In the words of a very famous rabbit, thats all folks. The push for the playoffs came to an end for the Buffalo Sabres last night in Philadelphia after a 2-1 loss to the Flyers. If the Panthers had managed to come back and beat the Capitals last night, there would be very different conversations floating around right now.
It was heartbreaking, to say the least. The Sabres took an early lead on Ville Leino‘s 8th goal of the year, yep thats right people I said EIGHT… Either way, Leino scored late in the second period and it looked like the Sabres were going to pull off another miracle. This team is normally very strong when carrying a lead into the third, but this time they just couldn’t hold on.
Marc-Andre Bourdon tied it up on a booming shot from the blue line that found its way through a screen and past Ryan Miller. That was just around the 6 minute mark of the third period, meaning that should have been plenty of time to pull together and get something done, considering this game meant EVERYTHING for the season to continue. The Flyers responded with physical play that left the Sabres scrambling. Matt Read iced the game with his 24th of the year with 4 minutes remaining in the period.
Ovie had his "Pants on the Ground" last night compliments of Jason Pominville
Well, for the Buffalo Sabres, its not over yet. After another dominating win against the Washington Capitals last night, that hope is growing into something real. Two months ago, this team was in the middle of a franchise record road losing streak and was sitting in the basement of the Eastern Conference and now they managed to turn a ten point gap into the eighth and final playoff spot. At least thats where they sit today.
Currently the Sabres are on a 5 game win streak after posting dominating wins against Tampa Bay, Montreal, the New York Rangers, Minnesota and Washington. Through this current streak, the Sabres have outscored their opponents 22-6, thanks in large part to the line of Drew Stafford-Tyler Ennis-Marcus Foligno and the stellar play of Ryan Miller.
So now that the season is over, what should we talk aboutâ€¦ the offseason, obviously!Â Recently on WGR550 (the sports station in Buffalo for those of you that arenâ€™t aware), the conversations have turned to offseason trades, which is a soft spot for us Buffalo fans.Â Normally in the offseason, the Sabres donâ€™t really do much, the extent of our offseason signings is normally a defenseman or 2 and possibly a 3rd line forward and a back-up goalie (but we wonâ€™t be needing that this year ENROTH, ENROTH!!!!!).
This year, many people in Buffalo are expecting an interesting offseason now that the reigns are off as far as money and what Darcy Regier can/cannot do.Â In the past, the Sabres have not traded draft picks very often or prospects.Â The question everyone is asking, is will that change?
One of the more interesting conversations was whether the Sabres would or should look at offers for players such as Zack Kassian or Luke Adam, who are currently playing with the Portland Pirates and were 1st and 2nd round draft picks in 2009 and 2008, respectively.Â The team in recent years would never have considered trading their young talent, but now it seems like everyone is on the table.
Personally, if the offer were a bag of pucks for Zack Kassian, I would take it.Â Itâ€™s no secret I am not a fan of his and I was not happy when the Sabres selected him, heâ€™s a reckless player who has no respect for other players on the ice.Â My theory is that even if he somehow makes the team at some point, heâ€™ll spend more time being suspended or sitting in the penalty box than actually playing. Â Hopefully, the Sabres will be able to teach him and turn him into a player like Milan Lucic (who he has been compared), but Iâ€™m not optimistic.
In January of 2010, Kassian was suspended for 20 games by the OHL after a hit to the head of Matt Kennedy of the Barrie Colts.Â In May of 2010 he was charged with assault after an incident outside of a bar in Windsor, Ontario.Â At the World Junior Championships, played in Buffalo, he was suspended 2 games after a brutal blindside hit to the head of a Czech defenseman.Â Just a few weeks ago, he was again suspended by the OHL for 4 games after he received an intent to injure match penalty at the end of a playoff game.Â I think his record speaks for itself; he plays with reckless abandon, which is what the league is trying to crack down on.Â When Patrice Cormier threw the dreadful elbow to the head of Michael Tam and was suspended for the remainder of the QMJHL season and the Playoffs, the New Jersey Devils TRADED him less than a month later.Â Kassian is not a player I would want as a member of this organization, especially the direction is it now heading in.
Luke Adam is a completely different story.Â The offer would have to be something pretty substantial to send him off.Â He had an extremely successful year with the Portland Pirates scoring 29 goals and 33 assists.Â He won AHL Rookie of the Year, won a silver medal with team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship (where he scored 8 points in 6 games) and made his debut in the NHL playing in 19 games and scoring 3 goals.Â He is a center, which is something we are desperately in need of and he has shown amazing potential.
This is not to say I would not look at a trade offer if I was the GM, but the team has a history of developing young players (see Gaustad, Pominville, Miller, Royâ€¦).Â At this point, almost everyone and everything should be on the table, itâ€™s about making the team better NOW, not 5 years from now.