Archive for April 20th, 2009


All Quiet on the Locker Room Front…NOT

April 20, 2009

Just when I think that there’s a lack of stuff going on in the Sabres internet world, two gems show up today to make me think otherwise, courtesy of John Vogl and Ryan Miller. Please excuse my rambling, I’ve tried to make it as coherent as possible.

– Vogl’s article regarding the eerie quiet in the Sabres locker room was an interesting read.

I can understand why those Sabres that spoke with Vogl regarding the locker room atmosphere wanted to keep their comments off the record to preserve team harmony. But on the other hand, why aren’t they speaking up within the room to make their points? It’s also interesting that MULTIPLE Sabres spoke on this topic. If it were just one or two, you could chalk it up to a couple of disgruntled malcontents, but if there’s multiple people confirming the quiet, it’s a problem.

The Washington game in late December is brought up as an example of a game where speaking up wasn’t appreciated. A little detective work shows that after this game, the only two Sabres to speak up regarding accountability were Miller and Gaustad. Vogl points out that there was at least one Sabre who didn’t take too kindly to the constructive criticism offered after the game. I’m really curious as to who has the soft outer shell and can’t handle the feedback of their peers. I know in my job peer feedback is really valuable. Granted, my peers don’t give me feedback in front of the media, but as I recall, neither Gaustad nor Miller specifically threw any one player under the bus. While they were mad, they were very careful to keep their comments general and applicable to the entire team.

I guess this summer will be the one where a lot of players look at themselves in the mirror and see what they’re made out of and whether they really can handle being a Buffalo Sabre.

Ryan Miller’s postseason wrap up was an intelligent look at the good, the bad and the ugly for the season. He did compliment the Buffalo News for being reasonably fair in their coverage of the team. (Color me shocked on that one. Sorry News writers, you can make the argument that sometimes your commentary beats the same drum over and over again.) I like that he pointed out that the players that we as fans hold up as the epitome of the great Sabres teams – Briere, Drury, McKee, Dumont, Briere and the rest of the cast of thousands – had to grow and develop and find themselves before they became “stars.” Who knows if in our current group of muckety-mucks we have the next Briere, Drury, McKee, etc. I also wonder if this is Miller’s parting shot that they players are tired of being held up to the players that are no longer here? It’s tough to forge your own identity when you’re constantly being compared to those that have come before.

Now onto the part that really caught my eye:

The catch is some people don’t ever get to the point where they are fuming mad, so we have to evaluate that and I want to see who in our organization shows up in September with that motivation… Because this has to be all together, all for one and one for all, team first, it’s not about what is on the back of the sweater, no man left behind, no “I” in Team, the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts… I had a few more quotes to drive the cliché spike home but it ended up being annoying.

You honestly cannot tell me that the first part about teammates getting mad is not in response to Vogl’s article today. This definitely proves that the players are keenly aware of what is said about them in the media. Look at how angry and pissy they got when the News called them out as soft for not retailating after Gomez injured Miller.Which brings up another interesting question: why do they seem to respond well to getting called out by the media but cower when one of their teammates do it? And how would they feel if they hopped on the internet and checked out what’s being said about them in the Sabrelogosphere?

Miller is essentially issuing a challenge to his teammates. Are they going to take not making the playoffs seriously and work hard at bettering themselves this summer, or are they going to spend the summer golfing, drinking and whoring it up? Also, which players need to go watch “Network” to remind themselves that they’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. (If any of them do go watch “Network,” I have a study guide from my senior seminar available on a disk somewhere, in case they need some interpretation assistance.)

And if Miller is worried about resulting to cliche to prove his point, maybe he needs to check out some of the demotivators and hang them around the locker room? I’m personally fond of the arrogance, cluelessness, ignorance and idiocy ones.

Also interesting was this thought:

part of the development process is about falling flat on your face… And then recovering, learning, adapting and remaining motivated.

They say there’s not a lot of similiarities between the hockey world and the corporate world, but you learn by falling flat on your face, picking yourself up, not scraping the ice from your shoulders or dirt from your knees and figuring out how to do the same thing again but with a different result. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (now who’s resorting to cliche), but it’s a painful learning experience to get stronger.