The Buffalo Sabres have been a complete mess in the 2013-2014 NHL season, accumulating just nine points in 20 games, and it cost general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston their jobs Wednesday, with Sabres legend Pat Lafontaine taking over as President of Hockey Operations and Ted Nolan assuming head coaching duties. Kyle Williams Jersey . Scott Cullen looks at the state of a team for which things can only look up. Last season, the Sabres finished with 48 points in 48 games, finishing 22nd out of 30 teams; not nearly good enough for the playoffs, but not utterly disastrous, which means not bad enough to secure a premium pick at the top of the first round. They traded veteran winger Jason Pominville and defenceman Jordan Leopold during the season, but seven of their top eight scorers were returning for the 2013-2014 season. Even so, the Sabres ranked 29th in my preseason Power Rankings, with not enough proven talent, aside from left winger Thomas Vanek and goaltender Ryan Miller who, as pending unrestricted free agents, were prime candidates for trade. Of course, Vanek was traded, to the New York Islanders and the Sabres received a quality package in return, but it is a curious turn of events to allow Darcy Regier to oversee the start of a rebuilding process and take responsibility for trading the clubs best player, only to clean house in the front office two-and-a-half weeks later. Now, this doesnt mean that people shouldnt have been fired (On XM NHL Network Radio last Friday, I said that Rolston was my pick to be the next coach canned). The Sabres have been unabashedly terrible. They have one regulation win in 20 games and that was in a game at Florida in which they were outshot 45-21 by the Panthers, a team that sits a lofty 28th in the NHL standings. The Sabres have the worst puck possession stats in the league, by a sizeable margin and, given these poor underlying conditions, will need patience in order to develop a roster that is consistently competitive because they cant even argue that theyve been especially unlucky to have this poor record. Matt Moulson, a pending unrestricted free agent who was acquired as part of the package in exchange for Vanek, has 17 points in 18 games with the Islanders and Sabres, and Cody Hodgson has 15 points in 20 games; they are the only Sabres with more than 10 points through the first 20 games of the season. These are the skaters at the top of Buffalos pay scale: RW Drew Stafford, who has a $4-million cap hit, has two goals and six points. A three-time 20-goal scorer, Stafford topped out with 31 goals in 62 games as recently as 2010-2011. LW Ville Leino, a $4.5-million cap hit through 2016-2017, has one point in eight games and has been a healthy scratch even when hes not injured. D Christian Ehrhoff, signed through 2020-2021 at a $4-million cap hit, has four assists in 19 games. Hes not playing poorly, but isnt good enough to be a difference-maker on a bad club. D Tyler Myers, inked through 2018-2019 for $5.5-million per, has four points and is minus-9. His play has declined dramatically since his impressive rookie campaign of 2009-2010. No team can generate positive results in a salary cap league when their highest-paid players are so unproductive. The highest-paid player remaining in Buffalo is G Ryan Miller, who has a $6.25-million cap hit on a contract that expires at seasons end. Miller has a .916 save percentage, pretty much his standard since 2010-2011, and good enough that he will likely hold some appeal on the trade market when the time finally comes to move out a 33-year-old who is not a fit for a team at this level of rebuilding. Once Miller is moved, that would be right down to the foundation. Is there hope for the future? Sure, eventually. The Sabres have given substantial playing time to young players this season. Teenage defencemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov have played more than 17 minutes per game, immediately after they were drafted in 2013 and 21-year-old rookie Mark Pysyk plays 21 minutes per game on the blueline, ranking third behind Ehrhoff and Myers. As the experience with Myers has shown, there is not necessarily a linear path from teen NHL defenceman to future NHL star, so even if the young defencemen pan out, there is some risk and it should take time before they can be counted on to anchor the unit. The Sabres also have prospects Brayden McNabb and Chad Ruhwedel toiling in the AHL for Rochester and they could be due for a look this season. Add in University of Wisconsin defenceman Jake McCabe and Buffalo has a solid crop of blueliners in the organization. Solid enough that they might want to consider sending Zadorov back to the Ontario Hockey League for another season rather than letting the first year of his entry-level deal burn as part of this disastrous campaign. The story is less promising up front. Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Johan Larsson, Zemgus Girgensons, and Mikhail Grigorenko are all under 25, and Joel Armia holds potential as a scoring winger but, even in the best-case scenario, its going to be a while before they become impact players, if any are going to have a notable impact at all. (Incidentally, Armia is ready to make his AHL debut after suffering a broken hand in training camp). Assuming that Miller gets moved, the Sabres will have Jhonas Enroth and Matt Hackett as their top two goaltenders (depending on the return for Miller). Thats not the strongest duo, but Enroth has a .914 save percentage in 60 NHL games as Millers backup, so hes worth a try, at least while the rebuilding process is in full effect. What is most promising for the Sabres is that they have seriously stockpiled draft picks over the next couple seasons (something for which the next GM, or even Lafontaine, can thank Regier. The Sabres own the Islanders first-round pick in 2014 (Vanek trade) as well as second-round picks from the Kings (two, for Robyn Regehr), Wild (Pominville deal) and Islanders (Vanek) over the next two seasons, plus whatever returns they might get for their veteran unrestricted free agents that could be moved before this seasons trade deadline. Including their own first and second-round picks, the Sabres will have eight picks in the first two rounds over the next two drafts. Then consider that Miller, Moulson and Steve Ott are all pending unrestricted free agents that should hold significant appeal around the league. Getting picks and prospects in return could