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Our Long National Nightmare Is Finally Over. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Our Long National Nightmare Is Finally Over.

Eighty-two games. Close to that many different players. Nine different goalies dressed during the course of the worst season in Sabres team history.  Finally, the door gets closed (and hopefully the interior exploded) on this debacle to end all debacles.

The coach got fired. The general manager got fired. A legendary former Sabre came back in glory as the titular head of the front office, bringing back his own one-time coach and the promise of a long-time future leading the franchise, only to quit or be fired (depending on who you believe) barely three months later. Both Game One co-captains got traded, as did the franchise goalie and every other player with a contract due to expire right after the season.  The final weeks have been ugly, bloody and dark. The only hope is that this week will bring the one win of the year that counts: cashing in on their last-place finish's 25% chance of picking first in the June NHL draft. At worst, they'll go second.

At least Ted Nolan got a contract extension; he made the best of the mess that got left behind for him by the stand-pat former GM, and he's well known for bringing out the best in especially young players.  The #1 or 2 pick, along with perhaps a first-rounder from the Islanders (if they choose not to defer to next year's draft) and another from St. Louis (if the team and/or Ryan Miller meet certain post-season criteria), will lead a very young and likely still bad team next year into the Promised Land of Prospects.

For the draft list for a year from now is headed by a kid named Connor McDavid, who is mentioned in the same breath as Gretzky and Crosby as a potential generational offensive-star player.  He is likely the reason the Islanders might give up this year's surely-high pick (they can fall no lower than 5th or 6th in the draft and could even get #1) in hopes of having a shot at the McGreat One next summer.  He is also the reason Seattle is rushing to complete an effort to get an expansion bid in place in time to put a team on the ice for the 2015-16 season, since expansion teams typically bump over the previous year's finishers and get the #1 overall.  Finally, he's the reason some league GMs are considering giving teams less incentive to "tank" for the #1 overall pick- reducing their odds in the lottery, basing it on the average of several prior year records, or allowing the worst team to fall more than just one spot.  Sabres personnel say none of these doomsday scenarios is likely, but considering how the Cigarette Smoking Man feels about our fair city, I really don't like our chances.

Last year, which was bad but nowhere near this bad, the Sabres chose the final home game of the year, their traditional "Fan Appreciation" event, to announce an increase in ticket prices for this clusterfudge of a season.  Everyone I've spoken to seems to agree that the best way they could express "appreciation" this season would be to just forfeit the game before anybody else gets hurt.

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