Off to the worst start in team history and with an angry, agitated and frustrated fan base, the Buffalo Sabres players and management are scratching their heads with what has gone wrong to start the 2013-2014 season.
Saturday's lifeless 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche was just another dismal defeat at First Niagara Center where boos and Bronx cheers are out numbering and out-vocaling authentic cheers. the Sabres are 1-8-1 heading into Wednesday night's home game against the Boston Bruins, which is to be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
"It comes back to work," said head coach Ron Rolston. "There's no magic answer."
Rolston and his players do agree on one thing - frustration is building at a rapid pace.
"I don't know we are always nervous to start these games," said defenseman Tyler Myers.
Rolston blames it on preparation, especially from the team's veteran players.
"We got 18 year olds playing out there who are playing like they've been in the league for 20 years and we got veterans out there who act like it's their first game out of the gate."
The pressure is building - and rapidly on Rolston, his staff and general manager Darcy Regier.
"We got to figure it out together," Rolston said.
Once again the Sabres got off to a turtle-like slow start, being out-shot 12-0 before they registered their first shot on goal nearly 15 minutes into Saturday's first period. They ended the period being outshot 14-3 by the Avs and out-scored two to zip.
"It's like we are afraid to make mistakes," admits winger Marcus Foligno, who scored one of Buffalo's two goals. "It seems like we are shooting ourselves in our foot."
Saturday's game was like so many this season where the Sabres barely showed up in the first period and didn't come alive until deep into the second period when Cody Hodgson scored on the team's eighth shot on goal. Colorado, at that point had a 3-0 lead and 18 shots on goalie Ryan Miller.
"It's like we hit the snooze button," said defenseman Mike Weber. "We are giving guys way too much respect, especially in the first period."
Fellow defenseman Tyler Myers agrees.
"We can't wait any longer," Myers said. "This is pretty ridiculous and unacceptable."
The 1-8-1 Sabres are now off until Wednesday when they host the Boston Bruins on a nationally-televised NBC Sports game. It is the team's first long break of the season.
"Maybe a little re-grouping will be good for us," Myers said.