Buffalo Sabres fans who have been patiently waiting for a winning team will have to wait a little bit longer.
Is the team better than last year? Absolutely. These Sabres are clearly more talented, and are finally watchable again. Yet, it is evident that the volume of new players are not yet acquainted or familiar with each other. The overall play, as a team, was sloppy. Passes were often errant, and there was little support of each other, particularly in the defensive zone.
Individually, you can see the flashes of talent from the likes of players such as Evander Kane, Tyler Ennis, and Jack Eichel. Kane performed well, with his energy and hitting on full display. Moreover, it is clearly visible that this team has a different attitude. It will be a little while until the team gets a feel for each other and gels, but once they do, this team will be contending for a playoff spot. Hopefully, this period of development does not take too long. The heavy line juggling by Disco Dan could only impede the progress. I would like to see him stick with a few lines for a couple games and let the players grow.
With all the hype and media surrounding Eichel, I will leave my thoughts alone, for now. There is not much that can be said about him at this point, that has not already been said. On the contrary, I am not impressed with Ryan O'Reilly, yet. Sure, it is only two games, but he has not been the difference maker, as advertised. There is a fat contract tied to his neck, and he needs to play up to it. Still too early to panic.
I have also read a lot of arguments from the Sabres fanbase regarding Sam Reinhart. Sorry folks, but he is where he needs to be right now. In the NHL, learning the game, with sheltered minutes. Playing heavy minutes in the AHL is not the place for a player of his potential. He needs to start reading the game at NHL speeds, and once he does, he will blossom into the silent contributor that we all expect. For reference, take a look at how the Lightning developed Jonathan Drouin.
These Buffalo Sabres are supposed to be high-powered offensively. With only two goals in two games thus far, where is the artillery? There is a tank joke in there somewhere, but I missed it. Next up: a 3pm match-up against the Columbus Blue Jackets.