Sabres fans, this season may be more fun than you think

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 18: A general view of the 700 fans allowed in to see the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center on March 18, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 18: A general view of the 700 fans allowed in to see the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center on March 18, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /
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October is almost here. You can tell by the shorter flight of your golf ball, the chill in the air, and the premature decorations going up in the front yards of Halloween-obsessed neighbors. It also means another season of Buffalo Sabres hockey is almost upon us.

Remember the old days when the arrival of October filled us with joy? The anticipation of seeing the artistry of Gilbert Perrault or the superhero acrobatics of Dominik Hasek had us hopeful and excited.

Those days are long gone.

Over the past decade, watching a Sabres game has transformed from a relaxing hobby into a laborious chore. We endured the tank season, the season of the 10-game winning streak that was followed by 36 losses in 52 games, and last season’s 18-game losing streak. That was followed by the cornerstone of the franchise telling us he doesn’t love us anymore.

That’s a lot. And isn’t likely to end soon. Most, if not all of the experts are predicting the team will miss the playoffs for the 11th straight year, establishing a new benchmark for futility. But there are a couple of things to look forward to that might be fun. Well, “fun” might be a bit strong. Let’s say it has a chance to NOT be a soul-crushing recurring nightmare.

Yes, Sam Reinhart is gone. Yes, the Jack Eichel thing is a mess. Yes, the Sabres are on their 6th coach since Lindy Ruff. But here are some nuggets to nibble on that might inspire you to tune in this season. See if any of these taste good to you.

Dandy Don

New coach Don Granato showed us last year that he might be the real deal. He had the team skating circles around the Flyers a week and a half after he took the reins of a sinking ship. The team went on to get points in nearly half of their remaining games. It wasn’t great but it was at least watchable.

Casey and Tage

Under Granato’s watch, Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson found some chemistry together and played the best hockey of their careers. They should play on the same line again and strive for 20 goals each.

Captain Cozens?

Dylan Cozens dropped the mitts and came to the defense of a teammate twice as a teenaged rookie during a year in which his team was irrelevant for most of the season. That kind of character is hard to ignore and hopefully will be part of the fun this season.

The Right Rasmuses

Rasmus Dahlin was another guy who did much better under Granato. He is super slick with the puck when he plays with confidence. Maybe this year that confidence will stick and he can set things up from the back. Rasmus Asplund potted 7 goals in 28 games last season. That’s a 20 goal pace for a full season.

The Guys Want to Be Here

The trades of Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen are evidence that Kevyn Adams is dedicated to fielding a roster of guys that want to be a member of the Buffalo Sabres. As tough as it is to see Reinhart go, at least the guys that are left will be hungry to prove that being a Buffalo Sabre isn’t as bad as Robin Lehner and Taylor Hall say it is.

Back to the Regular Schedule

This year the Sabres play every team in the league again. Last season every game was against a playoff team from the year before, except the games against the Devils. This year should be an easier schedule.

R.J.’s Swan Song

Perhaps the most important reason to stay engaged this year is it will be our last chance to hear the call of the legendary Rick Jeanneret. His voice stands alone and hopefully, there will be tributes and retrospectives planned to show R.J. how much we love him.

Next. What does the latest Eichel news mean for the Sabres?. dark

See? There is some hope that it won’t be as bad as we have been told it will be. We shouldn’t expect to see any Sabres games in May or June but it HAS to be better than last year, right?

Please?