Breaking Bad

There has been an outcry of anger and frustration over the Sabres’ lack of response against Lucic’s hit against Miller and rightfully so. It’s embarrassing to watch your favorite team just give half-hearted shoves to the guy who just crushed your goalie and gave him a concussion. The question now is how does the situation get rectified so that crap like that gets severely curtailed?

First, let’s go over what will not work:

-Having a designated goon will not deter teams from taking liberties with the team. We went through this with Andrew Peters. The guy was a useless plug who only played two minutes or less every game and when he did fight, it was like watching a slow dance. Who the heck was he scaring?

-Next, calling up Zack Kassian isn’t going to help. For starters, the people who are clamoring for him to get called-up to the big club seem to be forgetting that Corey Tropp got called up over him. He isn’t ready. The idea is to have him develop his offensive game in the AHL so that he can be a top-6 forward with a nasty side, not just some guy who drops the gloves. Bringing him up now will only stunt his development.

What does need to happen is for the tough guys on the team to actually be tough and be willing to get in there and throw-down if necessary. If the more finesse players happen to be out on the ice during the time of an incident like the one that happened in the Bruins game, they need to be able to step out of character and go after the perpetrator (or in other words, break bad). Remember when former Sabres captain, Chris Drury got clocked by Chris Neil and how Drew Stafford immediately dropped the gloves and went after him even though it was a complete mismatch? That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. I wouldn’t expect a finesse player to beat up guys like Lucic, Neil, etc, but the fact that the guy was willing to step in and stand up for his teammate like that would speak volumes and instill a message that says “we may not be the biggest, toughest team out there, but we will not be screwed with.” That’s what brings a team together and I think other teams knowing that they are in for a war when incidents like the Lucic-Miller can only help change things for the better.

The catch is that us fans will have to hope that the wake-up call was well-received. Like it or not, this is pretty much going to be the group that we will be watching the rest of the season. You don’t revamp your roster during the deadline. If this issue lingers on throughout the entire year, us fans will have to wait until the off-season for the front office to make the necessary changes. Personally, I think the Sabres have enough talent to make a deep playoff run. Talent will only get you so far though. Lindy should be familiar with that though since he was the coach of the 06-07 President’s Trophy team who was long on talent, but short on toughness and backbone and you need to have those things if you want to win the cup.

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