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Sabres’ Stewart says tanking isn’t in his ‘DNA’

Aug 25, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Chris Stewart, Anders Lindback AP

The Buffalo Sabres seem situated for a bright future if GM Tim Murray can make the right moves over the next season or three, but few expect much from them in 2014-15.

Chris Stewart isn’t that far removed from playing for a contender in the St. Louis Blues, so it’s not that shocking that he seems to bristle at “tanking” talk while discussing next season with The Hockey News.

“Look at the Colorado Avalanche two years ago,” Stewart said. “They were a last-place team, and they were arguably one of the best teams in the league last year. So the past is the past. You look at our team now and there are 13 or 14 new faces. So we come in and think of last year as an anomaly. There’s nothing we can do now. We can worry about the future. I hear everybody talking about tanking for Connor McDavid. That’s not in my DNA, personally. I was with St. Louis for four years, and we were Stanley Cup contenders every year. So that’s how I’m going to approach it. It’s playoffs or bust.”

If nothing else, the Sabres have a lot of players who should be motivate to prove that they belong in the NHL (or deserve big raises). Stewart’s $4.15 million cap hit is set to expire, yet he’s far from the only noteworthy player seeking a new deal; Drew Stafford has a lot to prove while both goalies Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth enter crucial campaigns.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget head coach Ted Nolan, a guy who knows all too well that opportunities shouldn’t ever be taken for granted in the NHL.

Ultimately, there’s only so much Stewart can do to avoid playing for a cellar dweller, but it’s easy to take his statements as more than mere platitudes.

Now, Buffalo’s front office? They might be OK with the idea of sacrificing this coming season for the future, even if they end up saying all the right things.

  1. ibieiniid - Aug 25, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    “Sabres’ Stewart says tanking isn’t in his ‘DNA’”

    Don’t worry, Stewart. You’re in Buffalo. You can learn.

  2. roblo76 - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    People need to get over this “tanking” nonsense. Pro atheletes don’t go out and lose on purpose so they can lose their job for that years hot-shot teenager.

    • ibieiniid - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      pro businessmen do.

  3. withseidelinn - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    What is the big deal with Stafford? 8 years in the league, former 13th overall pick and he has only scored 30+ goals once. Taking up $4m cap space………TRADE the guy!! Some sucker will pick him up hoping to unlock his old 30 goal form. If you can get a 3rd round pick for the guy it’s a steal. Free up room for young guns!!

    • shutmdownd - Aug 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      The problem is that they have to stay at the salary cap floor for the year, they will be going all in after the year is up but that 4 mil keeps them there for this year…

  4. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Tanking would bost likely come at the leadership level – the players the have and don’t have on the parent club.

  5. buddysguys - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Try your hardest Stewart….it still wont help us this year pal.

  6. mbogdan0 - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Nobody tanks a season. Especially guys looking for a new contract next year. Money is their #1 motivator whether they’ll admit it or not.

  7. bullwinkle88 - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    The Sabres don’t need to tank. They’re just going to be bad naturally regardless of what one or two players might think or say.

  8. ray2013 - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Trade him!

  9. shanekelleytx - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Players don’t take, management tanks by not signing a competitive team.

  10. hanspard - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    When I read a headline hinting that Chris Stewart might give less than full effort…it made sense to me. I’ve seen him do it on teams much better than this one.

  11. djshnooks - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    “You’re in Buffalo, you can learn?”

    How uninformed and stupid can you be?

    It wasn’t even 7 years ago the Buffalo Sabres were the most dominant team in the NHL, going from opening night to the last day with the best record, winning the President’s trophy…while Boston and Chicago were 2 of the worst teams in the NHL…teams like the Flames were good.

    But yes, Buffalo is a horrible team, and a horrible market…although they usually have better tv ratings than Stanley Cup finals teams, finishing dead last.

    Do your homework before you embarrass yourself, you misguided, uninformed fool.

    • ibieiniid - Aug 25, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      first off, I didn’t say anything about how good or bad of a team or a hockey market they are. not sure why you’re arguing those points with me (look up “straw man”). secondly, I wasn’t making any references to the past. I’ve watched hockey for about 20 years, I know what the Buffalo team is and has been.

      my point, though kinda masked, was that Buffalo seems penciled in to take this “title.” I’m addressing the fact that currently, Buffalo certainly has the capabilities to achieve their goal of first pick next year! HOORAY! Chris Stewart’s teammates (judging by the past 2 seasons) certainly look as though they’re going to teach this young man their ways personal brand of hockey, TANKING ALL YEAR.

      thanks for your rant tho. have a fun season, Sabres fan.

  12. zinger99 - Aug 25, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    And off he goes! A Buffalo fan bragging about a Presidents Trophy and their TV ratings! Oooooooooh! How impressive!!

    • shutmdownd - Aug 25, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      Yeah it is impressive that there are more than 15,000 season ticket holders and a waiting list 2,500 long, even though we are a “horrible team, and a horrible market” we still support our team, its a rebuild, we will be in good shape after this upcoming years draft…

  13. zinger99 - Aug 26, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Don’t separate your shoulder waving those pom poms.

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