SEASON PREVIEW, PART 2: The Smart Tweets, and a Prediction

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Remember hockey? It’s back.

This is what it used to feel like:

 

Then we were dragged through hockey hell…

 

Fan reaction happened. This was the smartest, in my opinion:

 

And now hockey is back, and in a wonderful new way:

 

Obviously, you can add Ennis to that old tweet.

A new era of Sabres hockey begins this weekend. A few big pieces of the old core (Pominville, Vanek, Roy, Stafford and Hecht) remain in the Blue and Gold, but the culture has vastly changed. Gone are Roy and Connolly, whose games brought plenty of flair but never struck any fear against the opposition.

Yes, the Sabres haven’t played a single game yet. But they look fearsome on paper. And don’t think for a minute other teams haven’t been reading up.

 

Remember the “Hardest Working Team in Hockey?” By far, that Ted Nolan led squad was not the most talented group of guys in the league, but they were fun as hell to watch. And they were a hell of a team to play against.

This year’s squad is an intriguing mix of – dare I say it – elite talent AND fear inducing grinders. Obviously, Vanek, Pominville, Ennis (possibly even Grigorenko) et al will put up the points. This team has never really been at a lack for goal scoring in recent years. The trade of Roy for Ott might seem like a swap of points for punches, but that is far too simple. That trade might be the centerpiece around what is really an entire culture change for the Sabres.

A return to a “Hardest working team in Hockey” mentality.

A return to a team that opponents fear to play against.

Yes, the Sabres haven’t played a single game yet. But they look fearsome on paper. And don’t think for a minute other teams haven’t been reading up.

  • Foligno
  • Gerbe
  • Kaleta
  • McCormick
  • Ott
  • Scott
  • Regehr
  • Weber

Darcy Regier has been slowly, quietly writing his roster on sandpaper. Ott is just the latest piece. The best part about this new “grit,” really, is that most of these guys can score. Foligno, Gerbe, and Ott can chirp, hit, and chip in their share of points. McCormick can score. Kaleta’s got offense.

These are the types of guys that make a team a nightmare to play against – they keep the opposition’s head on a swivel and help to keep the red light active all at once. It sure doesn’t hurt that they make it far easier for guys like Vanek and Pominville to play their game.

Hockey Heaven has some Hell on ice in store for the NHL for this go around.

hell on ice SEASON PREVIEW, PART 2: The Smart Tweets, and a Prediction

This is going to be a fun ride.

 

FEARSOME Prediction:

The Sabres will take the NE Division. They’ve got veteran scoring up front, and dynamic young studs like Ennis and Hodgson that are ready to come out and party. They are deep and seasoned corps at defense. They have a roster infused with former and current team captains. They have a (former) Vezina winning goaltender and a very capable backup. They’ve got two checking lines that can control the puck and the boards (or put it the puck in the net and the bodies into the dashers).

Most importantly, this is a team to fear. Last year’s late-season mantra of “We’ve got to take their will away from them” is going to be a lot easier this time around.

Badass.

I’m hoping that’s the word that sticks to Buffalo this year. That, and playoffs.

Give ‘em hell, boys.

Go Sabres.

 

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