I wish I wanted to talk more about the Islanders, I really do. I wish I had something insightful to say about the last 120 minutes of hockey the Sabres have played, but they played the Islanders, and so I do not.
The 2009-10 season is over a month old, and by and large the Sabres have played a big mess of boring teams. New York is only the beginning: Phoenix, Atlanta, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Florida have all found their way into the schedule in the first few weeks. We even saw a comically bad Toronto team, which certainly kills a bit of the intensity if you ask me. No one is happier about the Sabres’ fast start than I, but it was interesting to catch myself looking past these early October games and into the next month.
Put it this way: the Sabres had a good start against some noticeably weak, or just plain boring teams. Sure we saw New Jersey at The Rock, but they laid an egg. Same goes for Detroit a few weeks before. The only real fun anyone had was against Montreal, and we still have no idea what they are made of.
All that changes starting tonight. As the Sabres enter the first week in November, they enter the obstacle course part of the track. Twelve games in 24 days. Philadelphia three times. Boston twice. Ottawa. A bit of Western Conference play in Edmonton and Calgary. Over the next few weeks, we are going to see a completely different set of uniforms in our building and on our tv screens; and I think it’s going to make for better hockey.
What we hope is that we still see the same Sabres. We’ve seen good starts from this team before, but they need to maintain the level of play they’ve had over the first few weeks to keep it going against better teams. I have no idea if they will do that, but I’m excited nonetheless. I’ll be honest, I want to see them slip a bit. I mean, this team is dying for adversity. Miller has been so good, and the opponents have been so… boring.
I want to see tough games. I want to see drama. Most of all, I want to see how this team responds. November is going to be a tough month, but at the end of it we will know a whole lot more about this team than we do right now. As the days get colder we get to see flashes of this team’s reality. I’m excited we will have the chance to see those flashes against the Flyers, Bruins, and Flames.
We’ve been playing for weeks, but tonight it feels like real hockey starts now.