The sound of pages getting turned and PR people spinning rhetoric are making its way to the HSBC Arena.
You see, when I watch the NHL playoffs, I can only relate outcomes of games/series to what might have been for the Sabres. Man, if only the Sabres had another scorer or if Ryan Miller played like he did in the Olympics. I try and look at the outcomes as a measuring stick for what the Sabres need to do in order to get to the top.
The Sabres, on the other hand, have always used the postseason results as a way to make themselves look better. When Marian Hossa didn’t win a cup with the Penguins, Darcy Regier pointed out that deadline deals are overrated and do nothing for your team. If it wasn’t deadline deals, the Sabres would tell the public that the money that the Flyers and Hawks have invested in their teams via free agency did nothing for them in the playoffs.
I’ve always been one to scoff at the Sabres for always acting arrogant in some ways of shooting down other team’s methods of building a contender. You know what I’m talking about. It’s either deadline deals don’t improve your team crap or free agency is for the devil. The Sabres have been going with that thought/excuse process for far too long. Seriously, where do the Sabres get off telling fans why other team methods are wrong?
Well, I opened this blog up by talking about the PR minds for the Sabres might be bugging out just about now. The reason for it has to do with the Final four in the playoffs. You see, the San Jose Sharks, the Chicago Black Hawks, the Montreal Canadians and the Philadelphia Flyers have used the business model that the Sabres have detested…greed…AKA, the Sabres being cheap and unimaginative with their roster.
The Sabres have always made it a habit to crap on the teams that don’t follow their methods. Like whenever free agency starts and someone signs “X player” for millions and we hear the garbage about how teams that go through free agency always get burned. All four of these teams in the final four were very aggressive last summer. They threw money at players via free agency or trades. Frankly, all four of these teams are the epitome of what the Sabres hate. Teams that spend money like drunken sailors at a bar during Spring Break.
During last summer, I can remember hearing Larry Quinn on WGR putting down the business practices of the Canadians and Flyers. His argument for calling out the Flyers was for what they had given up for Chris Pronger. You know, the same crap we always hear with the Sabres raising their eyebrows whenever someone deals for a star player and make it out that the team gaining the star is losing their entire minor league system.
Of course, trading isn’t the only thing that gets under the skin of the Sabres. God forbid you actually decide to go out and sign free agents that are worth more than 2 million dollars. Well, all of the above teams have either traded for star players or signed mega-money players. If memory serves me correctly, a lot of the Sabre shills called out Montreal last summer for doing a complete overhaul on their roster. You know, it’s not against the law to try and improve your team during the summer. Sorry, but Montreal was sick and tired of losing in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Of course, free agency has been the key for Philly and Chicago for years now. Everyone keeps on waiting for the Apocalypse when both these teams are going to run out of cap room and will be cutting guys left and right and filling their squads with the Adam Mairs of the world. As for the Sharks, they didn’t sit on their hands while having the hockey world call them out for being choke artists. They were aggressive and traded for Dany Heatley and are now a series away from getting to the team’s first ever Cup Final.
Here’s the bottom line: The excuse of “free agency and giving excessive amounts of dough to players leads to nothing” has run its course with the Sabres. A team that has spent a ton of money on free agents and trades is going to win the Stanley Cup this year. If the money doesn’t make you think twice where the Sabres are at, mix in the Stanley Cup match-ups for the last two years with the final four from this year and you’ll see teams that are loaded with finishers. Like I’ve been saying all along, the era of New Jersey Devils clutching and grabbing is over. Just look at the final four goaltenders remaining. Even last year’s four remaining teams didn’t have all-world goaltenders. When Cam Ward has been the best goalie of the Finals for the last four years, that should tell you something.
In the end, what should tell you something is that the Sabres need finishers. Whether it’s trading for one or finally paying a number one center more than five million dollars, the Sabres need to keep up with the times. The teams that you are going to be watching now have made bold moves to get their clubs this deep into the playoffs. The ball is in Regier and Quinn’s court. Then again, it’s been in their court for years now.