Not a pretty record 4 games in, and if you believe in the October 15 point rule, our season may already be over. Of course, this is pretty much exactly what we expected heading into this rebuilding season/era.
If there is a silver lining to this early season meltdown, it’s that the Sabres have managed to keep games close on the scoreboard against some very good (and one pretty average) teams. They seem to be improving, and moving from terrible to somewhere between terrible/competitive.
What fans want out of this team, this season, is pretty simple. They don’t want laser watches, really. The weird organ at the FNC has been mostly a disaster according to the social media chatter I’ve seen. The goal song seems to be popular among the fans, at least those who consider sourcing the hockey discography of 1997 to be inspired or innovative. The 3rd jersey is an admitted “turd burger” (via Team President Ted Black on WGR). Still, all of this means nothing to a fanbase embracing a winning product.
The most frustrating part is that in no way did this fanbase expect a winning product this season. A competitive team? Consistent/extant goal scoring? Rookies and veterans that can play hockey against other hockey players? The Sabres haven’t iced much of any of this.
Again, they’ve showed signs of progress. They’ve moved from terrible into terrible/competitive.
It is important to remember that the season is young, and the team is very young. It’s important to remember that we are in a rebuilding project, one which is leaning towards more of a long-term effort. It’s important to remember that this 0-3-1 record is what was expected, give or take a loser point or two.
It’s the kind of competition fans have begged for, for years: “Get rid of those bums and inject some new energy!” You know the all the narratives. Well, most of the bums have been shipped out, and we’ve got five rookies (Grigs/Girgs, Larsson, Pysyk, Ristolainen) on the ice right now (plus Zadorov and plausibly even Armia in the waiting).
Goals sure as heck would be fun. Winning more games than zero would be a good thing.
But right now, it would seem the real competition the Sabres are facing this season is amongst themselves – for ice time.
It’s a rebuild.
And it’s what we all expected.