoffs-less seasons before that) was lacking was mental toughness. Resilience. Focus. Call it whatever you want. But is that really the problem?

I bet you thought I was going to tell you what I think the problem is, didn’t you? Nope. I want to hear what you think.

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Comments»

1. Phil - June 14, 2010

A ridiculous part of the magic (and it pains me to say this, because it makes the Sabres less magical during those two seasons) was that the officials were calling the penalties by the book and not how they interpreted them. That’s what allowed the Sabres’ disgusting PP to go to work in 05/06 (we miss you, Scott Arniel! Good luck in Columbus!), what allowed the Sabres to go on and score on endless 2-on-1’s, and why Jason Pominville scored that shortie against the Sens (Alfie admitted he backed off because he was afraid of taking an equalizing penalty).


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