Hey gang, Commander here. I decided to forego a “season preview” of sorts for the Sabres based on what we’ve seen already. I don’t think anyone hasn’t figured out that they’re going to be fucking terrible.
I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t log on, type up “The DEEG 13-14 Sabres Preview” and just post “They fucking blowwwwwww” in 36pt font, because that covers things pretty nicely. (At least not yet, give me a few more months and some job security and that might be funny).
Is it fair to demand better from the Sabres?? I’d say absolutely. But I’m not talking on ice product. Let’s face it, we’re not a storied franchise like the Bruins or the Blackhawks. There’s no real history of success to draw from here. Your best hope for the on ice thing to work out is these kids ending up pretty good, a sprinkling of vets when they are good and one or two of them to be great. It’s the same recipe that created 05-07. Right now you’re in like 2003, this is going to go on for a few years and that’s fine. They flat out told everyone it’s the plan. Later on in the year we’ll talk about how it’s going, but for right now we need to take a look at the bigger problems in Sabreland.
Face it, the Pegula Era came with a lot of hope and promise and we all had the warm fuzzies that things were going to be FUCKIN RAD from now on.
We’re so far away from there that I’ve seen people wondering what Larry Quinn is up to.
It sure has been a while since I dusted off my gloves and took the media to task for its latest absurdity in the sports world. Sometimes, these venomous hit jobs are directed at The Network - an easy enough target, what with the willingness to sit on apparent evidence of child molestation at Syracuse, only to run the story without even giving the authorities the opportunity to vet that evidence and find that, in sum, it was demonstrably false. And sometimes, these hit jobs are directed at Buffalo sports media - also an easy target, what with the spelling errors, the apparent desire to merely yuk it up with a failing, entrenched hockey coach and the pathetic derision of a blogger community which has arguably provided better and more insightful sports analysis over the past couple years. (Not here at the Deeg, of course. We are more than happy to be the slime scraped out of the bottom of the barrel, presented as food for your more carnal cravings. It's what we do.)
One of the things I've noticed about Buffalo sports fans is that they can tend to believe that their town is getting jobbed at every opportunity. It's certainly no surprise, given the history, but it can leave people with a lingering sense that, in essence, whatever we get in Buffalo is a class below what everyone else gets in other cities. Sports teams? Inferior from top to bottom. Local theater and music? Undeveloped and of poor quality. Government? Corrupt and ineffective in a way unseen throughout America. Schools? Underfunded and forgotten. Cheerleaders? Sixes instead of tens. (This one may be right).
Some of this is true. In many ways, other cities do have it better. In a lot of ways, though, Buffalo has the exact same problems as other cities, but has convinced itself that the grass is greener in New York City, in Boston, in D.C., in Philly. I've found this to be especially true when it comes to how we digest our local sports media in Western New York. There always seems to be a lingering sense that Bucky and Harrington and Hamilton and Sully are on a lower tier than the guys who cover sports in the big markets. With the internet, though, we can verify that this is simply not true, and never was this more apparent to me than during the post-game presser following last Friday's Rangers-Devils Game 6.
Dear God, it was brutal.
So, in keeping with the overlap between "media hit piece" and "mailing it in," here is the transcript of the questions asked to Rangers coach John Tortorella following Game 6. My thoughts are in italics.
Note: This was written almost exclusively on my smartphone, and then hastily spackled together as soon as I had access to a working laptop. Needless to say, my current commitment to cogent argument is about as strong as Tyler Myers's commitment to completing passes out of the zone.
Let's get something out of the way early, shall we? The Sabres are a good hockey team. For all the griping amongst the fanbase about defensive lapses or offensive slumps or goaltending performances - all of which can cause their fair share of hair-pulling in any given game - there is enough talent on the team that I am generally willing to believe that this team will put together enough wins to get into the playoffs and make a decent run of it. I'm excited about that.
That caveat out of the way, the Sabres deeper and more fundamental problem as I see it, and has been shouted from the mountaintops in the 19 or so hours since last night's festival of suck - rearing it's ugly head early in the season, familiar to fans of this team who cherish grit and heart and pride and self-preservation up and down the roster - is testicular.
In other words, this team needs to sack the fuck up.