It’s over. One of the more disappointing seasons of at least the past 35 years has mercifully finished.
This isn’t last year’s team who could say Buffalo’s tanking devastated their roster. It’s not a season like 2008-2009, 2010-2011, 2011-2012 or 2013-2014 where significant injuries both here and above (Florida+Buffalo) led to too many ECHL’ers playing each night. There is no dual affiliation excuse or financial issues hanging over our head excuses. There was no revolt against a coach like in 2009-2010 (allegedly). There was a great veteran core ON PAPER. There were legit prospects. There was an experienced coaching staff. We had strong depth right down 390 in Elmira. There are NO excuses. This team didn’t play to expectations and ended up 26 out of 30 teams in the AHL.
And it didn’t just end…it ended with some of the most miserable, disinterested and embarrassing play I’ve ever seen from a professional team – especially at home:
- Lost their last 6 home games by combined score 38-10.
- Lost 8 of their last 10 at home by a combined score of 54-21.
- 7x in those last 10 home games they had a 4+ goal deficit at some point. Seriously?
The blowouts at home started in the preseason and lasted right through to the home finale.
And to think this was the 60th anniversary season honoring this historic franchise. Cheevers, Crow, Arbour, Grapes, Robertson, Mongrain, Gage, Keenan, Torts, Charron, Metter, Frawley – THESE guys. That’s what this organization is all about. The front office held up their end of the bargain off the ice…on the ice not so much.
The LGA twitter feed currently has a poll providing a few potential reasons. At the time of this writing, the biggest issue as seen by the folks was a lack of effort by the players. The other options are: Coaching issue, Sabres System and Lack of in-season moves. I plan to expand on this topic moving forward as many other micro issues (and the WHY) come to mind – as several have pointed out. They include: lack of chemistry, the vet rule and usage related to that, micro-management from up top, poor special teams, inconsistent goaltending and too many of the same type of player.
The truth is its probably several of the above. I question whether enough guys gave a consistent effort. I acknowledge there were a grand total of 0 moves from late September until late February. We had too many finesse Dman (and this was stated by several fans right from day one). Our goal tending was atrocious at times, although was the previous reason why it was so bad? And I’m confused how two teams comprised of different pieces can play the same system as was dictated this season from Buffalo. I’ll concede I don’t know enough about the latter – but would LOVE for someone to sit down and explain it to me.
Moving forward – I don’t even know what to say. Last summer was a good one, save from not signing a physical Dman. I’m not sure what can be done to be exciting to me this summer? I need to see it on the ice in the fall.
Have a nice summer folks. Remember when those didn’t start until June for Amerk Nation?