It seems that with each passing day, the closer we get to September 15th, the more likely the league will not start on time this season, or at all, leaving the Buffalo Sabres, Terry Pegula, and Hockey Heaven stuck in the lurch like a car stuck between gears.
You see, a season and a half ago, Terry Pegula promise a Cup in three seasons. Was he counting February through June of his first season as an owner, even though it only encompassed a part, albeit the better part of the season?
With 2011-2012 being the first full campaign under the new regime in Buffalo – a lockout on the horizon seems ready to derail any efforts the Buffalo Sabres have of making a splash into the post season pond.
The Buffalo Sabres were the benefactors out of the last lockout, giving us two great seasons before the wheels flew off the wagon and the fans were left picking up the pieces – for many the wounds have still not healed. Could the Buffalo Sabres benefit from another work stoppage?
Many think the Buffalo Sabres would have made the playoffs last year, a bad start out the gate an a slew of injuries to major players kept the team at arms length of the final sixteen in 2012. This year it appears that sneaking into the playoffs could be the norm again for the boys in blue and gold. The Hockey Writers have the Buffalo Sabres finishing just seventh in the Eastern Conference, good enough for a playoff berth, but will that be good enough for a run for the Cup?
Given the fact that the Buffalo Sabres should have finished higher, and many have graded their off season moves as high (Remember Derek Roy for Steve Ott – huge!).
The Buffalo Sabres have to be better in 2012-2013; and that is if there is a season. If the lockout takes the form of such a monster that they need an entire year to bridge the wide span between the NHL and the NHLPA – the full second year of the reign of Pegula will be put on hold.
A partial season could play into the Buffalo Sabres hand better, they would need a jump start out of the gate, but the “second half” Buffalo Sabres could use just the shortened season to make a shortened run to the Cup worth it.
Will a Stanley Cup win in a shortened season be any less sweet than a Cup win after the full slate of games? Sure – the argument is there that only the best put together team can manage the wear of an 82 game schedule and then win sixteen more times to get to the wear the title of champion. Ask the New Jersey Devils if their 1995 Stanley Cup means less to them because of the 11th hour season savor that gave them the Cup after a shortened season. Didn’t think so, and I don’t think anyone in Buffalo would complain if the Blue and Gold brought the hardware in a shortened season.