Introduction and Sabres Perspective for the Season so far
I thought the best way to introduce myself would be to share a little about myself and follow that with a season review to date.
I have been a Sabres faithful fan since the day I first stepped on Buffalo soil during March of 1988. The very first day my brother and I were asked if we wanted to play street hockey. What is that? By the time it took for us to properly hold our stick, we were hooked.
Instantly, and for life.
I was fortunate enough to have 2 parents that provided greatly for my brother and I, and very lucky to live in a neighborhood with our own pond, and with 2 or 3 players for the Sabres at that time, and they could not have been more welcoming to us.
So with that said, my goal is have to great discussion and sometimes debate about the team we all love to watch. I look forward to talking with all of you on the site.
With the Sabres enjoying the plush crowd elite of the East with the Capitals, Devils, and Penguins, it's interesting to think back on how this happened by thinking back to the free agent period prior to this season.
Rewind the clock approximately 6 months to July when the whirlwind of free agent madness began.
Sabres fans were dreaming, weaving a fantasy of big name players that they could possibly sign by dumping freeloading players cashing checks that their play had not fulfilled.
The suspects were innumerable : Hecht, Pominville, Lydman, Sekera, Stafford, Lalime, Tallinder.
All had either bloated contracts for their vanishing act like performances during part or all of the last 2 seasons, were players with the dreaded word potential attached that seemed to crash and burn after showing initial promise, or were players that seemed to be so on their last legs that people wondered aloud if the players had any legs left.
Each player was reserved a varying degree of venom from the Buffalo faithful.
Regier preached, as if it were his mantra, one word : patience.
That singular verb produced a sickening feeling in the stomachs of every Sabres fan.
How long was that going to be tossed around and how much more could the fans take?
Many fans called for blowing the entire team up. Keep Miller, and….and….and…?
Free agent after free agent was signed. Trades were made.
Buffalo sent out 2 press releases lauding the ?signing's of Steve Montador and Mike Grier.
A collective yawn has never been so deafening.
As fans of the former players teams (Boston & San Jose) piled on saying how little each player had left, and fans of Montreal jumped on to roast the laughable Sabres management as their team added more new pieces then a lego set, Sabres fans wanted to disown their love affair with the team. Forget a new jersey, or shirt, the apparel that everyone was reaching for was a bag to put over their head.
Now, here we are, deep into January, and the Buffalo Sabres are somehow, some way, fighting for first overall in the East.
If every Sabres fan was told that would be their position at this point in the season back in the summer, the response would have been, come again?
How are they doing it? With a no name defense anchored by a giant of a rookie, a depth of scoring that is, when healthy, 4 lines deep, and a team that can lock down leads late and win one goal games.
Many would say it is smoke and mirrors, including some Sabres fans.
They are the Sabres circa 1999 with Ryan Miller essentially having Hasek on the back of his jersey.
I would say that while you cannot deny Miller's importance, this team is eerily similar to the one that made that big run after the lockout.
The difference? I think this team might be better.
They are tighter defensively.
The most important difference of all?
This team very well may get better with an infusion of more talented youth next season, all while having all of their key players locked up in contracts that will not kill the team nor risk the players being lost to big dollars being offered elsewhere.
The window for this team being very good could be longer then most think.
About the Author
Written by William Brouillette