A Final Word on the Amerks Season
The Amerks fell to Utica in their last home game of the 2014-15 season, but the future looks good.
The end of the 2014-2015 Amerks season drew, at home, to a bitter sweet end Friday night. Bitter because, well, the Amerks aren't making the playoffs by any stretch of a miracle and, overall, they had a rollercoaster season. Sweet due to Sam Reinhart's AHL debut.
"Don't worry about a thing - 'cause every little thing is gonna be alright." (Bob Marley & the Wailers, "Three Little Birds")
I may not know much (that's not even remotely true) but I know that Sam Reinhart is good at hockey. He knows how to make the perfect pass to a teammate in perfect position in order to make the play. It's unreal, and unlike anything I've seen lately from any Sabres prospect. Now, I know you may be thinking "but he wasn't good in Buffalo!" or "but someone told me he's terrible!" But! Imagine this: When you put a good hockey player with other good hockey players and a coach who plays to a prospect's strengths ... good things happen. Imagine that.
From where I stood, sat, and sometimes laid this season, it was blindingly evident that the Sabres and, consequently, the Amerks were in a precarious position this season. I fully understand the role that the AHL plays in it's partnership with the NHL. I think that, unfortunately, when we're caught up in a system that is so plainly, terribly in a backslide, it's hard sometimes to see the forest for the trees. We all know that one player, whether it be Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, isn't going to save the system. However, we're not looking at one single player that may come with the draft. There is a whole system of prospects just waiting to be those good players paired with other good players.
I read a lot of things on the internet and I talk to a lot of people. I also watch a lot of hockey. There's a lot of people who expressed concerns about these prospects ... Dalpe, Larsson, Grigorenko, etc ... not being good enough. Not being an immediate impact once they got the call to Buffalo. I've said it before and I will say it a million more times: Sticking someone on the fourth line next to Cody McCormick is never going to be a solid indication of their abilities. The other thing I will tell you? A lot of those faces that became, unfortunately, familiar this season in Buffalo are just young pups who still have a lot of growing and learning to do. But with the right coaching, the right lines, and the right leadership ... The future's so bright, I have to wear shades.
The end of the Amerks (home) season is always a mixed bag for me. I adore hockey, and I spend a great deal of my time watching, learning, and talking about it. But it's spring. NHL playoffs are just getting interesting, baseball is back, and the weather seems to be somewhere above 87 feet of snow and arctic temps. As always, I'll miss my weekend nights at the arena, watching these guys grow and learn. But I look forward to prospect camp in mid-summer and, most of all, what October has to bring. Only good things can come because, let's face it, it probably can't get any worse for either club. Only good things can come because there are good things coming up the line.
The Amerks do have two games left on the year. After dropping Friday's match 3-2 to Utica, they headed out to Binghamton to face the Senators on Saturday. They will close the season against the Adirondack Flames Sunday evening.
It's been a blast (mostly ... that 5 million game losing streak the Amerks put us through ... I still have nightmares) spending this AHL season with everyone who came along for the ride. As always, I'll have your Amerks and AHL news as I learn it, and probably more Red Sox information than anyone can stomach. I wish you all beautiful summers and icy cold beverages! Until next time ... Let's go, Amerks!