The Buffalo Sabres just can’t seem to win for losing these days. Ryan Miller, who had been begging to be traded for years, was finally moved to the St. Louis Blues prior to the trade deadline. It has to sting that Miller’s record with the Blues is 4-0, considering that the Sabres have only nineteen wins on the season. The Sabres currently have forty-six points and occupy last place in the league. Buffalo did not better it’s situation today, losing 2-1 to the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
With their chances of making the playoffs being slim to none, the Sabres are obviously building for the future. The Miller trade removed a player that had a league wide reputation as locker room poison, and had earned the nickname ‘Crying Ryan’ for his penchant of pandering to the officials any time an opposing player so much as brushed too close to him.
The Sabres have indeed cleaned house from top to bottom. After sixteen seasons in Buffalo, head coach Lindy Ruff was let go last year, despite being the winningest coach in Sabres history, with 571 wins. The Sabres quickly fired Ruff’s replacement, Ron Rolston, only 20 games into the current season, as well as General Manager Darcy Regier. One day after the Miller trade, Pat LaFontaine resigned as the Sabres President of Hockey Operations.
As if all of these soap opera story lines were not enough drama, the Sabres announced today that they had suspended defenceman Rostilav Klesla for failing to report to Rochester, Buffalo’s AHL affiliate. Klesla was acquired, along with goal tender Michal Neuvirth, in a deal that sent Jaroslav Halak to the Washington Capitals. Klesla was traded to the Sabres a day after he was traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Washington Capitals. Klesla, meanwhile, has told various media outlets that he will be playing in Europe, in effect retiring from the NHL. In a statement to TSN, Klesla had the following to say:
“With all due respect to the Sabres organization, I decided this week not to continue playing hockey this season. It has been a tough year for injury and moving several times to new teams, I will now take some time off and get ready to continue my career in Europe. I would like to thank my fans and all the people that have helped me. I am grateful for the career I have had in the NHL and all the people that I have met along the way who have supported me and my family.”
The Buffalo Sabres will have to look elsewhere for help on the back-end. With the trade deadline come and gone, it appears that the Sabres need to look to free agency and the entry draft to make their future any brighter.