By Mike Harrington
As we get set for Sabres-Bruins tonight (stay tuned for information from the morning skate), I'm struck by the fact that Terry Pegula's $65 million team might be the worst team in the NHL by the end of tonight.
As in 30th overall. As in dead last.
The Sabres fell into 15th -- and last -- in the East based on tiebreakers Thursday night after the Islanders, Washington and Florida all got points.
Buffalo is one of five teams in the East with 11 points. The only teams below the Sabres in the West are Los Angeles and Columbus. They both have 10 and will meet late tonight in Staples Center, so one of them will end the night with 12.
The Sabres' path to No. 30 is simple: A regulation loss tonight with an overtime result in Los Angeles, because the Kings or Jackets would both be listed ahead of Buffalo at 11 points by virtue of playing fewer games.
That's one of the rubs of this 5-8-1 Buffalo start -- the Sabres are one of 10 teams entering today having played 14 games. That's tied for the most in the NHL, so how many points have they already frittered away?!
Lindy Ruff said Thursday's it's on him. Sure seems that way. The Sabres start a stretch of four home games in the next five tonight. Where is this thing going if they continue to struggle?
The team had lots of talks Monday at the hotel in Ottawa. Ryan Miller said after the game the sessions were good but said he was frustrated they need to be repeated shortly after a new season begins. Ruff said he understands it's the cycle of a season with some new players coming in and pointed out how St. Louis has struggled mightily (1-4) since a 6-1 start. San Jose is another example, going 0-3-3 after winning its first seven.
"If we know why, we would fix it right away," captain Jason Pominville told me Thursday. "No one wants to be in this situation. It's not fun. It's not easy to sit there and answer tough questions every day. It's something where we want to get better. The best way is to keep communicating and that's what we're trying to do."
Keep talkin', boys. Time is quickly running out.
And if it does, Seth Jones or Nathan MacKinnon?