ADVERTISEMENT

Column as I see 'em:

• Mike Weber says they're a great team, soon to be “magical” again. Thomas Vanek called them a good team that “finds dumb ways to lose.” They're delusional. The Sabres are a bad team, quite possibly the worst team in the NHL at the moment.

The Sabres are in last place in the Eastern Conference and going nowhere. Ron Rolston, the interim coach, should acknowledge it by giving rookie Mikhail Grigorenko significant playing time. He put Grigorenko on the ice for six minutes against the Islanders. It should be at least double that.

The kid is the future; he might as well learn in games. It's not as if the veterans are setting the league on fire (captain Jason Pominville rose to the crisis by scoring one point in nine games). Rolston could move Tyler Ennis back to wing and put Grigorenko at center on the second line.

And Jochen Hecht, Lindy Ruff's pet, should be out of here. Hecht doesn't have a goal in 19 games and hasn't scored in his last 30 games as a Sabre. He was a nice player in his day, but he shouldn't be inhibiting the development of younger players.

• The Bills could keep Jairus Byrd for one year by using their $6.8 million franchise tag. But they should do all they can to sign their young free safety to a long-term contract. Byrd was their best playmaker on a bad defense a year ago.

He's a solid guy and a rising star. You can't let those kind of players get away.

I don't see them pushing as hard with left guard Andy Levitre, their other top free agent. The franchise tag for guards is $9 million, which is pretty high. It seems odd for the NFL to lump guards with offensive tackles in the positional salary structure.

• South Buffalo native Patrick Kane is near the top of candidates for the Hart Trophy. Kane is the leading scorer for a Blackhawks team that set an NHL record by starting the season with 17 games without a loss in regulation. At 24, Kane seems to have matured both on and off the ice.

• Joe Mihalich might not like it, but Niagara has established itself as the favorite going into the MAAC Tournament. The Purple Eagles stayed on top without leading scorer Antoine Mason. Now Mason is back and Mihalich's young, resilient squad is peaking at just the right time.

• The Yankees are hoping that the bulging disk in Phil Hughes' back is a short-term concern. Their starting rotation is old and fragile as it is. Michael Pineda is throwing, but isn't expected back until June at the earliest.

• Jessie Pegula, daughter of the Sabres' owner, tweeted her disgust with the team during Saturday's loss: “Let's just call a spade a spade. The Sabres are just really bad.” Jessie took down the tweet later. At least she had the guts to speak publicly, unlike her dad.

• Catch fences were strengthened after six fans were killed by debris in crashes less than a year apart in Indy Car races in 1998-99. But Saturday's horrific crash at Daytona proved that race fans can never be completely safe.

• Giving up goals late in periods is hardly new for the Sabres. They've allowed a goal in the final 2:50 of a period 13 times in the last 12 games.

• Kudos to coach Kevin McNamee and the St. Bonaventure men's swim team, which won the A-10 championship over the weekend.

• So which of our general managers goes out the door first: Buddy Nix or Regier?

email: jsullivan@buffnews.com