What is going on in Buffalo?

3/5/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

If you are a Buffalo Sabres' fan, than it has been a rough season for you.

For starters, your team is currently in last place not only in the Eastern Conference, but in the entire NHL. Yes, having a chance at a top draft pick is certainly going to be nice but in the end, your team will still go down as the worst in the 2013-14 season.

Secondly, the franchise is in a state of flux not only on the ice, but off it as well. With their
best player already traded away, who knows what is going to happen to their head coach now that their former President of Hockey Operations resigned.

Lastly, this will be the team's third straight season in which they miss making the postseason. It's never a good thing that come April, your team is golfing while others are competing for the Stanley Cup.

Basically put, it has been a rough year all around for the Sabres. Let's take a closer look at just how bad things have gotten in Buffalo.

Feb 25, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) during a stoppage in play against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY SportsRyan Miller Gets Shipped to the St. Louis Blues
While this deal was a long time coming, it is never a good thing when your team loses the face of its franchise.

This is exactly what happened last Friday night when the Sabres traded franchise goaltender Ryan Miller along with Steve Ott to the Blues for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015, and a third-round pick in 2016. 

In Miller, the Sabres traded a netminder that was everything and more for them for the better part of eight and half seasons. Miller got the Sabres to the Eastern Conference Finals twice, won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender in 2010, is the franchise's all-time winningest goaltender with 257 victories and was a pillar in the Buffalo community.

The Miller trade marked the beginning of the end of what used to be good times in Buffalo and now, is dark and cloudy times.

Pat LaFontaine Resigns from President of Hockey Operations Position
In a move that shocked both the Sabres and the hockey world in general, Pat LaFontaine stepped down from his President of Hockey Operations position on Saturday.

LaFontaine was brought into the organization back in November to help turn the franchise around. He went and hired Ted Nolan to be the team;s bench boss and with Nolan behind the bench, the Sabres are definitely better than they were when the season started and are a team that does not give up.

In January, LaFontaine hired Tim Murray to be the team's general manager. With that move, it looked like LaFontaine was doing what he needed to do to get the franchise back on track.

Instead, LaFontaine resigned and no one is quite sure why. There is speculation that things in the
Sabres' front office had gotten "ugly" and that once the Sabres went ahead and traded both Miller and Ott, LaFontaine resigned shortly thereafter. 

We may never quite know what happened or why LaFontaine left but it certainly does not make the Sabres look good.

What About Nolan?
LaFontaine was the one that hired Nolan to coach the Sabres and now that he is out of the picture, one has to wonder what it means for Nolan.

Since getting behind the Sabres' bench in June, Nolan has done some good things for this hockey club. Under Nolan, the Sabres do not quit, they battle, they work hard and they do what they can to be competitive on a nightly basis.

With that said, however, Murray may want to go with his own guy behind the bench. This might mean that Nolan may be sent packing as well, which would be another important member of the Sabres' organization to leave the franchise.

Now What?
No one is quite sure what is going to happen to the Sabres next.

Will they be buyers or sellers during tomorrow's deadline? Who is going to be their future starting goaltender? Will Ted Nolan be the team's coach come next season?

These are all questions that need to be answered and if you're a Sabres' fan, you may not want to know the answers.
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