It’s close to 4 a.m. and I’m re-watching the Sabres lose pretty badly to the worst team in hockey.
I’m doing this because I’m (mostly) a masochist, but also an insomniac that watched it the first time at a Buffalo Wild Wings where Miller Lite girls tried to get my girlfriend and I to buy terrible beer. Maybe it didn’t look so bad outside the haze of commercialism and over-sweetened Coke Zero.
Nope, still bad.
The Sabres are playing pretty poorly right now. This much is pretty obvious, highlighted ever-so-gracefully by Marc-Andre Gragnani’s impressionist dancing in the defensive end at the moment. It’s a stunning display of dissonance I haven’t seen on a frozen surface since The Little Mermaid on Ice played at the Niagara Falls Convention Center. Which was turned into a casino in 2003, if you’re not getting the joke.
Friday’s game was especially bad because it made you aware of all the other bad things going on in the world these days. The broadcast sounded worse than usual, and your Black Friday horror stories are just sad when Danny Gare grabs the mic and starts using plural personal pronouns.
The goal where Rick Nash finished an easy tap-in as Corey Tropp (nine career NHL games), T.J. Brennan (two career NHL games) and a woefully ill-positioned Drew MacIntyre (four career NHL games) looked on sums it up pretty nicely. Buffalo has a metric ton of injuries and is rolling a very inexperienced roster, starting squarely between the pipes. They didn’t come to play Friday night. Now while it’s cute to blame the turkey and yuck it up, as long as Miller and Myers and Ennis are eating press box hot dogs we’re likely to see some pretty bad hockey.
“So what?” says the laid back Sabres fan I just invented in my head. (He enjoys freeform jazz and good scotch. Fake Twitter account to follow)
Well, new friend, good point. Sometime in the future, the Buffalo Sabres will be good again. They’ll probably get healthy and win a few games and all this nonsense in Columbus will be forgotten. I look forward to one day living in that world. Still, I can’t get over how interesting (read: insane) these opening 22 games of the season have been.
Buffalo has 10 losses total and it feels like every single one of them had its own mushroom cloud and nuclear fallout. As one media member put it last week, the Sabres just can’t lose easy. They have to blow two-goal leads and get injured in freaky ways. Maybe it’s the magnifying glass fixated on the team this year but each game feels like an outright disaster. Ryan Miller is a mess, they can’t do anything right at home and not a single player on the roster appears to be ‘worth’ the money they make.
“But they stood their ground and answered the bell!” answered Kyle Smith, database specialist and father of one from East Amherst. (I’m getting better at this imagining thing…)
This is true, Mr. Smith. Adorable baby pictures, by the way. However, all of that aggression and general rowdiness they had against the Bruins wasn’t on the ice in Columbus. More than once during Wednesday night’s postgame interviews it was mentioned the Sabres could win a lot of games if they play like they did on Wednesday. Perhaps they only plan on winning the last four games against Boston this year.
If you’re searching for a theme to this post, good luck. Sadly it’s as aimless as the Sabres have been this year. They’re a schizophrenic bunch right now, full of head cases and erratic movements and decisions that lead to decidedly uneven hockey. So be it. We’ll keep watching and things will change soon enough. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, though.
This thing is a marathon, and although they’re far from out of the race it’s been a mighty strange first quarter if you ask me.