I had the lines all setup, if the Buffalo Sabres fell into a 0-13 road record in their last 13 games; the District 5 cracks would have started to come out. And that is no crack to the actual District 5 hockey league in Minnesota. The Buffalo Sabres just seemed to be rolling over for their opponents. I could almost hear the coach of of the Hawks Jack Reilly in the heads of opposing coaches as they tell their players to stop celebrating, anyone can beat these guys and the score should be double.
While winning last night against the New Jersey Devils was a relief, it wasn’t a game you could put a lot of belief into. The lone Sabres goal was a gift from the hockey gods – but at this point, the team will take it.
This team has a long way to go. Carolina returns to the basement as the Sabres have games in hand, and an impressive tear has to occur for the Sabres to entertain hopes of a post season berth. At this point the effort seems futile. A low seed has never won the Stanley Cup, so turning it on now to enter the playoffs seems like delaying the inevitable. But miracles do happen.
There were plenty of positive signs in the game last night. Ryan Miller looked good enough to steal a game for the Buffalo Sabres, of course the Devils missed plenty of easy chances that the Sabres have been known for in this infamous stretch. Rome wasn’t built in a day – hopefully the team can build upon a gritty win in which they barely tested future Hall of Fame Goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Lindy Ruff called it after practice on Monday. This team needed a low scoring affair that Miller or Enroth could steal. Last night they got it. Kevin Snow of the Sabres.com is thinking of asking Lindy Ruff for the PowerBall numbers. I don’t think Lindy has the eye of the future – I think he merely understood that his struggling offense needed a win to help snap things into place. With the roster getting healthier, and a win to speak about – the weight in the locker room during the All Star break has to be somewhat lighter.
It wasn’t all bright moments at the Prudential Center, as fans in attendance were treated to a massively boring game, much the norm for Sabres and Devils affairs. The Sabres also lost Jochen Hecht again, a recurrence of concussion like symptoms has sent the German Winger back to the dark room in the hopes of saving the rest of his season. Might the bell be tolling for the 35 year old winger from Mannheim, Germany? He has been playing hockey professionally since 1994, and his only full season in the NHL came with the Edmonton Oilers in the 2001-2002 season. He’s only scored 20 goals twice in the NHL, and only has two 50 points seasons (neither coming in a year where he scored 20 goals). While he might still have some hockey left in him, the NHL might be a forboding place for the Sabres forward, as the DEL might be a better place for him to finish his career, a six year career for Adler Mannheim might be a great place for him to make one last go at a professional hockey season.
In addition to losing Hecht, the Sabres took a scare when Tyler Myers went off the ice, apparently being injured on the New Jersey Devils goal. The Sabres defensemen was able to return and finish the game.
The Devils were able to sniff a point out of the game, as they hold onto the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, now ten points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. While the Sabres are only five games out of the top eight, only Winnipeg and Ottawa have more games played than the Buffalo Sabres. With games in hand and games still left against those teams, the Buffalo Sabres could regain some ground in the standings. Last season’s Blue and Gold proved that a late season run could be magical, and the Devils themselves last year scared a few bottom feeders in the playoff picture. Turning around the season now would definitely make an interest end to what has been a pretty horrible season.
At this point its only one win amidst a lot of losses. We wouldn’t get too low on the team if they ripped off 12 wins in a row and lost the 13th, we would just want them to get back on the horse and win their next one. I won’t be holdling my breath for a winning streak, but the Sabres can attempt to put two in a row together since October on Monday when they finish the road trip in Montreal.