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Maple Leafs - Sabres: Game Preview and New Beginnings

The Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the first game of the Ron Rolston Era for the Buffalo Sabres. He couldn't have asked for a better first opponent.

"Oh, *I'm* a joke now?!"
"Oh, *I'm* a joke now?!"
Stuart Franklin

Buffalo Sabres

@ Toronto Maple Leafs

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013, 7:00 PM EST
Air Canada Centre

Broadcast: Sportsnet Ontario
Toronto Maple Leafs Tickets

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The Maple Leafs will have the honour of kicking off the Ron Rolston Era as the Buffalo Sabres, freshly shorn of their ridiculous moustache, parted ways with Lindy Ruff yesterday. The move was a huge surprise because Lindy had been virtually untouchable either because of the all-world play of his goalies or his close relationship to a GM that had a similar aura of infallibility or because the ownership was such a clownish mess until Terry Pegula came around. Although, it appears like Bucky Gleason may have had an inkling of what was coming down the pike.

The Sabres missed the playoffs six times in 14 seasons under Regier and Ruff, matching the DNQ total for Buffalo in all other seasons combined. They've missed three times in five years. They skated into Saturday's game against the Islanders in second-last place in the conference after a 2-6-1 stretch that was 1.9 seconds from being worse.

Well, that obviously ignores a lot of context which would reflect differently on the situation.

In truth, his affection for the Sabres, while admirable, has worked against him. They needed a cold, distant evaluation that would have revealed changes were in order. Members of his inner circle told him to clean house. Instead, he became smitten with Regier and Ruff. He embraced status quo and, with that, accepted mediocrity.

It's not how Stanley Cups are won.

And it's not how credibility is built.

Well, can't cry about the status quo anymore. There's going to be a lot of introspection about where the team is going but for now, they're lining up against the Toronto Maple Leafs. There's probably no better way for a Sabres' coach to start their tenure.

Favourite Lindy Moment?

Tonight's Lineups

Toronto Maple Leafs

James van Riemsdyk Tyler Bozak Phil Kessel
Leo Komarov Mikhail Grabovski Nikolai Kulemin
Jay McClement Nazem Kadri Clarke MacArthur
Frazer McLaren David Steckel Mike Brown

Dion Phaneuf Korbinian Holzer
Carl Gunnarsson Mike Kostka
Mark Fraser Cody Franson

Ben Scrivens
Jussi Rynnas

Buffalo Sabres

Tomas Vanek Cody Hodgson Jason Pominville
Marcus Foligno Tyler Ennis Drew Stafford
Steve Ott Jochen Hecht Nathan Gerbe
John Scott (LOL) Kevin Porter Patrick Kaleta

Christian Ehrhoff Alexander Sulzer
Robyn Regehr Tyler Myers
Mike Weber TJ Brennan

Ryan Miller
Jhonas Enroth