Fundamentally Beautiful

by Ryan

Sometimes you need a little luck to start something big.

Listen, we haven’t talked in a while and I know that’s no way to start back up again. I’m sorry, okay? Things have been weird and I’ve been reading too much High Fidelity and writing too much about high school basketball.

The truth is that I’ve been debating what exactly to write here these days. I haven’t enjoyed watching Sabres games and talking about bad hockey is much easier than writing about it because the conversation can quickly devolve into something else.

Perhaps I’ve been searching for that something else to write about, and the last few posts I’ve had wasting away in draft certainly confirm that. Reading High Fidelity got me thinking about relationships and why people crave change, and of course that led me back to hockey. A lot of people are unhappy with the Sabres, and instead of wondering why that is I felt we should talk about what will happen next.

With so much to talk about that isn’t happening on the ice, ownership and contracts and front office nonsense, what’s the point of watching a boring hockey team? Why bother spending money on tickets or overpriced beers to watch a boring hockey team that isn’t interested in showing up?

Now… while all that has come out 140 characters at a time, the Sabres have taken 15 of 20 possible points over the last 10 games. This is the time for that question I dismissed earlier: What does that mean?

To be honest, I have no clue. Some of it can be explained by an easier schedule, maybe a bit more is Drew Stafford playing well or Thomas Vanek being Atlas or Ryan Miller getting things together.

The answer you won’t get from me is that they are a good hockey team, but that isn’t the point right now. The Sabres are in a hole. In order to climb out of that hole they need to win a lot of hockey games and not lose as many as they have in the past. They are somewhat successful at this at the moment.

Other than that, I honestly haven’t learned much about this team. This was the year Chris and I thought would really tell us something about not only the team, but us as fans. We had a feeling that something special, something significant would happen here that we just couldn’t explain.

Part of our disappointment with the season is simply based on the inevitable letdown from this assumption: Nothing special is going on here. I thought part of my disenchantment with this season had do with how different my life is these days. The new job and missing entire games and a lack of a mini pack and all that.

But that’s not it. If I really wanted to, I could be just as involved in this season as any other, and I still have every game from Oct. 10 sitting on a very full DVR. My attachment has nothing to do with my life (yet) and everything to do with the product on the ice.

But here’s where I bring up that lede sentence I typed about 20 minutes ago with no real direction: Sometimes you need a little luck to start something big. Despite all the winning the Sabres have done lately, none of that really struck me until I saw tonight’s game. The last two wins, over Montreal and Boston respectively, have been really enjoyable.

That’s right, hockey has been fun this week. Cody McCormick is beating entire teams to the puck and scoring goals, Thomas Vanek is doing that “I’m not excited even a little” face when he scores goals, and Atlas, Ennis and Pominville combined for one of the more fundamentally beautiful goals of the season on Tuesday night. This is fun. This is what hockey is supposed to be, right?

Right. So let’s just go with that for now. Maybe I just caught the right pair of games, and the Sabres will probably fall short of a playoff spot and may have a new owner in a matter of seconds. Right now, however, the prospect of a full weekend of hockey is exciting because the Sabres are playing well.

There is something simple and maybe a bit too archaic about that point, but right now I’m sticking to that. As far as I’m concerned, over-thinking and second guessing can wait when Atlas is on his game.