Last year at this point in the season the Buffalo Sabres were enjoying life on the high side, having cruised out of the gate to a 6-0-2 record, and looked like they might be able to shake off the year of missed playoff chances and excuses.
Several cold spells and injuries to Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek and the Sabres ended the season with the same results as the previous year, on the outside looking in, and making excuses for one or two missed points that would have had them in the playoffs.
It almost feels like a dreaded repeat as the Sabres have coasted to the top of the Northeast Division with a 6-1-1 record through the first eight games of the season.
But something does feel different. The same talk of “the system”, not wanting to lose two in a row, promises that Lalime will get his fair share of playing time, another year older, another year wiser.
To fans, the Sabres felt like losers again in the off season, not adding any “star” power to a roster of youthful wannabes that really didn’t have what it took to get over the proverbial edge. Mike Grier being the biggest off season acquisition didn’t really seem to fill the void in many respects that the Sabres were missing. And how could a disgruntled former employee come back and help anyways?
Oh, and how. With the Bills guiding themselves into another fruitless 7-9 Dick Moron season, the Sabres have once again wooed the city into falling in love with them after eight short games. It seems no matter how high the expectations, the fall does not seem to harm us. Maybe this year will be different, somehow, this year feels, special.