The Buffalo Sabres.
I hate that this is where we are right now. Two games left, still a shot to make the playoffs. Fans clutching at every straw possible, whether it is something about Briere being hurt tonight, Washington wanting it "less" than Buffalo, or my personal favorite, the Thomas Vanek Hat Trick theory. Either way, I don't want to watch. I can't bare to. I have done everything I can this season to not let this team suck me in, only to have it destroy me with disappointment.
During their brilliant post All-Star break run, the Sabres have done it all. Darcy pulled off two miracle trades that re-energized the fan base, and got them talking about something positive. Ryan Miller has been back on top of his game and resumed his leadership role with this squad. The Foligno-Ennis-Stafford line has stepped up as the offensive powerhouse this team has needed since November. Before the devastating injuries last week, Myers, Ehrhoff, Leopold, and Regehr were reminding us of how good this defense can really be. What's not to like?
I'll tell you what. It makes me want to cheer. It makes me want to go out every night with the rest of the Deeg and drop $100 on beer and wings. It makes me want to enjoy hockey again! BUT I'M NOT READY GOD DAMMIT!!! This team crushed my soul at the tail end of the 2011 calendar year and, as all Buffalo franchises have ever done, they returned in full force in a attempt to get my hopes up. But I have resisted. I just can't take the heartbreak. As 2012 started, I assured myself the season was done and I could look forward to next season. I wasn't giving hope on the franchise altogether. In fact, I'm still quite excited for what this team has to offer. If they dump the rest of the "poop triangle", stay healthy, and bring in a TOP center, then I firmly believe we have a contender on our hands. But, in the last few months I had already cut my losses for this season. Recovery mode has been in full effect and I accepted my fate. Then these shit-heads have to go and start playing not only well, but like a team that a number one seed would be terrified of playing in the first round. WHY CAN'T YOU DECIDE WHAT KIND OF TEAM YOU ARE AND STICK WITH it! AAAAAAALLLLLL CAAAAAAAPPPPPPPSSSSSS RAAAAAAAAGESTOOOOOOORM!
There is a solid chance you are saying, "But Scizz, can't you just enjoy the ride and be thrilled that this team didn't fold over and die?". Yes and No. Yes, because I have still watched a ton of hockey this season, and some of these games have been beautiful (especially that Rangers game. Fuck you Richards!). It is nice to see they still have fire and guys like Ennis, Foligno, and Corey Tropp have established themselves as the future of this franchise. I fucking love that and have enjoyed every second. I truly wish I would have watched more games with the Deeg this season. All those nights at Kelly's I turned down bum me out sometimes. Even on Saturday, despite the pile of the crap the Sabres presented against the Leafs, I enjoyed hockey with my friends and all still seemed right in the world (except for a few early rage storms that legitimately scared poor Barrister). However, I'm jaded by Buffalo. I've been holding back from FULLY enjoying this ride because if it ends in no playoffs, or even a first round elimination, then what's the point? My fandom is way past the "small victories" era. I want to be a spoiled Yankee fan. I want big wins all the time. This Sabres team has entered the Pegula era, and anything less than a long playoff run has become a disappointment to me.
Am I being unreasonable? Fuck to the yes I am. No more mediocrity for me, kind sir. It's Cup or bust all the time from now on. I'm probably coming across as an asshole, a whiner, a douchebag, or combo of all three. But that's why I have this blog, to say the things I have nowhere else to say. This team has already demolished my hopes and dreams for the 2011-12 season and I WILL NOT let these next two games force me to rise to the occasion of ultimate fandom by claiming there is a chance!
Then again, if they win out and the Caps lose tonight then they would make it. Then they play a first round series against the Rangers, a team that by all means, the Sabres have been very competitive against this year. Then, before you know it, they could be playing a team I KNOW we have more talent than, like New Jersey or Florida. Ah fuck it. Who am I kidding? I'm watching hockey tonight.
BRING ME THE GINGER HEAD OF SCOTT HARTNELL! GO SABRES!