There’s nothing like a fast start to get the hopes of your fans up. An opening day win against the fearsome Philadelphia Flyers, followed by a determined victory on the road against the fresher Toronto Maple Leafs, caused Buffalo Sabres fans everywhere to start dreaming about success– “Ryan Miller’s back! We’re going to go deep into the postseason!” “The Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson line is going to be the best on the Eastern coast!” But now, after four straight losses, reality is staring Sabres fans in the face.
And it’s a bitch.
The offense is struggling to score. The defense is inconsistent and has failed to clear the puck away from the net too many times so far this season. The goaltending has been pretty good . . . when there’s a guy named Ryan Miller in between the pipes (although that game-winning goal he allowed last night against the Leafs – come on!). Raise your hand if you’re excited to see Jhonas Enroth in goal any time soon? Put your hand down, Jhonas. Anyone else? Okay then.
Compounding our increasing sense of despair is the fact that Sabres owner Terry Pegula and GM Darcy Regier told Buffalo fans that they were on a three-year plan to bring the Stanley Cup to Buffalo. There’s a fine line between convincing your fans that you are serious about winning a championship, and writing a check your mouth cannot cash. If the Buffalo Sabres truly think they have a team that can win the Cup this year . . . well, then, I’d like to hear their answer to this week’s question:
Can The Sabres Get Close to .500 By The End of This Weekend?
The Sabres will play three games in four days: Thursday at the Boston Bruins; Saturday at the Montreal Canadiens; and Sunday hosting the Florida Panthers. If they Sabres can win two out of these three games, they will be sitting at 4-5 with nearly 20% of the season already played! (18.75, to be exact.) Obviously, winning all three would be the best scenario, but that’s not going to be an easy task with so many games so close together. And even though 4-5 would not be a good record, by any stretch of the imagination – and certainly not as good as we were hoping – it’s a record the Sabres can overcome. If they fall to 3-6, or worse, 2-7, I find it hard to believe the Sabres will bounce back and make the playoffs. (Unless Regier goes fishing for a true number one center, that is, which is the drum I’ll be banging until the Sabres do it just to shut me up.) Overall, and in almost every aspect you can discuss, the Sabres look like a team that will not be making the playoffs. Unless they get consistency from all areas, something they have not yet done this year, this three-year plan will be more like “One playoff run and done.”
It’s too early for me to open my big, non-playing mouth and say that Thursday’s game against Boston is a “must-win” . . . so I’ll let you guys leave a comment below, telling me if that is the case. All I know is I’m looking for a hungry and determined Buffalo Sabres squad to come out of the tunnel at TD Garden tomorrow night.