The regular season is finally upon us – and it starts tonight as the Buffalo Sabres faceoff against new division rivals – the Detroit Red Wings. I think Paul Hamilton says it the best in his opening article
when he states, as the team moves into the future, its impossible for me to know what we’re in for.
There are many new faces, and for some, a bitter sweet return to the ice in a blue and gold sweater. 159 nights ago – we watched Ryan Miller give his game worn sweater on fan appreciation night a more than lucky fan – not only were they getting a Ryan Miller – but it was supposed to be the last Ryan Miller.
That’s not the case, as you can expect Ryan Miller to start in the pipes tonight, as he gives the Buffalo Sabres the best shot of defeating the Detroit Red Wings.
The time for first impressions is over – training camp is complete, and the boys that showed up hoping for a future with this team – well it’s time to put on the big boy pants and show us that you can do it against the men of the National Hockey League.
For some – injuries paved the way to make the opening night roster spot a possibility. Corey Tropp will miss the first month of the season due to his broken jaw. Joel Armia will make his Buffalo Sabres debut later this season as he is out with a broken hand, and Marcus Foligno will start the season sidelined with an upper body injury.
The partial youth movement and rebuilt Buffalo Sabres are starting this season off with a new division rival, and a foe they have not faced all to often in history – the former Western Conference dynamo – the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit will join the Eastern Conference this year – so we will see if a lessened travel schedule for the “modern dynasty” will translate into even more post season success. Detroit enters the season looking to continue its post season appearance streak, an on going streak that has been going since the 1990-1991 season.
The pre season did not fair well for Detroit, going 3-5 in September, but when your main focus is playing in the summer, who cares what happens in September, correct? Starting the season sidelined with injury for the Red Wings is Darren Helm (lower back/groin), Patrick Eaves (mcl/ankle) and goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin).
Shutouts are in order when these two teams meet in the first game of the season. This will be the third such opening since both teams coexisted in the league, with the Red Wings winning the last matchup (1999) 2-0; and the Buffalo Sabres cruising to a 5-0 victory in 1975.
This is the first of four meetings between the two franchises this year. The final two games of the year come in the month of April.
Tonight’s game is being broadcast on NBCSN – so if your looking for RJ – tune into WGR550. Pregame coverage starts at 7PM, with puck drop at 8PM.