Mar 7, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias (26) scores winning shootout goal against Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) at the Prudential Center. New Jersey Devils defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Why I Don’t Get Excited When The Buffalo Sabres Win One Point


Mar 7, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique (14) scores goal during the third period against Buffalo Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth (1) at the Prudential Center. New Jersey Devils defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

George Carlin once made a joke:  “Do you ever get that strange feeling of vuja de? Not deja vu, vuja de. It’s the distinct sense that somehow, none of this has ever happened before.”   Sadly, unless the Buffalo Sabres actually win the Stanley Cup this year, fans of the team will not be experiencing the phenomenon of vuja de.  No, for us it will be the all-too familiar feeling of déjà vu: been there, done that, watch the Sabres play good enough to tease, and that’s about it.

I’d like to be the first person come June to say he was wrong, but in order for that to happen, the Sabres have to make up a lot of ground in the standings.  Doing so requires wins, 2 points at a clip, which is why I get so angry whenever I hear someone actually celebrate the fact that the Sabres earned one point from an overtime loss like the Sabres did last night in New Jersey and Sunday in New York.  First of all, the Sabres were winning both games, and let them slip away.  Nothing good ever comes out of that.

Second of all, am I the only one who can actually do math any more?

Let’s assume the Sabres go 14-7-2 the rest of the season.  Generous, I know.  That record would net the Sabres 30 points, giving them 51 on the season.  Even if the Devils and Rangers only play .500 hockey for the second half of the season, they will each stand at point totals of 51 and 52, respectively.  Had the Sabres won each of the most recent games they played against these conference foes, those same records would result in point totals of 53 for the Sabres, 49 for the Devils, and 50 for the Rangers.  (That’s if the Sabres had won in regulation; shootout wins would create numbers of 50 and 51 for New Jersey and New York.)   So even a strong second half, coupled with two teams just playing okay hockey, probably won’t be enough to get the Sabres into the playoffs, due in some measure to these recent one point games.

This scenario is guilty of assuming two ridiculous possibilities, I know.  And lest we forget, the Sabres also still have to pass the Lightning, the Capitals, the Islanders, the Flyers and the Jets before they can even think about fighting for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.   Still – had the Sabres won their recent games against the Rangers and the Devils, they would have already passed the Capitals and the Lightning, and would be tied with the Jets, Islanders and Flyers as I write this.  Now do we think those two points the Sabres won are acceptable?

The way things are going right now, it appears less and less likely that the Sabres are capable of putting together an impressive 14-7-2 run to end their 2012-2013 season.  I’m aware of that, so this point isn’t important enough to lose sleep over.  Even so, I’m amazed every time a Sabres fan walks out of one of these shootout losses saying, “We earned a point, and that’s all that matters.”    If your wish is that the Sabres will make the playoffs, earning a point doesn’t matter.  Likewise, if your wish is that the Sabres will wind up picking early in the 2013 NHL draft, winning a point won’t do them any good in that regard, either.  Winning one point is actually pretty symbolic of the Sabres organization as a whole: good enough to get something, but solidly in the middle when the dust settles.  I don’t know about other Sabres fans, but I don’t aspire to be good enough for charity, which is what the one point the NHL gives out for overtime losses really is.  This is why I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, but as a numbers guy, I cannot help but view these one point games as nothing short of a loss.

Whether you agree, disagree, or have some choice words to say about my momma, leave your comments below or follow me @theaveragedick.  And try to leave my momma out of this!

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  • davidmuscalo

    No matter how you slice it, a one-point game is a loss; however, that really doesn’t matter because this team as constituted at beginning of the season was destined for last place. You can’t make the playoffs if you have a subpar defense even when you have a world class goalie.
    The offense has been adequate and has improved as of late with more scoring from the second and third lines, but the defense has been woefully helpless in preventing the loss a lead in the third period.
    Overall, the real problem with the Sabres is a lack of chemistry between the players. The only solution is to blow up the team and rebuild in a careful deliberate matter. To do so will require the acquision of capable talented GM.