NHL Lockout Means Sabres Fans Must Put Excitement On Hold

With no professional hockey in Buffalo, Sabres fans are being deprived of watching an influx of young talent not seen since...well, the last lockout.

The NHL lockout sucks. That's not exactly breaking news to most of us, but that doesn't make it any less true.

The lockout sucks for a great number of reasons. Not having hockey to watch means that there's nothing to watch on your average Wednesday night, no highlights from around the league to check out over coffee, and nothing for Buffalo sports fans to talk about except the bumbling Bills, which usually ceases to be fun around mid-November.

This lockout comes at a particularly poor time for Sabres fans. For the past few years, the major complaint with the Sabres was that they're a stale team; the same players, same coach, and same GM still can't get it done. Since Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier apparently have lifetime contracts, they're still around, but this season was poised to see the biggest influx of young, exciting talent since the days when Vanek, Pominville, Miller, and Roy were still playing in Rochester.

We got a glimpse of that new talent at the end of last year with the Tyler Ennis-Marcus Foligno power duo, and Brayden McNabb got fans riled up with his big hits and solid defensive play. But that's was supposed to be just the beginning: a full season from uber-prospect Cody Hodgson had many fans salivating. Continued growth from players such as Corey Tropp, TJ Brennan, and Luke Adam would put them in the mix for starting spots. The offense-grit combo of 2012 draftees Mikhail Grigoernko and Zemgus Girgensons potentially set up the franchise down the middle for years to come. And while he's not exactly young, the addition of Steve Ott (and to lesser extent John Scott) to the forward lines was certainly going to bring with it a hefty dose of exciting play.

There's any number of reasons why the NHL lockout is terrible (and I'm sure we'll see most of those reasons in the comments) but the fact that it's depriving Sabres fans of something they've been craving for years - fresh, young talent - is reason enough to grieve.