So. No one got fired. Interesting. I thought I was pretty firmly on the side of keeping Lindy Ruff AND Darcy Regier but I found myself a little disappointed when I first read the news that they were both staying on. This team needs some changes somewhere for sure. I'm hoping that this means there are going to be some serious changes to the roster. There has to be, right? Lindy clearly isn't getting through to everyone and I don't why anyone would expect that to change just because it's a new season. I've debated this with a few people but I think almost every contract is tradeable if the Sabres are willing to really put guys out there on the block. Clear the dead weight. And get rid of Derek Roy while you're at it. I've become completely convinced that Lindy and Derek cannot function together and the Sabres chose to stick with Lindy so again, something has to change with the roster and I don't think changing out the side pieces is going to cut it.
Some random thoughts:
-- Judging by my email and a couple of comments, the change in banner has not gone unnoticed. I do forever love Jay McKee - more on him in a second - but yes, I am kind of thinking ahead to what I'm going to do if and when Hank gets traded. And sadly I think "when" is the more likely option. I wanted to play around with different shaped photos and using multiples photos in one banner and since I'm not ready to commit to another Sabre yet - for crying out loud, Hank is still here! - a playoff oriented banner seemed the way to go. When the Blues are done - and it's not looking like that'll be too much longer - Hank will be back and there he'll remain until he's wearing another jersey.
-- There are some former Sabres who I'd have very mixed feelings about as Stanley Cup champions, some I'd be okay with and some I'd really hate to see win. But Jay McKee is the one I'd absolutely love, love, love to see hoist the Cup. I can guarantee you I'd be a big, blubbering mess. But I watched the first Blues game (I admit, I slept through last night's game two) and Jay looked really old and really slow. It was a little bit heart-breaking. Watching that game made me realize how long I've been watching hockey now, at least in a casual sense. I clearly remember the first time I saw Jay. He was 19. It made an impression because I was also 19. And now he's pretty much done. I know that's not so much his age (31) so much as it is his style of play and his injury history but it makes a girl feel old, you know?
-- I admit there was part of me that felt like if the Sabres just squeaked into the playoffs something miraculous could happen. I think that's the best thing about the NHL playoffs. Anything can happen. But after watching the first couple groups of games I'm absolutely sure that the Sabres would've been dead meat. Maybe Ryan Miller could have stolen a close game or two but if not, we would've been swept. Even the teams that limped into the playoffs have taken things up a notch and everyone is playing in a gear that I, quite frankly, don't think this year's Sabres are capable of playing in. We didn't see it from them all season, I don't know why it would start now. I don't know where you even begin in addressing that in the off-season.
-- If you haven't read John Vogl's article about Chris Butler, please do so immediately. Like a few other bloggers out there, I slowly fell a little in love with Chris this season. Not only did he play really well which was a total surprise to me, he comes across in interviews as very thoughtful and smart. I felt for the poor guy when he couldn't really celebrate his first goal due to the circumstances but I love him for not celebrating his second goal which came in the last game of the season even though it was a game the Sabres were winning. Adam Mair came barreling into him and Butler refused to crack a smile or look the least bit satisfied with himself. He knew winning that game didn't mean jack. I thought his postgame interview that day was one of the best, showing real maturity and understanding of the situation. All that AND he stands up when a woman is leaving the room? A-mazing. On behalf of a fanbase that needed all the bright spots it could get this season, thank you a million times over, Chris. I'd like to see Mike Weber up in Buffalo for a season before I commit to a new favorite player but Chris is definitely in the running.