give the Sabres in the neighbourhood of a dozen picks in the first two rounds over the next two drafts. Times are tough now, but those picks should really replenish the talent in the organization. (Note: the Sabres likely cant empty the cupboard completely because they will have to get to the salary cap floor in 2014-2015 and, per Cap Geek, they have 14 players under contract for $34.9-million next season.) Draft picks and prospects are uncertain, but if a team is as bad as the Sabres are currently, its encouraging to have picks that could help change the direction of the franchise and, given their current place in the standings, the Sabres are not likely to be dramatically better as soon as next season, which means they could be in contention for the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes, also known as the 2015 NHL Draft. Acquiring talent through the draft should ultimately change the Sabres fortunes, but that build is a slow process -- it could be five years before a playoff berth is a reasonable expectation (or, ask the Edmonton Oilers, the process can take even longer). In the meantime, Ted Nolan is going to have to instill a work ethic in the Sabres young players; something could have a lasting effect going forward. Given that this is already a lost season, there is no reason for Nolan not to play his young players and play them a lot, since they might as well find out who can handle playing at the NHL level. There is a feeling, in some circles, that by digging into the franchises past to hire Lafontaine and Nolan (and rumours have begun that ex-Sabre Rick Dudley could be the next GM), the Sabres are merely looking for some positive PR spin. Maybe thats the case. Well have to see what kind of decisions the new braintrust makes and how well they set the franchise up for the future. It will be a big job for a team is going to have a lot of long nights for this season and beyond. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Dion Dawkins Jersey .C. -- Steve Spurrier was much happier about South Carolinas improved performance than about his lastest career milestone. Shaq Lawson Jersey . - UFC 178, previously announced for Sept. http://www.authenticbillsfanatic.com/c-81-bills-leonard-johnson-jersey.aspx . City has reached new heights under manager Manuel Pellegrini as they transition from big spending/immediate impact to perennial contender. Yaya Toures seeming discontent Tuesday may complicate that, as does the little issue of Financial Fair Play.HOUSTON - Andre Johnson is having another great season for the Houston Texans. The star receiver certainly isnt celebrating it with the Texans mired in a franchise-record 13-game skid. He told The Associated Press this week that dealing with another terrible season after already suffering through the lean times early in franchise history has taken the joy out of playing the game he loves. "You dont expect to go back through it," said. "You think youre past that stage as a team ... it is no fun at all." Despite his frustration with this year, Johnson has remained Houstons most reliable leader. "Its amazing. Andre is just the consummate pro. Hes always positive," interim coach Wade Phillips said. "Hes always making plays. Its tremendous the number of plays hes made ... that just says so much about him. And if you know him as a person, hes even better." This has been the most painful season for Johnson because the Texans were coming off consecutive playoff appearances and were expected to contend for a Super Bowl. Instead, they need a win at Tennessee on Sunday to avoid matching their franchise-worst record of 2-14 from 2005. If the Texans lose on Sunday, they will be guaranteed the top overall pick in Aprils draft. Johnson is the only player remaining on the team from the 2005 season. He has been with the Texans since their second season after being drafted third overall in the 2003 draft. He went through four losing seasons with David Carr at quarterback before the Texans picked up Matt Schaub and the franchise began to turn around. The Texans won back-to-back AFC South titles and looked to take the next step this season. But Schaub had the worst stretch of his career and was benched after six games in favour of Case Keenum. But the losing continued with the undrafted, record-setting University of Houston quarterback running the offence. Now it looks like Johnsoon is likely to be catching passes from another quarterback next season. Nick OLeary Jersey. Johnson isnt spending time worrying about Houstons quarterback situation, especially because the Texans dont know who their coach will be in 2014 after Gary Kubiaks recent firing. "You just have to wait and see what happens," he said. "You dont necessarily know if its going to be a rookie quarterback or a veteran guy. We dont even have a coach yet." Johnson is second in the NFL with 103 receptions in 2013 and his 1,358 yards receiving are fifth in the league. He tied an NFL record for most seasons with at least 100 receptions on Sunday, reaching the mark for the fifth time in his career. This Sunday he has a shot at setting another NFL mark. Johnson needs 142 yards to become the first player in NFL history to have at least 100 receptions and 1,500 yards receiving in four seasons. This is Johnsons seventh season with at least 1,000 yards receiving and he surpassed 12,000 yards for his career earlier this year. "I think the ultimate goal is to win and win the championship," Johnson said. "So I think the records and stuff like that is something youll look at once your career is over to see what youve accomplished since youve been in the league." Johnson will turn 33 this summer, raising the question how much longer hell be able to play at this level, and if time is running out for him to reach his goal of winning the Super Bowl. But this tough season hasnt dampened his optimism that Houston will turn things around next year. "You can make moves and put yourself into contention," he said. "There are going to be some decisions made this off-season with the new coach and everything like that. Hopefully, as an organization, well make some moves to put us in contention where we can go out and compete to hopefully win that Super Bowl." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org Cheap Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping Wholesale Jerseys 2019 Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys From China NFL Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '