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For Whom the Bell Tolls, Time Marches On..

February 9, 2024, 12:10 AM ET [1729 Comments]
Brad Lohr
Buffalo Sabres Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
On they fight, for their right, yes, but who’s to say?

Yup, although I have not paid attention to the comments, I am sure I am getting a lot of criticism for not posting for a period of time. Point is, I don’t care, and I am ready to go again. When the Sabres break came, coinciding with the all-star weekend, I decided to take a hiatus as well. It has been a long atrocious year full of disappointment and regression. It is like our loyal fan base has been forced to play cliff hanger on the price is right. The crescendo of last years climb to almost success, has somehow brought us to falling off the edge.

Top line player production was bet on hard, and we have been dealt an obscure hand. Is it bad luck? Is it the refusal to transition like Vancouver and other teams have? I am not sure. What I do know is that disappointment is once again plaguing our mind. It is not the fault of the fans. We are a top NHL television market, and the building would be full with a glimpse of hope. The crowd would be cheering if there was progress and a sniff of the playoffs. Management has indeed failed us, or their plan understands not including their supporters, and ignoring that it has been too long to even have an opportunity to compete for the cup. Generations of kids have been sacrificed, wasteful money has been spent, we are not ignorant. Trying to pass on a faithful message to a child who has never seen any excitement in the arena is a tough sell. But we keep coming back, we are a northern community, our commitment to still support the sport by being one of the bigger youth hockey markets in the nation is still prevalent. We always get excited by surprising victories, and the possibility of a glorifying winning streak that captures national news. Instead, what we get is Yukon Cornelius licking his pick axe, nothing. I understand patience and continuity. I know that the people who are running the organization have gambled on a belief of progression. Waiting this long and doing nothing is unacceptable when the signs are beating you on the head.

I had to pause to write because I will never be a fan of any other team and my memories are full of pride and family tradition. I had to see how they responded against Dallas. One of the best teams in the league. I was foolish in grasping at the notion that the underdogs might go on an epic run. Unfortunately, what I witnessed was a redundant synapsis of what our season has been comprised of. Outplaying an opponent for the majority of the game, and the shots overwhelmingly in our favor, but the lack of will to get the puck in the net. What ever it is, we don’t have the leadership to win any close games, or get loser points. We are a bad team with decent talent, we make stupid mistakes when it counts. Did you see our “Big Johnson” locker room veteran make a weak attempt at a shot block, and subsequently screening our tender instead of just getting a stick on the biscuit? How about the second tally from the far boards with no net front defensive physicality? These are soul crushers against a squad who plays sixty minutes. We don’t have the man power who knows how to respond, because they have never been able to do it in the past. Dallas has drafted well, and also have Pavelski, Duchene, Benn, and Seguin. These are complimentary bodies who are hard to play against. Lineup continuity, a lights out goal keeper, and no passengers. We are not afraid to spend money, but we can’t figure out the simple equation of winning more games than you lose. The post season is easily made by mediocre clubs. How has this curse lasted this long? We deserve better. At some point changes have to be made and feelings have to be hurt. Expansion teams have been better constructed. Being worse would be a hard thing to do. How do you expect to be in the top portion of the standings by sitting on your hands and not being an enticing destination for guys with grit. Thirty-two games left and you probably have to win twenty-five. This all too familiar and would be easy to avoid with some guts. We are disgusting. It is as simple as that. We are expected to walk in the building with a smile, and leave with a frown. How long are we supposed to take this? Despite all of this failure we have not seen any prospect get a chance besides Ryan Johnson and Benson. Kulich sits and waits to take a shot on net. The season is lost and we put Okposo on the first line. What are we hanging on to here? Feel good moments for failure?

We are ready, for whom the bell tolls, time marches on. Start spinning the wheel again and hope it comes up on eleven. You have pieces of hope, the complimentary parts can be exchanged. How can you expect us to endure so much pain and keep coming back. I mentioned the importance of the first three months and you decided to sleep walk through them. How can it be so obvious from us on the outside? Salty is too nice of a verb for how your fanbase feels. If this was the gong show, the mallet would be worn out. Play like these guys and you will be champions.

Game 51
Buffalo Sabres, 22-24-4, vs. St. Louis Blues, 26-21-2
Saturday, February 10th at 1:00 pm
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY

When I took on this job, I thought that I would be in a great place after the positive finish of last year. Although I still love my franchise and city, this has been deflating to say the least. This is an opportunity that I have been blessed with, and I hope for the most part I give you some kind of entertainment. Hockey is a game of inches and missed chances, there is a fine line between the top and the bottom. Our organization is deplorable and we just want some hope. They can’t even give us that.

Quick few notes from driving with my dogs head out the open window in a Buffalo February –

Enough with the all-star game festivities and nonsense. It is boring, it does not do the sport justice, and I am embarrassed that it is shoved down our throat. Bring back the Campbell vs. Wales game and give it a monetary incentive. Give me the classic jerseys, let me see the best players play a real game. Regardless if it gets testy or they just go through the motions, it would be more entertaining than seeing Bieber with a bad coat.

I feel horrible for Quinn and his misfortune. He is an asset and we are better when he is on the ice. Hopefully he can bounce back. Samuelsson? Not really sure how I feel about that. I do not think that it will make a difference. I understand he is good filler, and we don’t have a decent third pair, but I think he has been proven to be irrelevant. Clague or Stillman might be a better option before we address the void. Bryson is not the answer.

Lastly, now we can’t even know what kind of season ending surgeries players have? A lower body, and upper body operation? What the heck is going on? An opponent from another team is going to smack Quinn in the ankle while he is grilling a steak in the back yard because it was revealed what was ailing him?

Beat St. Louis and stop disappointing the kids on an afternoon game. Put it together and be willing to get punched in the mouth.


Brad Lohr
Aka: Lumberhacks
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