High Expectations

The Buffalo Sabres tied an NHL record going 10-0 to begin the 2006-2007 season, something that had been done only one other time by the 1993-1994 Toronto Maple Leafs.  This season the Sabres are 5-5 after 10 games and fans are already writing off the season.  My response to these people is be patient, this team is not out of the playoff hunt by any stretch of the imagination.  A perfect example would be the Ottawa Senators who were off to an awful start last year and eventually went on to be the Eastern Conference Champions.

The problem is that Sabres fans have become like a spoiled over the past year and half.  The Sabres were the best team in the league the second half of 2005-2006, and could have been Stanley Cup Champions if not being struck by the injury bug, and they won the Presidents Trophy in 2006-2007.  As Sabres fans we are unsure what to do when they aren't playing so well.  I compare it to a young child who is spoiled rotten, they always get what they want and then one time they are told no...they cry and cry and cry.  The Sabres have been so good for so long that us fans forget that sometimes winning isn't easy and sometimes you have to battle through some adversity.

This team is under a microscope, not only because of their success over the previous two seasons but also because of the loss of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.  Daniel Briere has picked up in Philadelphia where he left off in Buffalo, he is scoring goals and putting up big regular season numbers.  I'm not going to rush to judgment until I see him play in the playoffs where we have seen him go soft.  Chris Drury is probably regretting his decision to leave Buffalo and move on to the New York Rangers.  The Rangers are struggling and both him and Scott Gomez are being criticized because they were supposed to be the difference makers.  The problem is that Gomez is a bit overrated and Drury is only effective with the right chemistry.  Drury's strength is to prey on the opponents top lines and take advantage of their defensive deficiencies, he is not being given that opportunity with the Rangers.

It's not just the fans who have become spoiled but it is the players as well.  Whether it is intentional or not the players become complacent and expect everything to come easy.  When things don't go their way they get a little frustrated and try to do too much.  a little bit of adversity will do this team some good, it will allow new leaders to emerge from the dressing room and bring a more workmanlike attitude back to the team.  It has already become evident in the previous two road victories against Florida and Tampa Bay.  After being humiliated 6-2 in Carolina the Sabres won two road games by coming from behind in the third period.  The Sabres probably didn't deserve to win either game but they never gave up and they were rewarded with four points.

I recommend that everyone just sit back and watch the season unfold.  It is a season that is bound to be a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs but entertaining throughout.  It will be fun to watch this team come together and see what it looks like at the end of the season in comparison to the beginning of the season.  It takes some getting used to but it is always more rewarding when you work hard to get to your ultimate goal...the Stanley Cup.

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