Before the puck dropped to commence the Sabres season on Thursday night, star center Tage Thompson penned an open letter to the City of Buffalo.
If you haven’t had a chance to read Tage Thompson’s open letter to Buffalo and Sabres fans across the globe, now is a good time to check it out. Unfortunately, the Sabres wilted not long after Sabres.com published the piece in their season-opening loss to the New York Rangers, but the letter itself is nonetheless an inspiring one.
It shows us that, regardless of the obstacles in place (and Thursday night’s loss showed us there are some), it’s a foregone conclusion Tage and the Sabres will overcome them. We know this because for one, the Blue and Gold made a living at it last season, or else they wouldn’t have exceeded expectations. For another, one portion of that open letter tells us that this is a different Sabres team from 2022-23, as the following states:
"“I can promise you two things about our group: that nobody has higher expectations than the people inside our room, and that we are embracing our situation.”"
Source: Dear Buffalo | A letter from Tage Thompson, via Sabres.com
Last season, the Sabres may have achieved more than everyone expected, but they also disappointed an entire city and fanbase far too many times. Last October, they once again surprised everyone with a successful month, before they repeated what they had done over the past half-decade – collapsed after a successful run the following month.
Buffalo Sabres of 2023-24 won’t be overthinking expectations
Back in late February, the Sabres looked like they were on their way to a wild-card berth, only to struggle through arguably their worst stretch of the season at the worst possible time in the first three weeks of March. The Blue and Gold never seemed to be comfortable playing on their home ice all season, and often, the team looked like they were trying to do too much and overthinking simple things.
Still, though, they finished with 91 points, just one shy of making the playoffs for the first time since 2011. This is still a young hockey team, and the youngest in the league at the moment, but they’re also a young hockey team that knows a thing or two about what they are capable of.
Their blowout loss two days ago was nothing to get excited about, but even the best NHL teams suffer through them. In fact, this is the time of the year when YOU WANT to take those bad losses, since the NHL season is an 82-game marathon, and not a 17-game sprint. And since Tage’s words will hold water, this young, but more experienced Sabres team will make it a point and a privilege to figure this thing out.
They know overthinking and failing to simplify things doesn’t create a recipe for sustained success, and it’s something they learned last year. But by embracing the expectations and obstacles that come with them, it changes the overall mindset, and it’s why you will ultimately see a better Buffalo Sabres team this season.