Sabres Eliminated from Playoffs. Let's Sue 'Em.
With a frustrating loss to Montreal last night, the Buffalo Sabres were eliminated from playoff contention. It was the final blow to Sabres fans everywhere who struggled all season with the massive letdown from last season's epic run.
Making matters worse, Chris Drury will be heading to the playoffs with his Rangers and Daniel Briere may well see him there as the Flyers battle for a final playoff spot over the next week. It's easy to look back at all the missed opportunities - a three goal lead against Philly squandered at home, letting Montreal score two goals in final three minutes a week ago, and the all-too-memorable collapse against Ottawa (again at home) giving up five goals in the 3rd period.
Those losses were merely symptoms, however, and there are more fundamental problems that need to be addressed. First, take this quiz - where did Ryan Miller rank for save % this season? Did you guess 29th? Well then you win a prize.
And how did the Sabres power play rank this season? The answer is a perfectly mediocre 16th place.
It's clear that from last April to this April, the Sabres are a completely different team with a much different outlook. After letting Briere and Drury and Campbell leave, and signing Vanek to an enormous contract, management has their work cut out for them.
But management won't be able to focus solely on the quality of the team.
As if adding injury (lawsuit) to insult, the Sabres are being sued by Bruce Jackson - a noted UB Professor who has engaged in some classic clashes with developer Carl Paladino over at Artvoice. Professor Jackson had a piece of plexiglas fall on him during an Ottawa Senators game in May and was bruised, had his glasses broken and now has 'pains.' Generally, Buffalo sports fans make an assumption of risk that their hearts will be broken annually (or more) but Professor Jackson apparently doesn't believe he assumed risk that his glasses might be broken at a professional hockey game.
This is going to be one interesting off-season.
Bruce Jackson illustration by Jeanine Harvey.