Monday, July 2, 2007

Dear Buffalo...

Dear Buffalo,

CHILL THE HELL OUT!

Seriously, you people are killing me. Put down the telephones and turn off the sports radio. Kill the TV. Step away from the message boards. Take a few deep breaths. Relax.

Does it stink that we lost both of our top free agents and the faces of the franchise? Yes, it does. Will the absence of Chris and Danny next year affect the team on the ice? Yes, it probably will. Will the team look different next year than it did this past year? Yes, obviously it will. It boils down to this: The Sabres didn't want Danny, Chris didn't want the Sabres. It stinks and we the fans are left with huge holes in our hearts.

But it's not the end of the world.

Repeat after me. It's not the end of the world.

The Sabres still have a lot of young, still developing talent. They had four 30 goal scorers last year and a slew of guys who scored in the 20s. Most of those guys are still here. Did playing with Daniel Briere make Jason Pominville a better hockey player? Possibly. But I think he's played with enough different people over the last year and a half to show that he's also just a pretty good little hockey player. Oh, and let's not forget that string-bean between the pipes, the guy that's on the edge of being one of the best goalies in the NHL. He's pretty good too.

It's a different core than the team had three years ago, but you know what, THAT core was different than the one three years before that. It stinks for us, but it's the way of professional sports. Guys change teams and teams get different looks. We've survived the changing of the guard before and we'll survive it this time time too.

And you know what? I like this core. They seem to like each other and they seem to enjoy being together. I have a feeling that they're going to pull together and fight like hell next season, if for no other reason than to show everyone that there was more to the team than Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. Will they win the Stanley Cup? They might not. But they might. You never know. Most people agree that there was some kind of breakdown in team chemistry last season and most people seem to feel like that's why Drury and Briere left. But maybe the guys leaving will take the bad juju with them. Just because they're the veterans and the faces of the franchise doesn't mean they're in the right.

And as for the matter of what we're going to do about the "C", I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to slap it on a young guy who's never worn it before and we're going to ask him to grow into it. Just like we did with Chris Drury.

Am I being naive and optimistic? Maybe. But I'm fine with that. It'll be okay. It will. I promise.

Love,
Heather B.

10 comments:

Margee said...

Today I feel so close to Buffalonians. I may just get some wings for lunch.

Despite losing the Captains, you still have an excellent team. Since the Isles may not have enough players to ice a team this year, I may just pick up the Blue and Gold instead.

My condolences.

Gambler said...

Most people agree that there was some kind of breakdown in team chemistry last season and most people seem to feel like that's why Drury and Briere left.

Nick Mendola on WGR (I know, sports radio, but he was chill so it was all good) said today that he thinks it's possible that Drury was pissed about the lack of effort from the guys in the room this playoffs. So he goes to play with Jagr. There's a guy who gives 100% every night.

Thanks for this post, Heather. Every Buffalonian should read it.

Kate said...

I don't know what everyone is going on about with the whole "who's gonna be the captain?" business. Crunchy has asked me to sew "C"s onto all of his undershirts. He's the new secret captain. It's all very covert and charming. Get on board, people.

Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

Nick Mendola on WGR (I know, sports radio, but he was chill so it was all good) said today that he thinks it's possible that Drury was pissed about the lack of effort from the guys in the room this playoffs.

Interestingly I would have said that Drury disappeared for games at a time until the situation was desperate. I don't recall be blown away on a game by game basis. I'm not trashing Drury here by any means, just wondering if the "guys in the room" were really such slackers. I've never liked the whole Drury is a immune from criticism thing.

Heather B. said...

Meg, I agree. Chris was turning over the puck as much as everyone else and during the Ottawa series he got SMOKED in the face-off circle which is one of his most ballyhooed strengths. There may have been problems in the room during the post-season but the only one who can point fingers for a lack of effort are Ryan Miller and Adam Mair. I loved watching the guy but I've had about I can take of the Chris Drury Is God for today.

brian S. said...

The other thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that most of the guys on the team played in the minors together during the lockout where they learned how to win together. We forget that guys like Miller, Roy, and Vanek have been to the ECF the past two years and pretty deep into the AHL playoffs the year before. Teams that grow up playing together always end up better as players get to know each others tendencies.

As for the losing the captains thing, it's pretty obvious that Miller is going to be the de facto captain even if they can't give him a letter. There are also players like Lydmen, Tallinder, Hecht, and Campbell that will step up and take over part of the leadership "void."

Finally, kate, who's Crunchy and why do you call him that?

Kate said...

Brian, Ryan Miller is Crunchy, and I picked up that moniker for him from the ladies over at interchangeable parts.

Ryan Miller has a very, um, whimsical mythology over there. It's all in good, Ryan Miller loving fun.

Anonymous said...

The bulk of this team played together in the minors before coming up. Drury and Briere didn't.

Something changed with the team chemistry during the playoffs that was exhibited in lack of effort.

Both captains pretty much made it known that they were sticking by each other.

I don't know... is it possible that this was the catalyst for the change in the team chemistry?

Dave

Heather B. said...

Dave, I do think the rumor of the lockerroom splitting into the captains vs. the young guys is an interesting one and it does actually make sense in regards to the self-destruction in the postseason. It would be awfully hard to accept leadership from a guy who you felt didn't respect you or your contributions.

I'm definitely interested to see how the team comes out next year. All the former Amerks seem like a tlght-knit group and I think they'll band together and fight like hell next season.