By John Vogl
Mike Weber knows folks in Sabreland are tired of hearing false promises. The defenseman is tired of hearing them, too.
"We’re not joking around anymore," Weber said today as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers in First Niagara Center. "There has to be a new standard here. I know that word has been thrown around for a couple years here with talking to all of you guys – 'We’ve got to change the culture, we’ve got to change the standards' – but enough’s enough. Joke’s over.
"We’re not in this game to get high draft picks, at least I’m not. I know that’s not the goal for the front office, either. We’re in this to win championships and get things on the right track here."
The Sabres, who finished last in the NHL with a 21-51-10 record, have a lot of work to do. Weber says with new stability -- Tim Murray and Ted Nolan are in place as the general manager and coach, respectively -- the work can begin.
"I hope everyone takes it seriously," Weber said. "These types of things, they hurt. I think our fans have been very supportive, but at the same time you don’t want to disappoint people. You don’t want that feeling walking around town that you’ve disappointed people or you’re letting people down, especially a hard-working city like Buffalo.
"I think to every man, we’ve accepted the challenge. You have five and a half months here to get yourself ready for training camp, and I expect training camp to be what training camp should be for a 30th-place team. It should be hard. It should be intense. I know Teddy is making sure every guy knows that."