Last week, as my body deteriorated as it reacted to little sleep combined with a stomach bug combined with an impromptu visit to Elmhurst Medical Center, I reached my lowest point. Last night, as Mike Weber and Jordan Leopold looked utterly confused as to their respective purposes in life, and Ryan Miller was yet again run out of the net by a vastly superior team of ice hockey players, the Sabres followed suit.
As if it weren't clear, neither professional hockey teams nor 29 year old bodies are supposed to behave like this.
And while I have adjusted my sleep patterns and imbibed more than my fair share of fluids to right my own ship, I wonder just how much is being done to right what is so very, very wrong with our Buffalo Sabres.
Frankly, I fear that "nothing" may be pretty close to the truth.
What is becoming clear is that this season is a bust - the Sabres need to win roughly 70% of their games to even have a shot at the playoffs... that will not happen - and the only questions are whether we'll actually get any watchable, palatable hockey in the meantime, and whether organizational shakeups will happen sooner rather than later.
As to the first question, your guess is as good as mine. The team we've seen these past couple months is a shadow of its former self - the self which dug deep for a 7 seed last year and then pushed one of the East's best to the brink. I don't know if I've seen this team dig that deep since November, even for just a period. For a town that prides itself in its support for hard-working hockey, and for an organization which has sold itself as purposed towards a Cup above all else, this lack of on-ice passion is staggering and disheartening. And for a fanbase that tends to support its teams so long as the games are watchable competitions of relatively even sides, it shouldn't be that hard for the team to put together some decent hockey and give us a continuing reason to overdrink on weeknights. But, while it shouldn't be that hard, it apparently is. Say what you will about the pieces still missing from the roster - and there are PLENTY to speak of - but we all thought, at the very least, that they'd step out onto the ice and compete. Instead, they've simply folded, leaving us with a shitty product with shitty prospects for the future.
As for the organizational shakeups that are sure to come given the team's failure to achieve even the most basic of goals, I do hope that they come sooner rather than later. The caveat being, of course, that this season is an unchangeable turd sandwich with absolutely no realistic hope of salvation, so any shakeups we see need to be purposed towards the long term. With the disastrous results on Long Island and in Detroit these past two games, no reasonably thinking Sabres fan is looking for a splash that might turn this season around. But, since it's all too likely that the on-ice product will remain garbage, the least the team can do is start actively trying to find ways to make the team better for next year so that we fans can at least have that to cheer for. Most fans will ultimately be ok with waiting on that Cup run - hell, its been over 40 years, we can be patient for a couple more. But, even with that general willingness to be patient, we will have a hard time stomaching the developing feeling that the team is spiraling downwards with no legitimate hope of recovery on the horizon.
Which is exactly what watching this Sabres squad of underachieving, overhyped nancies has felt like. Putrid, vomuit-inducing shit heading further and further down the drain. And, sadly, for those who've been able to stomach it, you all know that this is far from hyperbole.
So, dearest Terry Pegula, you humble man of such extensive means - IT'S YOUR SHOW. We're all in for your master plan for this Sabres team, and we know it will take a little bit of time, but in the meantime we need you to show us something. We need you need to show us that, as much as we all love Lindy, you are beginning to understand - as we have - that he might not be the guy to take us to the promised land. We need you need to show us that, as well as he's played in the past, you see - as we have - that Ryan Miller is showing himself to be not quite up to the task of the Sabres #1 goaltender and might need to find a home elsewhere. And we need you need to show us that, as locked in to its farm system as this team has been over the last decade, you appreciate - as we have - that there might be another, easier, quicker road to a Cup victory than sticking by our "core" through thick and thin, and that there's no shame in admitting that the philosophy of the franchise you took over might need some major tweaking.
The fragile sports psyche of the Buffalo fan, promised time and again that progress is coming, only to be served the same shit sandwich from its teams year after year, needs this all more than ever right now.
Terry, again - IT'S YOUR SHOW.