Hello all. I'm new here and there's a reason for that.
I want to go all-in on the Sabres.
I hail from Billings, MT and went to undergrad at Gonzaga in Washington state. Partially because of these geographical proclivities I've never really developed a connection with an NHL club (though I do sport the odd Mariners, Broncos, Pacers triumvirate of fandom in the other major sports). When I was little I kind of liked the Rangers, but that's mainly because they had Gretzky and who doesn't want to play with the Rangers when firing up Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey '98 on the N64? But really, I tended more towards cheering for the underdogs come playoff time. I remember being furious and devastated when "The Goal That Shall Not Be Named" happened in the 1999 Finals for example.
Anyway, I've decided since I've causally always cheered for the Sabres for years, and since I'm moving to Syracuse in July, I would attempt to commit myself to them. Some may scoff at this as phony, but I'm serious. I get hardcore about my sports teams and I really want the Sabres to be my NHL squad. The problem is that "hardcore" element, because really I don't know a lot about the squad as it's currently assembled. I mean I know the "no frickin' duh" stuff like - Ryan Miller is really good. But come on.
That's where I'm hoping you diehards might come in.
The thing is, I don't want the generic junk that the mainstream media dishes out or the biased info team websites provide. I want to know the the real fans think of certain players, coaches, styles, ect.
To give you an example of the kind of stuff I'm looking for I'll import some thoughts that are the general consensus from my favorite SBN Blog - Lookout Landing, which covers the Mariners. These are things that if you just listened to the radio, read the paper, or watched ESPN you wouldn't pick up on.
Any players that are just a joy to watch or that you love more than the mainstream makes it out to be?
Ex. At LL we come to realize Cliff Lee is so blissful to watch even more than Felix Hernadez. We love Milton Bradley even though everyone else hates him. We really like Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders because they're undervalued and do the little things right.
Any players you dislike for certain reasons?
Ex. Jose Lopez is frustratingly inconsistent and wears on everyone's nerves. Rob Johnson is just terrible at every aspect of being a catcher, even though the organization and media praise him for "intangibles" that don't involved hitting or catching the ball. Ken Griffey Jr. is old and bad and hurts the team by not retiring.
Any annoying trend that keep on popping up (things that could easily be fixed but the organization is too stubborn to admit they're wrong)?
Maybe they spend way to much on centers or they never bother to pick up good defenders?
How are the coaches? Owner?
Do they mix lines well? Are they willing to make moves to win or are they cheap?
Who are the Sabres fans least favorite players on other teams? What teams do the Sabres own? What team frustratingly always seem to beat the Sabres?
What player is annoying or gets under your skin?
What moves are people hoping for in the off-season? What are the glaring needs?
Any young studs on the team or in the minors to keep an eye on?
What's the general feeling regarding the team's direction? Hope? Pessimism? Apathy?
Anything else key I should know?
Things that constantly come up in Gamethreads and Recaps?
Thanks for any help you can provide!