After an untimely post-bye week slump, the Sabres had apparently cast themselves in the role of Deadline Day Sellers.
So what did they sell? Players? Nope. Prospects? Nah. Draft picks? Negative.
Tim Murray's appearance on WGR seemed to confirm that the straight shooting GM wouldn't even be selling hope for the balance of the season.
"I have a plan, we have lots of picks, we’ve got some good prospects coming, so I’m excited about some of our kids, but it takes time, but that’s not for me to decide if we’re going quick enough, that’s for you guys to decide," he grumbled.
You can probably guess what the collective local media has decided, but here at A Thousand Cuts HQ -- the jury's still out.
If you read between the lines of that radio appearance, Murray seemed to confirm what we here at 1KC have been saying all season: The Sabres veterans have become expendable.
“I made a few calls to see if I could make a hockey trade to get younger and this is the end result.”
With one-goal deficits becoming two-goals, two-goal deficits becoming three and leads disappearing faster than a Tom Brady Superbowl jersey -- game management has clearly become an issue. Asking 20-year-olds to stop the bleeding or lock down the opposition for 40 minutes is a tall order, and that's why you have a solid veteran core, or why you should have one.
Moulson, Ennis, Gorges, Franson, Kulikov and Foligno have largely failed to make game-altering impact plays all season. Even Gionta has failed to live up to the C on his sweater -- chipping in enough goals to stay off fans' radar, but hardly a the type of difference maker you need your captain to be, night in, night out.
The worse part is, these veterans no longer have the threat of Deadline Day hanging over their heads. Expect them to pack it in as the young guns around them tragically cling to hope and scrap for overtime points.
Murray said he would gladly shoulder some of the blame and he should. He should have known Gionta is running on fumes at this point. He should have known Ennis would once again pull he dust devil act, swirling quickly in place and then dissipating into thin air. He should have known Moulson would rake in a pile of cash for warming the bench on a nightly basis.
Murray has been fantastic at sourcing big name players like Kane, O'Reilly and Lehner. However, he's fallen woefully short in building a solid foundation of difference-making unsung heroes. If the Sabres are going to become cup contenders, he needs to put those pieces in place this off-season.