Get ready: the 2014-15 regular season is about to begin.
For the Sabres, the players have been selected, the captains have finally been named, and the playoffs are the goal. The Sabres’ playoff odds as seen from the rest of the hockey world? Well, c’mon.
We’re going to lose a lot of games.
Here’s the problem: while we will be joyous for the draft odds, at the same time, we will be miserable. We will want a losing team to secure one of McDavid or Eichel in the upcoming draft, but we’re going to want to have fun, to be loud, to get wins, at least at home. We’re going to want to be entertained.
And what is home these days, exactly? The Pegulas bought this team with a singular goal to win the Cup(s). A locker room was built. A Cup-board was built. Hope was established, and for the first time in perhaps the history of the franchise, it was real. HARBORCENTER began construction. Meanwhile, the team on ice failed, and it was painfully, piece by piece, dealt away. Doubt took its familiar root in our souls, and the FNC turned solemn and quiet.
Because losing sucks.
We’ve been focusing on that initial instant-Cup-delivery failure (if it’s truly fair to call it a failure, which it’s not), and then putting so much more focus on hope for yet another even more horrendous season in order to draft a generational savior. With all that on our minds, we may forget that it’s OK to root for the guys on the ice this year.
Don’t root against them. Don’t get ahead of yourselves, Buffalo. Don’t boo. Don’t stay quiet.
We’re going to lose – a lot – but it doesn’t have to suck. It’s time to get up and herald what we have, and what is coming.
Cheering is awesome.
Cheer for the guys who came here to help lead our youth. Cheer for those kids, trying not to make a mistake in front of you. Trying to win a game. Cheer for that win. You can chose instead to sit, cross-armed and silent, maybe a little belligerent about how former and/or current ownership put a stink in your arena beer. That’s a stubborn choice, but I get where you’re coming from, if you choose to stick with it. We’ve been stuck for a while. Blame the GM, the Rigases, the city, the Ruff Era, Danny and Chris, the “enigmas,” or even blame the fax machine. But after all that blaming, we’re still stuck in this together.
Eventually it’s going to be up to each and every one of you to unstick yourself from your seat, and give a cheer. Make as much noise as you dang well please. It won’t make a difference, really, in the final score. We’re going to lose – a lot – but it doesn’t have to suck. It’s time to get up and herald what we have, and what is coming.
The Cup-board is empty, but the incoming prospects can very well change that. Let’s help give them a rousing start this season, through all the peaks (and mostly) valleys.
Let’s have some fun. Let’s get unstuck.
And, of course, a big ol’ get well soon to our beloved Buffalo legend, Rick Jeanneret – the man who always can find a way to make everything feel fantastic. As he has said many times: “PLENTY MORE COMIN’ UP IN A MOMENT!” Perfect advice, really, for fans of a young team just about ready to explode.