Two games & too many options
The Buffalo Sabres, on the verge of concluding an extended home stand and knee-deep in Pegula-palooza, face a fork in the road this weekend.
With tonight’s matchup against Ottawa, and tomorrow’s visit from the Detroit Red Wings, the Sabres have two more chances to evaluate and plan for Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
Just three points out of the final playoff spot in the East with two games in hand on 8th place Carolina, Buffalo clearly isn’t gearing up for a Cup run. But there is the debate whether or not they should be buyers or sellers come Monday, or maybe even inactive.
As I covered in my post on Monday, there’s plenty good reason to sell off what pieces they can. But a couple wins this weekend and an undefeated reign in Pegulaville, and the delusions of grandeur could get the better of Sabres fans.
No matter what happens this weekend, the Sabres will not be eliminated or locked into a spot for the postseason. It’s just another two games of the 23 they have remaining.
Is there any indication as to what the team’s philosophy for Monday’s deadline is? According to the incredibly interesting interview of Terry Pegula by the Buffalo News that was posted on their website, it appears they’re more willing to sell than buy. Realizing they will not pursue rentals, and seeing high prices, it appears the Sabres want to go with what they have and see who’s ready to step up, and who may be expendable come the offseason.
But until Darcy gets that fax machine fired up this weekend (side note: now we never have to worry about whether they can afford a functional fax machine in the office), all that’s in front of the team is a division rival who’s having an awful year. Brian Elliott is no longer around to torment the Sabres’ offense. A win is expected.
The litmus test is Saturday night, when the Red Wings come to Buffalo. Can the Sabres hold up against one of the better teams in the league? We’ll see. Will that impact the team’s direction and attitude for this season? We’ll see.