Niagara Gazette

Sports

October 24, 2013

Ted Black: Sabres staying the course this season

BUFFALO — As if the worst start in franchise history isn't bad enough, Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black braced his team's win-starved fans for potentially more tough times.

That's the message Black issued Thursday during his weekly show on WGR-AM, by emphasizing the Sabres' intention to stay the course in developing their prospects this season.

"When we're in a transition year like this, it is going to be difficult. It's going to be difficult to stomach the short run," Black said. "The fans that follow this team, they signed up for this team, they signed up for a rough road."

Rough as it has been so far, Black isn't shying from the frustration and criticism directed at management.

"I'm not going to go anywhere and hide under a bed and wish I didn't have to do this or that," he said. "I'm going to do my damndest to turn this thing around."

The Sabres are essentially at Square 1 after making the decision last season to overhaul an aging, high-priced roster.

At 1-9-1, Buffalo has surpassed its worst start to a season, previously a 1-7-1 start in 1993-94. They Sabres can't score, having managed two or more goals just four times. They've yet to score first, and have been outscored by a combined 14-1 in the first period.

And Buffalo can't even manage to get a lead. The team's one win came in a 4-3 shootout over the New York Islanders on Oct. 15, in a game Buffalo never led in regulation.

Otherwise, the Sabres have held a lead once, in a 3-2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, for a combined total of 9:35 of ice-time, which is by far the shortest span of any NHL team this season, according to STATS LLC. The Florida Panthers (3-6-1) are next, having held a lead for a combined total of 58:53.

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