So... here's where we're at, dear readers. I love hockey. I love writing about hockey. I love the Buffalo Sabres in theory. But in reality, I really, really dislike the Sabres. I do. I find them very un-fun to watch. I'm cheering for them because they're wearing Buffalo jerseys and I'm cheering for them because it's not enjoyable watching a team lose over and over but I'm not cheering for them because I'm invested in this particular group of players. I feel bad for me that they stink but I don't feel bad for them at all.
Last year I did feel bad for them so I'm not really sure how to explain the change in attitude since there wasn't much change in personnel and the changes we did make are ones that I'm absolutely fine with. I think maybe last year I was willing to cut them some slack. They were young and they were in new roles and there were a lot of changes that were very sudden. It was frustrating to watch but it made sense too. They didn't play well but they seemed genuinely dazed and confused and when they all stood in front of microphones at the end of the season and talked about how sad they were to not be playing in the playoffs and how they were going to really take it to heart, I believed them and I was willing to look ahead to this season.
Boy, was I a sucker. It turns out that the Sabres are just a bunch of whiny, entitled, lazy brats. Thomas Vanek can be excused from the discussion because he evidently meant it when he said he would be better this year. More often than not, he's played hard and it shows in his stat line. I don't even want to imagine what this season would have been like thus far without him since he's the beginning and the end of the highlight reel. Everyone else though? Can start walking out of Buffalo and not come back for all I care. Quit bitching about the media, put down your excessive beers, say goodbye to all the puck bunnies and start moving.
It's such a waste because I do still think this team has a lot of talent. Not enough to win a Stanley Cup which yes, should be the goal but certainly enough that they should be competing hard in the very average Eastern Conference. But no matter how many times they get knocked upside the head by harder working teams, the Sabres are bound and determined that they can win on skill and skill alone. They think they can float through 45 minutes and win in the last 15. Newsflash, fellas. It doesn't work. It didn't work well for the last half/postseason of 2006-2007, it didn't work in 2007-2008, it hasn't worked in the latter half of 2008 and I can tell you already (because I know you're not picking up on the pattern), it won't work in 2009. This is the NHL. All of the players are good. A lot of them are better than you. You have to work. You have to want to win.
That's the most frustrating thing about this, I think. I want the Sabres to win. You want them to win. A whooole lot of people want them to win. I don't think the Sabres really care if they win or not. As long as they can cash their paychecks and hit the bars at the end of the night, they don't care. We care more about them being successful on the ice than they do and that's screwed up because, as I'm sure you've all realized, we don't have any control over the situation. Only the players do. And the players suck ass. Even the players that used to work hard all the time have been sucked into a blackhole of lazy suckiness.
I'm tired of them. I'm tired of hearing, "We're embarrassed and things have to change." I'm tired of hearing, "We need to play better at home." I'm tired of hearing, "We have to hold each other accountable." I'm tired of hearing, "We've hit rock bottom and now we'll start fresh." I'm tired of hearing, "If you don't play hard, you're not playing." Hey, guys? I'll believe it when I see it.
This team has no maturity, no pride and no heart. What to do about it?