The Buffalo Sabres may be the worst team in the NHL, but that does not mean that there is not a lot to know. Today we will share answers from a Q and A with FanSided NHL Editorial Director, and founding Editor of Sabre Noise Tim Redinger.
– With all the turnover in the front office has the faith of the Sabres fan base been shaken?
I think most Buffalo Sabres fans are – I almost want to say numb to what is going on with the franchise, but it is more of a don’t care anymore. They are tired of losing; they are tired of the front office games. More and more I hear of people who haven’t watched a game all year, or spent money on the team – and wont until they right the ship at First Niagara Center.
Call them fair weather fans – but it’s the only way some of them have any recourse for standing up against the NHL. I see their point; don’t give them any of their money.
– The trade deadline was an active time for the Sabre, and they got more picks and prospects in to their system. Who or what was the biggest addition?
I think the biggest addition wasn’t necessarily one player or one pick in particular. With the report coming out that the league is trying to put the top three to five picks in the lottery it kind of changes the landscape of the rebuild. The biggest addition was subtraction. Tim Murray had to get rid of the Darcy Regier core – and he has for the most part done as much as he could to get rid of that style of team. He got something for all his expiring contracts, and got a couple of guys to fill in the roster that have at least a year on their contract – players he can flip next year before those contracts expire.
– There is a real chance that the Sabres could have a top 3 draft pick this season and next. Are the Sabres hoping for this, or do you believe they want to show vast improvement next season?
The Sabres are fully prepared to be a terrible team again next year. It is painful as not only a writer, but a fan – because, well I can make a couple of analogies here to explain it. It like having a zit on your back that is just out of your reach – that is painful, and you know will eventually go away, but tomorrow will still be there and it will still hurt like hell. The other analogy is the Buffalo Sabres are like that relative your parents forced you to go visit even though you hated it. You know another visit is coming, you know you’re going to have to deal with it, but it will eventually end.
– Is having Ted Nolan behind the bench a PR move or do you believe he is the guy the Sabres need to start the rebuild? Could it be a little of both?
If you look at Ted Nolan’s overall record – he coached teams that were barely over .500 if they even got to that point. Ted Nolan is a motivator. He knows how to get the most out of guys, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. The Buffalo Sabres needed a coach like that. The Sabres don’t necessarily want to be good – but they don’t want a statue behind the bench either. I don’t see Nolan being around as the rebuild finishes, but it would be nice to see what he can do with a team that has actual talent as opposed to a bunch of underdogs.
-What is one thing you wish other NHL fans understood about the Sabres and their fans?
I think Buffalo fans are understood throughout the league. We are a hardcore passionate fan base that has a very solid hockey acumen.
– There has been some talk that Tim Murray is trying to build a Western Conference style team. Is that what’s best for the Sabres? Also, do they have the players in the system to make that change? If not how do they get there?
The Sabres have to get bigger and stronger. I am not talking about adding another John Scott either. You look at how dominant West Coast teams are. If Tim Murray wants to bring that brand of hockey into Buffalo – I wouldn’t be opposed to it, and if it means were a dominant club that could push the better teams in the East around – wouldn’t every GM want to be that team? Is it necessary to win a Cup – not really, 7 of 13 cups won since 2000 were West Coast, and 6 were East Coast. Odds are the 2005 Cup that was never awarded would have gone to an East Coast team.
Final thought: I’ve lived in Buffalo all my life, and have watched the Sabres and their fans during high times, and low times. It seems to be that the Sabres as an organization are still trying to get their feet wet. Ever NHL team has a stretch of bad years, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In another three-five years the Sabres may once again be a team fans can be proud of.