Sabres Lose Three Big Names


There's a few extra parking spots down at One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza...

An eventful weekend saw the departure of three Buffalo fan favorites. Two of them skated on the ice while the other hangs in the rafters. Ryan Miller and Steve Ott head to St. Louis while former captain and President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine is going back to The Big Apple after a bizarre exit with the Sabres front office.

On  Friday night, the Sabres traded their cornerstone goalie along with their current captain to the St. Louis Blues to aide in newly-hired GM Tim Murray's plan of re-building. The return was substantial, yielding three players and two draft picks, however it is never easy to say goodbye to a man who spent more than a decade wearing your teams colors.

Ryan Miller was a mainstay in Buffalo. As a goalie is the backbone of a hockey team, I guess you could say Ryan was the same to our city. A stabilizer, if you will. He leaves as the Sabres all-time leader in games played and wins as well as a Vezina Trophy and Olympic Silver medal. He was the team leader on the ice, and a community leader off it. There was something calming knowing that #30 was between the pipes. He was the face of the franchise for 12 years, but like the old cliché goes, all good things must come to an end. No one wanted to see Ryan go but when your team is in last place, tough decisions need to be made for the future.

Same goes for Ott. A fan favorite who gave 100% every time he was on the ice, he made an impact on Sabres fans in the short amount of time he was here. Steve was known as a trash-talking agitator who wasn't afraid to drop the mitts or stick up for his teammates. A hard-worker that I think Buffalonians could identify with. As valuable as these players were on the Sabres, they are even more valuable off of them. The Sabres received an astounding return from St. Louis with goalie Jaroslav Halak, power forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 1st round draft pick, and a conditional 3rd round draft pick. Quite the return for two guys walking out the door anyways.

As Miller's and Ott's tenure came to an end, so did Sabres legend Pat Lafontaine's. Having only been on the job since November, reports came out on Saturday that drama immersed the Sabres front office. No one knows what exactly happened. Some say LaFontaine had difference of philosophies with Tim Murray. Others say he was seeking too much power in Terry Pegula's management team. The truth is, we will never know the truth. And to be honest, I'm ok with that. LaFontaine was brought in to stabilize a shaky hockey department and he did just that. He hired Murray and brought in Craig Patrick to be an adviser and so far Murray has shown that he can get the job done.

Whatever went on behind the scenes is beyond me. I don't care what rich guys talk about behind closed doors. All I care about is the product on the ice. And the product on the ice relies solely on Tim Murray. Murray is a no-nonsense guy and maybe that led to the discourse between him and LaFontaine. Some speculation said LaFontaine disagreed with Murray's decision to trade Ryan Miller. I don't know. But what I do know is that there is a long road ahead of us with a lot of tough decisions. In Buffalo, we need people without ties or emotions to the city, such as Murray. Someone who can make those decisions rationally and in the best interest of the hockey club. Someone who can look at this roster and make un-biased opinions. Someone who's willing to trade valuable assets such as, say... Ryan Miller and Steve Ott.