We are all expecting playoffs for the Buffalo Sabres in 2023-24, but head coach Don Granato left us with a much-needed reminder.
Heading into the 2023-24 season, winning is the definite expectation for the Buffalo Sabres, and head coach Don Granato agrees. Here is what he said earlier during his news conference today:
"“Winning is more of a personal mandate, and a mandate through the organization and the sense of a real emphasis.”"
Those should be encouraging words to Sabres fans everywhere, Thanks to their better-than-expected 2022-23 campaign, the Sabres have set the bar one rung higher for their fanbase this year, and at the absolute least, they are expecting a wild card berth. However, this isn’t all Granato had to say.
"“But, we’re not gonna lose patience. Just because we’re here. Just because we’re at the next level and that this is still a process. And it’s gonna demand patience, and not erratic, emotional decisions.”"
You can catch the full video of what Granato said to the media below.
The Buffalo Sabres need to be winning, but we as a fanbase must stay patient
During the summer, I remember writing a “Playoffs or Bust” post, which was more of a testament to the boldness and excitement the summertime brings. With the Sabres finishing with 91 points, you think to yourself that they really are closing in on their first playoff berth in 13 seasons.
Once the season rolls around, however, and you look at where this team is, you realize that, although the expectations are higher, the key is to get better, not make that immediate jump to the playoffs if they aren’t there yet. And this is what we should expect from the Buffalo Sabres in 2023-24 – just keep getting better, and be a better team than you were last season.
The Sabres can still realistically make the postseason…
This isn’t to say the team won’t make the playoffs, or that they are at least another year away. I feel they can realistically make it to the postseason when April 2024 rolls around if they step up defensively. If they fall short again, I’ll be disappointed, but I won’t be shouting that general manager Kevyn Adams should have made Blockbuster Trade A, or Blockbuster Trade B, or anything like that.
Instead, I’ll be looking at the hard numbers and asking the critical questions: Did the Sabres get better defensively? Were they able to keep up their high-octane ways? Did they get more consistent in 2023-24 and avoid three-week-long slumps? And most importantly, are they still accumulating more points than they were the previous season?
Therefore, it’s important to exercise patience here even if the Buffalo Sabres are done after 82 games, assuming they are in a better position than they were in last season. Granato is right to remind us that this is a process, and nothing should waver from that process, so long as the team’s arrow continues to trend north.