Tyler Myers needs to do this about once every period of hockey he plays.
There is no one on the team who can currently go coast-to-coast, especially on the defensive side, quite like he can. A 6’7″ dude on skates obviously causes match-up problems, and his skating ability allows him to get back on defense should something terrible happen. It is plays like this that win you the Calder trophy and get you to the All-Star game. He doesn’t even need to shoot, just bring the puck up the ice like he was strapped to a rocket. Go young man! Explore the space!
The Sabres have managed to do the improbable. Since losing to the Florida Panthers on December 23rd, a game in which they lost their top center Roy, the team has won 12 of 18 and amassed 25 of 36 points. Thats almost 70% of their available points. Both Vanek and Stafford now have 20 goals or more. The Sabres have, for now at least, saved their season as they sit a game back of Carolina for 8th place in the East with two games in hand and three games head-to-head. Of the teams below 4th place in the standings, only New Jersey is hotter than the Sabres right now. They have also managed to get themselves back to even in the goal differential.
But those are just statistics. What is weird about the season so far is how the vibe has completely shifted. The first half of this season could easily be marked by apathy. Fans in HSBC arena seemed uninterested at times. The team on the ice in HSBC arena seemed uninterested at times. A collective yawn was the attitude towards this team. Since the news of a new owner broke, and since the 1st of the year, the mood has shifted somewhat. People are back in. People are picking favorites on the team. There is an energy about game nights that was completely lacking at the start of the season.
Beats the hell out of me where the change happened. Finding out that the billionaire who now owns the team you root for is really interested in winning championships might light a fire under the old caboose and put a little pep in your step. Combine that with a hell of a stretch of good hockey and solid play out of an old favorite like Vanek and you have yourself some entertainment.
The Sabres have fought awfully hard to get themselves back into the race here, but that is all they have done. Moves are being made around the NHL now. So what happens? Does Regier let it ride as is his M.O.? Does he move old has-been who ain’t helping the cause? Does he go and get someone? Does Pegual start passing out marching orders before the trade deadline.
I don’t know. For the first time this season I am very interested in finding out, and that has to count for something.