For the past two seasons, the Buffalo Sabres have stumbled out of the starting blocks, disappointed fans, and put them in a must win situation late in the year. The race for the playoffs this time of the year reminds us all that the NHL regular season is a marathon, not a sprint.
Buffalo sports teams are always given the nickname of “cardiac kids” because of what they do to their fans. Of course, at any point in the history of a team, most professional sports teams could be described as such. It led to me wondering today, what type of regular season would I enjoy more. A steady as she goes win more than lose on any given week of the year to maintain pace with the rest of the conference and ease into the playoffs in a comfortable zone. Then there is the bolt out of the gate, take charge sort of team that has no problem holding on to their division title despite how well everyone else is playing.
And then there are the second half Sabres, who seem not to care much about the regular season until after the holidays and nearer the All-Star game. This year the whole was the largest. Not since the early 1990s has a team come from this far back to enter into the playoff picture (and we are not there yet – were just in a holding pattern with a few games remaining). It has been one hell of an exciting ride, but a stressful must win situation for every game cannot be ideal as the team has to empty the tank just to get into the playoffs.
As a fan, I can’t complain about the energy that such a run builds, but at the same time, I would like to ensure that we are in the playoffs without worrying about the out of town scoreboard to help us out on nights when the Sabres are not playing, let alone when they are playing. While the regular season is a marathon, we must remember that the NHL season is run in two parts, the marathon of the regular season, and then the race of the playoffs. If you empty the tank all the time winning in the marathon, you will never have what it takes to win the race.