First things first:
I won't even pretend that the Northern and Southern halves deserve to be separate states. When your sports teams routinely lump you together in one rotten mess of redneck turd, then you know something's amiss.
Starting from the Wright Brothers and continuing to today, your best achievements are made by outsiders. Congratulations, Carolina. You're a nice place to live that can't educate a child to save your life.
Oh, and the facts bear that out, bitches. New York? 2nd in the nation. North and South Carolina? 19th and 15th, respectively. Way to go, stoopids.
Despite having lived in New York City for 6 years now, and despite the seething rage that flows through my veins when I hear the Rangers goal song (WORST EVER) or when I see a group of Islander fans gloat after an ugly Sabres loss, losing to the Canes is fucking awful. The lingering anger from '06, combined with the borderline xenophobic hatred I have for Southern hockey (irrational as it may be), make for a seriously vicious cocktail of emotion whenever the Sabres happen to lose to these clowns.
As for the Sabres, despite this post's title and visual intro, I won't get to riled up over the UTTER DISAPPOINTMENT AT LOSING A HOME OPENER. OH GOD DID YOU SEE THOSE SHORTHANDED GOALS? THIS IS LIKE '07-'08 ALL OVER AGAIN!!! WE CAN'T WIN IN NORTH AMERICA!!
Deep breaths. Find a happy place. Find a happy place.
Ah. There it is. I am currently taking a minute dreaming of Amelia Pond.
British sci-fi really does get me going.
Moving on... our boys got flat outplayed tonight. Not in a way that makes me concerned, per se, but one that does create some feeling that these Sabres - as talented and high-dollar as they are - will have a target on their backs for the rest of the season. As much as some of the league likes to act like we aren't the real deal, there will be a substantial majority of teams that will get up to play the Sabres as if the teams are embroiled in playoff hockey already. This is what I saw from the Canes tonight - an absurd night from Cam Ward, a very tough showing from a far weaker defense and a couple of instances of sharp opportunism. Game Over.
Moreover, what seems apparent after the home opener is that, for all the hype and hope and flashes of brilliance we have seen and have yet to see from the Sabres squad, this is a team that will lose plenty of games it should win. And it is largely the same team that went 0-4-1 at home during October of 2010, a team that often seems to crumble under the pressure of a fan base dripping with expectation and - as they seemed to do tonight - ready to overreact at the slightest hint of trouble. I want to believe this team (and its fans) has changed, but I just can't yet.
So, maybe, after all of the hype and the moments during which we allow ourselves to hope, we should take a moment and accept the fact that this Sabres team is not actually a new Sabres team until they show it to us on the ice, night in and night out. With the new parts and the new owner, this is still a team that will need to grow and develop if they want to collectively shed the tendencies of their franchise's past.
Even so, its all-too obvious that we don't know what tonight was, despite our mutual tendencies to get all doom and gloom when the easy road - the fairytale road - doesn't simply pave itself. Besides, isn't it more fun to watch our boys make their own way through adversity and a league that challenges them to be the best versions of themselves on the ice?
Maybe tonight was just the first bump in a road to an absurdly successful season, or maybe it's the first sign that our team is slowly being infested by zombies who can't play hockey. We won't know until we know. Either way, as usual, this team is ours, and watching them figure out their own destinies is one of the greatest things we get to do as fans.
So, seriously, STFU about Miller being past his prime, or Ehrhoff being a bust, or Jason Pominville being the worst pick for captain in the history of sport. At least for now. Take a breath and just fucking enjoy this shit.
Whether this is a road to glory or disappointment, we're in for one fun ass ride.