We need to be OK with this.

WE CAN’T GET PAST THE FIRST ROUND.

WE CAN’T GET PAST THE FIRST ROUND.

WE CAN’T GET PAST THE FIRST ROUND.

(Repeat ten times, in total. Or maybe eleven. Depends on your Sabres calandar.)

WE WILL NEVER GET PAST THE FIRST ROUND.

WE ARE CURSED.

THE JIM LORENTZ BAT CURSE.

TRADING DANNY GARE CURSE.

DRAFTING SEILING INSTEAD OF BOSSY CURSE.

TRADING MIKE FOLIGNO CURSE.

TRADING ALL THOSE GUYS CURSE (seriously, Lindy to the Rags for a 2nd that became Smehlik? That’s HERESY).

#BEACUASEITSBUFFALO CURSE.

Sound familiar? It should. Losing hockey teams have a lot in common: key players go to better rinks, and so the fans evoke the good ol’ Hockey Gods, and all the ridiculous curses. Oh wait, I forgot one:

EVERY TIME I WATCH/ATTEND/THINK TANGENTIALLY ABOUT A GAME, WE LOSE.

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Yet we watch. No matter how murderous the play on ice becomes… we watch. Do they have therapists for cities, because daaaamn we need one.

To spare your eyes, I’ll take the all caps off for the rest of this post.

Oh, and it gets much more optimistic. Think you can handle that?

Oh, how we are all popping off lately about The Presser, and how the media/fans/team hate each other. If you want to read about that sad (yet wholly gratifying Buffalonianesque defeatist dialouge), check out the wonderful posts over at The Roost and Dear God Why Us Sports.

We also have amazing work on advanced stats by Two in the Box, and heeeeeey MSM shout-out, pretty much anything Matthew Coller writes about the Sabres at WGR.

But where are we, really? The same place we’ve always been. For old timers, the so-called 10-11 year “1st round exit streak,” (link to follow) that was finally and mercifully ended by the octopus/May Day goal, was a Big Thing. For the newly “suffering” (to reference a hot takes verb from the recent presser), the current cure will be when this team makes the playoffs. Oh yea. We live hockey.

And please, we need to be OK with the Hull goal.

And I thought we had it bad back then. 1981-1992: 8 losses in the divisional semis. 1 divisional semis victory. 2 playoff misses.

We’ve had the French Connection. Hasek and Peca. Briere/Drury and 05-07. We’ve had genuine shots at this Cup thing. We’ve lost. We need to be OK with that.

We need to be OK with that.

And please, we need to be OK with the Hull goal. That was a gorgeous, clutch hockey goal. If not for that damn stupid skate-in-crease rule, we instead would be talking about how we lost a Stanley Cup series because one of the most infathomable goaltenders in history was beaten by one of the most glorious snipers in history. And so it should be. Why can’t we have it that way? We deserve that honorable loss. But we don’t have it. We don’t let ourselves embrace the hockey lore, the simple beauty, of that loss. Damn. It was an amazing play.

#BecauseItsBuffalo.

The griping needs to stop. The whining needs to stop. The entitlement (“We have no championships*, we are a great fan base, season tickets and TV ratings!”) BS needs to stop. This is getting embarrassing.

Did I mention a curse? Maybe we’re just cursing our own team, and our own selves. (ProTip: we are.)

Like I said, we’ve been here before. This is nothing new, nor is it new for any sporting town in need for a championship. The remedy for our ills is simple. It’s a choice: hope for the best, or not. Either way, enjoy the games. Cheer. Root. It’s OK to enjoy a magical Vanek pass, or an indefensible #VanekSlapshot. It’s OK to cheer Ryan Miller in the stands. It’s OK to cheer, period, just as it is OK to sit comfortably and enjoy your cheezy nachos in humble hockey arena-church silence.

The remedy is yourself. Make the experience the best experience possible, by doing YOUR thing. At the end of the day, it’s a hockey rink, folks. I know we all want a bigass trophy. But it’s a hockey rink. So have fun.

We can be eliminated from the playoffs in the 1st round. We can all throw fits over the post Briere/Drury era. We can buy into those narratives, and all the many more to come.

Or we can maybe, just maybe, enjoy the game for what it was meant for: goodtimes. Just don’t try to hold me hostage in your “gotta’ win NOW” narrative. It just doesn’t happen that way. Not for the small town Sabres, heck, not for any pro team. We will celebrate victory when it happens. Until then, enjoy the path towards that goal.

I, for one, cannot wait for next year.

I hope to see you there in the stands. Whether cheering, or enjoying nachos, it’s not painful exercise.

Go Sabres.

*Sorry AFL Bills, apparently you don’t count. #BecauseIts… well you get the idea.

 

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Posted in: NHL, Sabres

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