Well, I came on strong in my last blog but the criticism is, and was, well deserved. As I have told you before, I love this team. I do not have allegiances to any other city. The Bills and the Sabres are what I was brought up with, and my family taught me to be loyal with our hometown clubs through thick and thin. The agony of a Buffalo sports fan is a badge of honor that we endure. Head high, and wear it like it is a privilege. Just like most of the chest pounding readers, I am a die-hard Bills mafia supporter too. I tune in to every kickoff, and I will embrace the day when they finally bring us a championship in the modern NFL. It would be egregious for me not to mention our boys, who will battle for the AFC East championship in Miami on Sunday night. This is huge. The adversity that has been trampled to bring them to this point is admirable. You have to put aside middle of the season emotion, and appreciate that they have gotten to this point. It wasn’t easy or pretty, but we are there. A chance for home games as the number two seed could not be a better situation. Trust the proverbial process. This team has been taking us for a ride. Thanks boys, do us proud under the lights with a heavy presence of your fans. To all of the loyal supporters making the trip south, I applaud you. Let’s chase some ghosts, lets make a few teams quake as they step on to our turf for the playoffs.
Back to the Sabres.. Very nice win against Montreal. Levi played his keester off and we finally got a few power play goals. It is about time. I have been harping on our special teams, the coaching has not been good enough. I understand that we had various injuries early in the season, but you have to overcome that with a system, and evaluating your immediate opponent on the schedule. We are where we are because of our top six production, and inefficiency on the man advantage. This should have been addressed while the losses piled up early in the season. We lack innovation, we do not come up with concepts that break down the traditional four-man box. To think that you could live off the perimeter one timer, after abusing it last year, is a blind thinking at best. We got figured out.
Management has made some huge miscalculations. We are not a surprise to anyone anymore.
It is apparent that we do have a skilled roster that can win with the proper motivation. What perplexes me, as I am sure it does to anybody who follows this team, is that we can’t sustain any kind of winning streak. I understand that we have not been fully healthy since the beginning of the season, but other organizations find a way to stay the course and string together victories. We stymie great squads, and get crushed by the weak. We are so unpredictable with our effort, and we as fans have paid dearly wasting time tuning in. Please give us some hope. The win one and lose one thing is a disturbing trend. At this point it is not a coincidence. It is not a pattern for success for the Sabres to entertain making the playoffs. Nobody can figure the blue and gold out. Are we climbing or repelling? Are we on the precipice of greatness, or have we descended into the bowels of calamity? Does our owner or general manager have a clue? Can our head coach conquer January and February with healthy bodies and turn this thing around? We anticipate every game and have no idea what the outcome will be. Is it duck season, or rabbit season? We are all confused, and the messages from the top are not consistent.
As far as I am concerned, huge puck-drop tonight. No more excuses, no more explaining the necessity to be a cohesive hard-working unit with good habits. Get it done on the road against an opponent that has been turning their fate around after a slow start. Veterans start to heat up after the first thirty games or so. Where is our fire? Can't listen to another Granato press conference after an uninspired defeat.
Buffalo Sabres, 16-19-4, vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 19-14-4
Saturday, January 6th at 7:00 pm
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Once again it is time to buckle up and not get pushed around. Don’t let Crosby whine and dive into your heads while he calmly puts up a three-point game. Use your youth and speed as an advantage. Don’t take any guff, and play with a chip on your shoulder. Earn your paycheck, and defend like your pride is on the line. Show the world that Buffalo is ready to compete, and ease us into Sunday’s kickoff with confidence and a smile.
Quick notes while biting my fingernails and waiting for this tremendous sports weekend to start.
We obviously have a problem scoring despite having some convincing victories. Look at the league leaders. Last time I checked the top twenty-five in goals, assists, and or total points, not one Sabre is listed. You claim that some of our heroes are having decent years, but they are not taking it to a different level. Nobody is doing well enough, especially our high paid stars. Sam Reinhart has 25 tallies, and 22 helpers for Florida. I keep going back to this. He was a problem?
Jack Quinn can definitely shoot the puck and his return has made an impact. He is contributing every night as he gets acclimated. The lineup is better with him in it for sure. It helps our staff put out a legitimate third unit that was missing as we were losing. I knew he was good, but perhaps I underestimated him. So far a pleasant surprise.
Waiting for Peterka to break out of his slump, and for Owen Power to hit somebody. Can anyone reach out and give him Scott Stevens number?
Thanks, and as always, go Sabres and Bills.
We will be tested in Miami tomorrow but I believe we will prevail.
Winning is done in a lot of different ways, but determination trumps all.