Press Play

by Ryan

You can’t replicate pressure.

After the greatest social experiment of our time, it’s time to really bring it. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

If you really want my analysis it’s pretty simple. The Sabres have been playing under pressure for months. The playoffs have been on the line, and they’ve been playing pretty damn well under that pressure.

Philadephia on the other hand, is much different. The Flyers have been all but assured a spot in the postseason for months. They’ve downright coasted down the stretch with a 3-4-3 record in their last ten. Weighed and measured they have not been.

Pressure, whether physical or mental, is impossible to properly replicate. That’s why diamonds are worth more than cubic zirconia; as close as it is you just can’t clone the process. The same goes with writing on deadline or singing on stage or any of those pressure situations that are often more mental than anything.

It is statistically impossible for the better team to win every playoff series. It is also impossible to measure just how different playoff hockey is. The pressure the Sabres have been under over the last two months qualifies them for cubic zirconia. It’s close, sure, but it’s a good two points off the hardness scale to the real deal.

The Flyers are a far more difficult team to measure, but they were in the Sabres’ skates this time last year. Buffalo says it has learned from its mistakes last season, but the team that adjusts to the pressure first will have a huge advantage in this series.

Someone get Mohs on the horn, the experiment starts now.


  1. brian s.

    I think that the way you said “It is statistically impossible for the better team to win every playoff series” isn’t exactly accurate. Dealing with the pressure of the situation is a big part of being a great team. I think the most talented team doesn’t win every playoff series would be a better way to represent it.

    But I do agree with your sentiment and think that Buffalo’s having to deal with making the playoffs over the past months helps them out. However, I think Philadelphia making their huge Cup run last season also shows that, outside of their goalie since Leighton is now 3rd string, they are capable of dealing with pressure themselves. Let the games begin.

  2. Mike

    Again, it’s a matter of what “better than” is. I hate to be such a relativist, but such labels aren’t really useful. A subjective approach is so much better suited to sports. I had the same complaint back in November and December when Corey said that the Sabres are a bad team. Are they? Clearly not. What changed? Besides Brad Boyes, they just plain started playing better. There are a whole variety of things that contributed to their better play, most of which is hard to quantify, but it doesn’t stop people from trying. One of the best things about Ryan’s writing on this site is that he frequently doesn’t try, but enjoys the totality of the experience and tries to find meaning out of it, which I appreciate. Other bloggers also have this approach, like Hockey Rhetoric for one. But I find it’s the best way of addressing the Sabres.