Well that sucked.
A week after the season for all intents and purposes ended in front of me, sipping a beer at Bar Louie as one of Darcy Regier’s “big” acquisitions went all Steve Montador on Philly’s Matt Read, there’s still not much more to say about the season, other than it sucked.
Well maybe that’s not entirely true. I’m not going to get into the typical shit that seems to get dragged up every season that ends in disappointment: the fact that Vanek was hurt (although seriously, would sitting him for three weeks in February have been any worse than having a ghost on the ice every game?), the fact that Lindy Ruff might be stale, or the fact that the core is soft. Frankly by this point, I’m ambivalent. I’m like one of the residents of “South Park” getting asked about their (possibly) racist town flag. They respond robotically “I think it is part of history. I think it is racist.” Well, same sentiment for whatever debate The Buffalo News and WGR have suckered some of the less free-thinking individuals into. I think Lindy Ruff has been tuned out. I think he had done well with the talent he was given in past years. I think the core is soft. I think the core has scored big goals in the past. I think Derek Roy blows. Actually, yeah fuck Derek Roy. And Brad Boyes too. And fuck a lot of things.
(You know the scene of Waiting where the new kid points to Dane Cook’s character at the party and growls “you are the biggest piece of shit at this restaurant. And I hope you burn in hell.” Well that’s me on Boyes after he scored his second goal in the only completely meaningless game of the season. With that off my chest, moving on.)
Speaking of Vermont white trash, I hate Tim Thomas. Not simply because he’s a lunatic and I’ve appeared in Bernie Sanders campaign literature, but because he put up easily the worst shootout performance I’ve ever seen against the Caps two weeks ago. Tim Thomas was the University of Vermont’s starting goalie in fucking 1993, so when you watch a movie like PCU or Reality Bites and you think “man, that shit’s really dated,” well, you’re talking about what was big when Thomas was in college. I say this for really no other purpose than to illustrate that the guy is fucking decrepit and I hate him.
(I do find the UVM connection absolutely fascinating though. Burlington, Vermont is one of my favorite towns on the continent and happens to be one of the most progressive in the country- Bernie Sanders was once the Mayor there- so what in god’s name possessed Tim Thomas to go to college there? Did Alabama-Huntsville not have their program yet? Did North Dakota have an entrenched goalie? Moreover, was Tim Thomas the anti-condom crusader in College, and if so, was he bullied for such views? Did Howard Dean shit in his glove before the 1996 Frozen Four? Someone has to investigate this.)
(Editor’s note: The Deeg was just talking about Tim Thomas on Tuesday while pre-gaming for the Mets game. A close friend recently got to spend some time in Boston with him, and not surprisingly at all, let us know that Mr. Thomas is an absolutely VICIOUS racist. Like not off-colored jokes that your Grandpa makes racist, like make everybody around you uncomfortable racist. Is anyone really shocked by this?)
As a Buffalo fan I have seen many seasons end in shitty fashion, either in complete and utter heartbreak, or in disgusted disappointment, of which this one qualifies. What the start to every offseason has in common is the desire to rush to the opener, then rush through to the playoffs and see if this will finally be the year. Except this time, it struck me that if the Sabres indeed make the playoffs given their next opportunity, I will turn twenty-nine sometime around the Eastern Conference Finals. In the interim, I have friends that will be married, friends that will have children, friends that will turn thirty. I will attend my high school’s ten-year reunion and go through another round of camping trips, Christmas shopping, and cursing at the Red Sox and Bills. Then it dawned on me. This must be that fear that two generations before me felt as they slowly trudged farther away from the keg parties and co-ed’s in the slow progression of life - the fear that says “Jesus Christ is this ever going to fucking happen!?” I’ve now watched three full hockey seasons in the post-graduation world. Sure, the wasteland of 2007-2009 was shitty, but how much does that really matter when you’re literally counting down the drinking days until you have to enter the real world? How much does it then matter when you live in the middle of the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia “we hate everything you stand for even though we’re both annoying jackholes in our own way” fanbases? I graduated about 10 hours after Jason Pominville scored in Ottawa to send the Sabres to the Eastern Conference Finals and suddenly that will be seven years removed? My problem here is that the Sabres, and my love for them resulted in me facing my own goddamn mortality. Yes, most definitely fuck that.
There’s next year, and the summer of talking ourselves into our draft pick, our free agent signing or two, perhaps even a trade or a new coach (not advocating, just saying). (Editor note: The rest of us at the Deeg are indeed, advocating) But for now, fuck the fact that for the first time in a long time, every playoff game will be on national television, and our team isn’t playing. And really fuck the fact that hockey is taking place in Fort Lauderdale this spring and not Buffalo.
But October will come, and then…