Do you have a favourite NHL team, or are you a Buffalo Sabres fan?
Tuesday night brought another new low for the Sabres, who set the ball in motion on yet another egregious loss with this complete Houdini act on Nicklas Backstrom's 2-0 tally less than three minutes into the second period of this already hilarious contest.
I mean, why play defense when you can simply do nothing at all?
After barely gaining control of the bouncing puck in the neutral zone, burning two dudes without even realizing it, and hitting the Sabres blue line with basically no speed at all, T.J. Oshie completely had his way and did literally whatever he wanted while three Buffalo "defenders" just did, uhhh, whatever that was.
Backstrom, obviously open, deposited the rebound and set the tone for a three-goal period en route to a 6-0 Capitals' blowout win. This is straight-up beer league, intramural-type of stuff, epitomizing perfectly the 2021 Sabres and everything this wretched squad stands for.
Now with losses in 11 consecutive games and sitting dead-last in the league with a measly six wins through 27 contests, Buffalo is 2-14-2 over its last 18 contests, has been shutout the same amount of times (6) it has won this season, and is starting to pile up ridiculous, hypothetical stats like this one:
We are rapidly approaching "this would be hilarious if it wasn't so damn sad" territory.
It's sad how far this once proud franchise has fallen, and it's sad how brutally far it has to go to get out of this tailspin. It's sad that fans have to go through this, and sad this organization is run by an incompetent ownership group and whatever puppets they put in place. It's sad that Dominik Hasek once played for this team, and sad that a team wearing such exquisitely beautiful uniforms on a nightly basis also plays so horrendously in them.
And it's really sad that one of the "can't-miss," "generational," "gems," they took with the No. 1 draft pick they earned after one of their prior tank-job seasons has been reduced to this...
Certainly not going to rag on Rasmus Dahlin (who was also slayed at the start of the aforementioned Backstrom goal) for getting his life destroyed by one of the greatest goal-scorers ever, but it's pretty safe to say most weren't expecting the young defender to be on the wrong end these types of plays as often as he has through his young career.
I can't even remember dudes like, say, Martin Marincin, ever getting Slinky'd by Ovi quite like this, and the "bust" talking surrounding Dahlin — no matter how premature and absurd it may be — is telling of the inexcusable organizational failure to even somewhat develop a five-star prospect during arguably the most formidable years of a young player's career. Even if they do salvage him and he blossoms into the top-tier blueliner he should, a lot of irreversible development damage has already been done.
Combine that with the club's embarrassing inability to put any semblance of a supporting cast around Jack Eichel since he was selected with the second overall pick in 2015, and the question of "Why would anyone want to sign or be drafted here?" becomes an extremely valid one.
Making everything so much worse is the fact that it's so glaringly obvious how terrible the state of the franchise is, but nearly impossible to see a quick or painless way out. New GM after GM, fired coach after coach, high pick after high pick — none of it has seemed to matter over the past decade-plus of complete and utter pain.
On paper this roster is not *this* bad, but it's also not good, and problems run deep and plentiful. Token "guy who acts smart but is actually just sort of weird" head coach Ralph Krueger clearly isn't getting it done, their goaltending is well below average, the blue-line is thin, forwards are basically a disaster outside of Eichel, they have salary cap issues and a mediocre (at-best) farm system and prospect pipeline to appease the fears of their increasingly tortured fan base. Oh ya, and the Pegula's kind of stink at their jobs, too! Just a joyous time in this franchise's history.
There's obviously a seismic shift needed in either the structure, function, or both at the very top of this organization and the Pegula-led group who has overseen this mess consistently from the start are essentially the only common denominator here. Another tragic case of an unqualified captain flying their own plane into the ground because they lack the ability (or humility) to let someone who knows what they're doing take the controls.
And as long as this franchise keeps re-inventing rock-bottom on a nightly, weekly, and perennial basis, we'll never truly know when they get there.
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