The last game the Buffalo Sabres will play before the three-week Winter Olympic break is on February 6, 2014, when they hit the road to play the Ottawa Senators. The break will last until February 25, 2014, when the Sabres will host the Carolina Hurricanes. It is appropriate that the Sabres are hosting a team called the Hurricanes after the break because this season has seemed like a whirlwind of activity for the team since former GM Darcy Regier and former head coach Ron Rolston were fired in November 2013.
Ever since Pat LaFontaine took over as the President of Hockey Operations and Ted Nolan became the interim coach in late November, the Sabres have been involved in a frenzy of activity. To the fans, much of the activity doesn’t seem to make any sense. Players get sent down to the AHL affiliate in Rochester, and then players get brought up from Rochester. Players get benched, and then whole groups of players called in sick on gameday and left the team several players down with no one to fill the empty spots.
The Sabres have executed trades and put players on waivers. New faces came into the organization, and then those faces were gone forever just as quickly. When the Sabres hired Tim Murray as the GM and Craig Patrick as an executive adviser, the fans wondered if the carousel of activity would stop. But as soon as Murray came on board, Mikhail Grigorenko refused to accept his assignment to his junior team in Quebec, and defenseman Brayden McNabb has been camping out on the I-90 in New York to see if he will be in Buffalo or Rochester for lunch that day.
The Winter Olympic break is perfectly timed for the Sabres organization. The team needs a three-week break in the middle of the season to get things straightened out in the front office and to make some pertinent moves to the roster as well. The players could also probably use a break from the whirlwind of media attention and the revolving door of teammates that everyone has had to get used to.
The fans hope that the Sabres can right the ship and get everything organized in time to take advantage of the March 5, 2014 trade deadline. No one is expecting any miracles, but it would be nice to see the Sabres finally execute some trade-deadline moves that make sense and can benefit the team in the future.