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Buffalo Sabres Tanking Creates Conundrum For Fans

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It has been a long, trying season for Buffalo Sabres fans. As we are nearing the end, how has the tank impacted us mentally?

The Tank Prize
The Tank Prize
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

"Business is business, and who stands to gain?...Off with their heads, and out with their secrets, may the private interest revealed provoke public digest...Suffer us, this appalling blessing, let the truth be set free" - Trainwreck On The John Galt Line, by Embrace The End

The book Atlas Shrugged opens with the line, "Who is John Galt?" The recurring phrase turns out to represent helplessness and despair within the world in which the characters live in Ayn Rand's novel. In my world of being a Buffalo Sabres fan, "Who is Connor McDavid" is my paralleled metaphor, as I have the same exact feelings while watching every Sabres game. I am relegated to feeling helpless; ironically, I feel this way whether the team is losing or winning. This is the current conundrum of many Sabres fans.

At this point in the season, with only nine games remaining, any win by Buffalo potentially puts their prospective prize in jeopardy. This is especially true when looking at the upcoming pair of games against the Arizona Coyotes, the current number one threat against the Sabres quest to finish dead last in the NHL and earn the highest odds of winning McDavid while guaranteeing Eichel. Yet, it goes against nature and the general laws of the universe to root against one's favorite team.

Wanting Buffalo to lose, just to win McEichel, is akin to setting your home that you love on fire and committing insurance fraud, just because it needs desperate repairs.

Current Sabres GM Tim Murray, and his predecessor, Darcy Regier, have done a wonderful job of dismantling and destroying the Buffalo roster - demolishing our 'home,' if you will. These gents have also laid out an impressive framework and foundation for the future, and McEichel could be the roof over our heads for many years to come.

So, am I a bad person if I am rooting for the Sabres to lose? Am I a terrible fan, lacking any sort of moral compass, if I toss out a silent fist pump when the opposition scores? It certainly doesn't feel right. I felt dirty, and somewhat guilty, when I got excited at seeing the Dallas Stars score a late goal to beat Buffalo on Monday night.

The crux of my conscious conflict cruised to the corner of a critical crossroads exactly one week ago, when Buffalo defeated the Boston Bruins in a shootout. You have to understand, that as a child in the 80's and 90's, I learned to hate the Bruins as they repeatedly knocked the Sabres out of the playoffs in what seemed like an annual ritual. The 'May Day' goal was of only minor consolation to me. Sorry, tankers, but I found myself unable to want the Bruins to win that one. I basked in brief bliss when Buffalo beat Boston. Even though I value long-term results over a short-term victory, I was a hypocrite for one night.

Now, I can only hope that those pair of points don't cost the Sabres what could be one of the best players to enter the NHL since the heyday of that old Boston-Buffalo rivalry. Luckily, this helpless conundrum that we have been dealt as fans will all be over with in 18 days, as I mutter "Who is Connor McDavid?"

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