A few weeks ago, there weren’t any ‘Big Games’ left in the Sabres’ season.
Sure, there were games. Too many, really, but nothing that stood out. If would have been better, most felt, If the season were closer to ending altogether. That way they wouldn’t have the chance to start winning games and screw up a nice, high, draft pick.
Then they went and started winning hockey games. Those bastards have all but screwed themselves in the draft — sure to be somewhere in the low double digits in early April.
Worst of all? They’re somehow fun to follow again. Darcy Regier made two strong moves at the trade deadline to reassure fans he doesn’t enjoy their suffering on a personal level. Very nice of him to do that.
Then they started winning games, in dramatic fashion to boot. Ryan Miller kept us up late all week not allowing goals, and the few goals the team scored came at all the right times. The playoffs, as incredibly insane as it looks, aren’t all that far off if they keep this up.
What bastards. I was all but done caring, then they made this hockey thing fun again. Now, they have ‘Big Games’ again, starting tonight in Vancouver. The points will matter, sure, but there will be some drama to boot. Zack Kassian will be wearing a dozen shades of teal and Cody Hodgson will center a line in blue and gold. New colors and old memories and all those things that make Hockey Night in Canada fun for us puck fiends below border.
There will be no glory in this so-called playoff run, if it does indeed happen. There will be scraps and close calls and lots of the stuff teams that won enough games in December don’t have to worry about.
But it will be fun. After all those games we watched numb, this trip to the left coast has reminded a lot of people that this team does have some fight, and excitement, left in it. Maybe it’s just Ryan Miller putting the team on his back while they search for some goals. Maybe it won’t last. What I do know is that tonight’s game is suddenly a ‘big’ one, and I can’t wait for it.