vanek:

Holding on.

The “r-word” has become the rebuild that has become massive, sweeping change.

Ruff, Pominville, and Vanek are gone. Ryan Miller is likely the next out the door. These are the big names that we held close to our hearts (and across our shoulders on nameplates) for many, many years. In their place, we’ve got something new – something that is in flux, something that shifts and changes faster than we can get a hold on it, something we’re looking forward to being a part of again in a year or two.

We’re new at this, and it’s not easy. We want to hold on to our guys. We aren’t very good at letting go (see: “FIRE DARCY” signs). Right now, we want to get a hold on our team for what it is, but we just can’t seem to figure it out what it is.

It’s hard to hold onto memories. And it’s hard to hold onto something you love so much when it is changing so fast – it’s as if we’re all trying to pick up our new toddler who keeps going “boneless” on us.

boneless Holding on.buffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/boneless-247x300.jpg 247w" sizes="(max-width: 370px) 100vw, 370px" />

Just try picking one of THESE up. You can’t.

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2013 Sabres Preview & Blogger Summit Recap

Oh the drama that was the Summer of 2013.

We said our goodbyes to Ryan Miller on the final game of last season (and Thomas Vanek), and continued to say goodbye to him (and Thomas Vanek) when he sold his townhouse, before the draft, after the draft, and are now preparing ourselves to say goodbye to him again (and Thomas Vanek) when this now incredibly young Sabres team is failing to find ground in the playoff race come the trade deadline.

Vanek Angry 2013 Sabres Preview & Blogger Summit Recap

You know you’ll miss his “Arrrgh I just hit the post” face. Or not. More on that down below.

And hey, we even tried to trade Drew Stafford, but that fell through, so… here we go again with another potential 30 goal season from that on again off mostly sniper. So our drama with him continues. Should be awesome. PROTIP: Go to the net, Drew.

Also, I was lucky enough to get the invite and find the time in my recent busy busy schedule to head down to the FNC to meet up with Craig Kanalley and a host of other fine Sabres bloggers for this year’s summit. A little more on that later. First, let’s talk expectations for 2013.

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Sabres wrap up Heroic Road Trip by Exploding into Tiny Bits

2

Things were going so well.

The Sabres were doing their playoff climb thing, roasting Western Conference opponents, while we sat back, sipping our White Russians and feeling quite cool about everything Blue and Gold.

Then Winnipeg slapped that drink out of our hands.

Our fan reaction hits around the 30 second mark of this video (NSFW). At least, this was the explosive reaction on the Twitter last night, as the Sabres fell to the Jets, who were apparently a team composed completely of  Brieres last night. (Seriously, even Chris Thorburn.)

WeGotHim 300x134 Sabres wrap up Heroic Road Trip by Exploding into Tiny Bitsbuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/WeGotHim.jpg 440w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

This, apparently, is the only way to stop "Superstar Blake Wheeler," according to the heavily doped-up-on-Canadian-donuts NBCNHL broadcast last night. Oh, and did you know Hodgson is from Vancouver? If you weren't sure we got him from that fair Canadian city, you learned it last night. Thanks for the Canadian fluff party, NBC!

Credit where credit is due: the Jets came out, well, flying, and never slowed down. They played every shift like their very playoff lives depended on it (which may turn out to be very true come seasons’ end) and their hard work and focus paid off for them.

As for the Sabres hard work and focus, well, it just wasn’t good enough. Say what you want about their gas tank at the end of a long Western Conference road swing, but they could not match the simple intensity of the Peggers in this one.

Focus. Intensity. Those are a couple things the Vanek-Roy-Pominville line completely lacked last night. Again, this line could not generate anything – even on a 3 on 2, with Ehrhoff pinching, the best this hapless trio could produce was a breakaway for the other team. Blake Wheeler took their 3 on 2 chance and took it back down the ice and roofed the puck over Miller for the game winner. Nice job, A-A-C line!

At least the godawfulness of this line was somewhat lost upon the pro-Canadian broadcasters. When Vanek put a pass a good ten feet and 3 seconds late behind a streaking Leino, the broadcast team broke from their discourse over how great the Winnipeg fans are to blame Leino for the errant puck. “Leino’s gotta’ skate harder.”

I think we’re all for blaming Leino for a lot of stuff this season, but c’mon Thomas, you’re getting your ‘mates thrown under the creepy Pierre McGuire bus now. FIGURE IT OUT.

A video synopsis of the A-A-C line. You choose which player is which. They are interchangeable in their comical crapshow right now:

 

A lot of us on the Twitter were hoping to see Lindy put Hodgson in between Vanek and Pommers for the thrid period – you know, because to win this game in regulation, we would need goals, and Vanek and Pommers have to be our go-to guys for that.

I had a strong hunch before that final frame that our famous line-juggling coach would do it. Strangely enough, Lindy sat pat, and the Sabres were destroyed.

Some fault might lie with Lindy there, but the most credit for this incredibly successful roadie goes to Lindy as well. His message of positivity and confidence has definitely reached the team. They accomplished a lot in this road trip, and are a relevant team fighting for a playoff berth right now.

Overall, good job, Lindy. Good job, Sabres.

If we can now get Vanek and Pommers going (COUGH-COHO-COUGH), we should be in good shape down the stretch.

Go Sabres.

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