Life is pretty tough for the Buffalo Sabres right now.
It is the hope that kills you. That’s certainly the case for Buffalo Sabres who were tantalizingly teased that the 2020-21 NHL season was going to be different, that this team was going to be the team that finally ended a lengthy and painful nine-year postseason drought.
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Well, fast forward to the present day and it is all but certain that the Sabres will not competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 10th consecutive year, which is by far the current longest active streak in the entire National Hockey League.
Somehow, though, that is the very least of this franchise’s concerns.
Granted, not making the postseason yet again is a pretty big deal but there is no doubt that the Sabres have some bigger issues on the horizon too, including mapping out both the short-term and long-term future when it comes to a new Head Coach and their franchise cornerstone in Jack Eichel.
Eichel, who is currently on IR with an upper-body injury, has been mentioned constantly in trade speculation and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wanted a change of scenery given everything he has had to put up with during his time in Buffalo, while the likes of Taylor Hall and Eric Staal will probably get dealt at the Trade Deadline.
Buffalo Sabres continue to lurch from one disaster to the next
Other pieces could be shopped too and it will likely lead to the Sabres ending up as the worst team in the entire National Hockey League, which will land them a lottery pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft but that is scant consolation at this point given how the Eichel situation is rapidly panning out.
And what ultimately ends up happening to Eichel will dictate both the short and long-term future of this franchise, who are one of the biggest laughing stocks in all of sports right now. After all, Eichel isn’t going to want to be part of a messy rebuild that is going to last another four or five years, so if he sticks around then he’s going to want to play for an experienced Head Coach who can turn things around fairly quickly.
If the Buffalo Sabres do decide to just cut all ties with their Captain and once great hope, however, then that will signal their intention to completely blow things up and start over once again, leading to yet more pain for a fanbase that has probably become pretty numb to the endless disappointment and letdowns by now.
All of those burning questions will be answered sooner rather than later but, for now, the Sabres do have to try to win a game of hockey, no matter how impossible that seems at the moment. Okay, so we’re saying that in jest slightly, but there is no doubt that this is a pretty dire situation for a franchise that just can’t seem to catch a break right now.
Following their 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, the Sabres have now dropped 15 straight games (0-13-2, the longest single-season winless streak in the Shootout era (since 2005-06). And, just to compound matters, the previous record also belonged to Buffalo who lost 14 consecutive games in 2014-15.
Yeah, not great Bob, not great.
Whatever way you look at it, this team is in uncharted territory when it comes to how bad they are and there just seems to be no end in sight. They’ve allowed at least 40 shots against in consecutive games, they haven’t recorded a win since Feb. 23 and they have to go up against the Penguins again tonight.
And, just to add to the comedy of horrors for the Sabres, General Manager Kevyn Adams will serve as the Head Coach for tonight’s game after Interim Head Coach Don Granato, along with Interim Assistant Coach Matt Ellis, both entered the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol.
Things really are bleak for the Buffalo Sabres.
When you consider that Taylor Hall has just one point in his last five games, coupled with the fact that forwards Tage Thompson and Rasmus Asplund have both been added to the already lengthy list of players out, then the overall picture is looking incredibly bleak right now for the Sabres.
So, will they ever win a game of hockey? Okay, so again that is hyperbole and this team will almost certainly add to their six wins at some point over the coming weeks, but given all of the adversity they are dealing with and the fact that they are going up against a Pittsburgh Penguins team in the thick of a Playoff battle, it is fair to assume that the winless streak will live on for at least another night for the Buffalo Sabres.