Grade; C- I'd say at the most they are a c- and even that's being a little generous they are probably closer to a D.
I hate beating up on my favorite goalie; Ryan Miller, so I'm not going to. Statistically yes, he is having his worst season ever as a starting goalie, but he is still the same guy who won the Vezina in 2010 he hasn't changed. I'm a firm believer that blaming the goalie for the team losing is not right, and you should never throw your starting goalie under the bus. Once your number 1 goalie has 2 or 3 weak seasons, you look for other options, but right now it's too early for the Sabres to panic on Miller, he could back stop us smack dab into the playoffs, or have an amazing year next season. People who suggest trading Miller are out to lunch and no nothing about hockey. Remember when the Habs traded Halek over Price? Well they took a lot of criticism for that move, but it was the right move, you stick by your number 1. Since they showed confidence in Price, he has been a solid goalie and hasn't missed a beat. You never give up on your starter! There is still signs of the amazing goaltender that Miller is, you'll be watching the game and he'll make an outstanding save that just brings you too your feet, then he'll let in a stinker of a goal, that makes you cringe. Right now for Miller it's all about consistency, in my mind I see him improving from the beginning of the season, believe it or not, he is playing better! Jhonas Enroth, the other Sabre on the "all rookie team," started off the season strong as Miller's BACKUP key word backup. He played well he even brewed up a minor goaltending controversy, then Miller went down with an injury and Enroth got his chance to shine, and blew it. Since Miller has come back and Enroth has gone back to his rightful backup role, he's been hot and cold and just as unreliable as Miller. This tandem of goalies has let in 3 or more goals in 15 of the last 19 games, not the type of goaltending needed to make the post season.
Grade C- this is again a very generous c-, in many people books this could easily be a D or lower.
I'm not a type of person who likes to evaluate the coaches and front office, like seriously what does that accomplish. You're not a GM or manager, you don't know what they put up with or how hard they work to give us the fans the best possible team. Until you have the opportunity to be a coach or GM shut up and just let them do their jobs! Maybe Lindy Ruff's time is up, maybe Regier needs to go and maybe Pegula needs to stop being a fan and start changing the team, that's not for us to decide, I will say though, that if Ruff were under consideration to be fired, I'd fire Reiger first and then let the new GM decide Ruff's fate. The coach can only work with the players he's been provided.
Overall I'd grade this team at a C- threw 41 games. Here's the kicker; A year ago today the Sabres had the exact same record and points, and trailed Montreal by 8 points for the final playoff spot. We ended up finishing in 7th with 96 points to earn ourselves a hard earned spot in the playoffs. But the difference between now this year and now last year; The Sabres were already turning their game around a year ago; they had won 4 of 5 games. But this year we have lost 8 of 10 games, another bad week and we can all but kiss our playoff hopes goodbye. But there is a key factor everyone seems to forget, and it's the turning point in the Sabres first half of the season. The Milan Lucic hit on Miller changed the mindset of this hockey club; before the incident we were 10-5 and in 5th place in the conference, threatening for a top spot, since the incident we are 8-13-5 and have failed to win back to back games. Dang, look at the box scores, since that hit, they've failed to win back to back periods! Since that hit, which hurt Miller and forced him to miss time, the Sabres have been falling like dominos, 17 players have gone down with injuries and we have lost 183 man games to injury this season.
I'm hoping the Sabres can turn it around in the second half of the season; they need more forwards to step up and score a few goals. Vanek and Pominville need some help, don't want to wear them out before the playoffs. The goaltending of Miller has to be better, all those wanting the team to ride Enroth can kiss the playoffs good bye. If this team is going to make the playoff it will be with Miller between the pipes!