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Buffalo columnist deems Sabres ‘historically inept’

Ted Nolan, Darcy Burchell

FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2014 file photo, Buffalo Sabres interim head coach Ted Nolan disagrees with referee Darcy Burchell during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn. Nolan will oversee the team’s rebuilding plans beyond this season after signing a three-year contract extension on Monday, March 31, 2014. The team lifted Nolan’s “interim” tag from his title by announcing the signing on its Twitter page. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File)


It’s no secret that the Buffalo Sabres are bad this season. The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington goes much further and labels them “historically inept” in a scathing Sunday column.

Seriously, this is some stern stuff, and Harrington really directs his missiles at GM Tim Murray. These few paragraphs capture the crushing spirit of it all:

Instead, the Sabres have become historically inept. They’re a joke. A punchline. Most nights this team has little work ethic. They’re soft.

I can picture Tim Murray sitting in his office with a sinister look behind those glasses and a laugh heard to HarborCenter at what he’s concocting. This is the rookie GM’s first team and it’s pitiful. But yes, I know. We should celebrate what it will mean down the road. Especially now that the “goal” has been reached, at least for one night.

Harrington accuses the team of “disgracing the brand” and generally taking the concept of tanking too far. It’s the kind of column that prompts an organizational cold shoulder to a reporter, depending upon the market and the vengeful nature of a given front office. (In other words, it’s worth a read.)

Tanking is a controversial topic, and the Sabres are far from the only team to be accused of doing so in recent years. Extensive runs of poor finishes work out in the form of blue-chip prospects in some cases (most clearly the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks), yet that’s far from a hard rule (see: Oilers, Edmonton).

If you ask Harrington, Buffalo’s losing ways may be a bit too brazen, and the Sabres run the risk of digging a rebuilding hole a little too deep.

What do you think? Are the Sabres guilty of pushing the putrid envelope a little too far or are such criticisms a bit too extreme?

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins