Earlier this season (I think it was the end of February) WGR had a web poll on the Sabres greatest problem -- offense, defense, or goaltending. At the time I said it was defense, but that seems to have been partly solved. We still need to cut some dead weight (*coughkotalikcoughcough*), but we have some great talent in the pipe. Signing Pratt at the end of October helped beef them up for this season. Now I'd say their greatest need is for a backup goalie. Miller has done a great job for the number of games he's played, but he's obviously worn out. I don't blame Lindy for not putting T-Bo in. I don't think anyone will be shocked to learn the Sabres traded him or put him on waivers this off-season. It's not really the management's fault on that one. No one could have known that Ty Conklin would have a career-reviving season.
Although I'm disappointed that the sabres missed the playoffs (ok, so mathematically there's still a chance, but I'm not keeping my hopes up at all), but I have to say, I'm ok with it. I really am. First off, I think they need time to focus on re-building. I plan on seeing them in the play-offs next year. Secondly, I hate dynasty teams. That may be the biggest reason why I hate the Yankees. No team "deserves" to make the playoffs. (See "2007 NY Mets.") It's OK to have a bad year. It makes victory years even better. No team should fire their coach (or at least say they will fire their coach) just for missing the championships. Lindy has seen his ups and downs as the Sabres coach, but he knows both how and when to push his players. I think missing the playoffs will be good for the fans. I know someone might read this (if I have more than one reader) who will say "No it's not. Missing the playoffs just alienates fans. They just get our hopes up and then crush them. Woe to us for we are Buffalo sports fans." But hear me out. Next year when the pre-season predictions come out and people write the Sabres off, the faithful will have more to celebrate. Perhaps Vanek will lose some of the pressure he feels to perform. The fans can appreciate the growth of our young players more. I'd try and say this more eloquently, but it's late.
At any rate just because the Sabres will (almost definitely) miss the play-offs this year doesn't mean it's the end of the world. Plus we beat the Leafs tonight, so hurray.