Remember the feeling when you wake up late for the school bus in the morning and then you find yourself half asleep, disheveled rushing for the bus that arrives in five minutes?
Ah yes, memories.
The hockey preseason always feels that way to me.
Fighting off the month of September feels, as the weather can’t decide whether it wants to be late summer or early fall.
It starts getting darker earlier, football returns to our television sets and then – oh hey! – hockey is back already.
I am not ready for summer to end or winter to start. Get back to me when the calendar rolls over to October and I will be ready for the fall transition.
The slippery slope of winter has already begun though, so tighten your seatbelts – it only gets worse from here.
Speaking of hockey though - last night at the Keybank Center, the Buffalo Sabres warmly welcomed a scattering of fans with a nice preseason, home-opening performance against the best of the Pittsburgh Penguins B-team.
Despite it being preseason and nothing truly mattering until the games begin in October - aside from injury, (future captain) Jack Eichel did his best to remind us of what is to come.
Usually when I find myself at the arena, the team store is a good place to peruse once a visit – especially with an active 40% off of last season’s Winter Classic jerseys.
Looking through the latest selection of Sabres-related headwear, I hear the goal horn go off. My immediate reaction is to find the closest television.
Thankfully, with the MSG feeds on the televisions throughout the arena, the broadcast delay gave me enough time to catch what I had missed.
In case we had forgotten, Jack Eichel is real slick with the puck and he happens to be very good at the game of hockey.
Speaking of good at hockey, Rasmus Dahlin – see what I did there?
Dahlin made his preseason debut last night as well, tallying 21:32 and looking absolutely like he belonged.
Following the game, fellow youngster Casey Mittelstadt had nothing but praise for the first overall pick.
If you are not all aboard the hype train yet, here is another text-based snippet from The Athletic’s John Vogl that will surely perk some fans ears right up.
In talking about Rasmus Dahlin, both Jake McCabe and Casey Mittelstadt said, “He’s a lot like Jack in that ...”— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) September 19, 2018
Having a complement to Jack Eichel who reminds people of Jack Eichel is a good thing for the Sabres.
That is right – we have players openly talking about how Dahlin is like another Eichel on the ice. I know I am the guy who told you to temper expectations on Dahlin and company but I think my heart just skipped a beat.
It remains difficult for me personally to get into preseason hockey. For us writers, it is all about knocking the offseason rust off and greasing the old writing wheel.
It is beyond OK to not be jazzed about watching depth players who are more than a season away play hockey games.
I found myself last night watching Lawrence Pilut skate in the Sabres’ zone and immediately thinking, “Hudson Fasching looks faster”. Welp, I wonder why. New numbers can be hard sometimes, guys.
*insert fail horn here*
This happens every offseason but we work out the kinks during the preseason, so those mind-numbing errors are limited during the regular season.
Mark it down now – you’ll catch me make a few of those this season. Always avoidable yet inevitable when it comes to putting words to computer screen.
The one major thing to remind you about – time to remember is that Jack Eichel is still really good at hockey, not all is lost and the Buffalo Sabres might just be a little better than last year. But hey - it can’t get any worse, right?