The moniker “One Buffalo” has never been tested more than it’s being tested right now. One team is on the rise with a future so bright you have to wear shades. The other is a convoluted mess so far down a black hole there’s hardly a glimmer of light to be seen from the locker room.
While the Bills have a Coach of the Year finalist, a 10-6 regular season record, a second playoff appearance in three years, the Sabres have a repeated pattern of coming out of the gate strong only to completely fall apart by the halfway mark of the season. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
There are a myriad of reasons being put forth to explain why the Sabres inexplicably, albeit predictably, fall apart year after year for what seems like an eternity. Change coaches. Change GMs. Change the toilet paper. Change something and wait and see what happens.
Although fans don’t like to be reminded of this, the NHL is a completely different cat than the NFL when it comes to turnarounds. In the NHL, a player’s contract is fully guaranteed and that’s not the case in the NFL.
The Sabres are drowning in a sea of horribly overpaid contracts. And, frankly looking at the way Jeff Skinner is playing these days, I fear the Moulson/O’Reilly/Okposo syndrome could be taking hold once again.
Why is no one looking at this pattern from a psychological perspective? I hope the new sports psychologist they hire will help them sort through what obviously needs to be an organizational evaluation from top to bottom.
The Pegulas really don’t have to look far for an example of how clearing out the cobwebs can completely turn an organization around by putting the right people in place. What is the Bills’ record since Russ Brandon departed?
Finding the common denominator of dysfunction isn’t always easy for an organization but it’s certainly possible if everyone is prepared to look at themselves and take responsibility for their own part in creating organizational dysfunction. I suspect as with the Bills, there remains some underlying fungus creating toxicity in the front office of the Sabres, but have zero clue exactly what’s causing the problems. That’s because I’m on the outside without any real information about how the organization works.
Having done some work for other organizations in this regard in the past, it’s a challenge to get recalcitrant folks to look in the mirror and own their part in creating a mess. I believe the best thing that happened to the Bills was when they hired a head coach with voluminous amounts of personal integrity.
Sean McDermott likely did not mince words about the state of the front office when sharing his thoughts with the Pegulas. Let’s remember it was McDermott who lobbied for Brandon Beane to come to Buffalo in spite of the fact he was on the short list for the GM job at Carolina.
The Sabres need the same kind of person to lead the organization in that direction. When the Bills blew open the doors and cleaned out the cobwebs and got a real plan in place look what happened.
Editor’s babble: I’ll also die on the hill of believing the entire Sabres organization but especially the players need to have their Vitamin D levels checked. They also need to flood every office space and locker room with full spectrum lighting because I will take my last breath believing part of the problem specifically with the Sabres is light deprivation. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.