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.