I emailed Kate after the Islanders game and said, "I really hate that I have a hockey blog right now." I just... I don't even know what to say right now. When I started this blog I decided I really wanted to make a concerted effort to be as optimistic as possible. That's my nature anyway but I really missed that from the Buffalo sports scene. It's not that I think people should be calling into WGR all kittens and roses and it's not that I think sports fans, Buffalo sports fans in particular, don't have plenty to whine about. But part of what I hate about the typical sports discourse is how negative it is. People make sports sound not fun at all and that bums me out sometimes.
But this is not fun at all. Looking on the bright side with this particular team is starting to feel more and more like making excuses. Yes, Thomas Vanek is out right now and that hurts the offense but come one guys, one player should not make that much of a difference. If he does, we were going to be in trouble anyway. I'm just not sure what to make of these guys at all. I totally understand why management felt like they had a great core here. I didn't have a problem with any of the contracts signed in the last year or so not even Jochen Hecht's, as brutal as it looks right now. I know problems are compounded by Hecht going down the crapper and Jason Pominville struggling almost as badly. But it's beginning to look like this is a talented group of players who mostly like each other who are just not meshing on the ice. They look like they desperately need a shake-up of some kind. I don't know.
I've been thinking a lot about the trade deadline and I've been reading everyone's opinions on what the Sabres need to do and honestly, I have no idea where I stand. Part of me wants to blow the whole thing up. Trade a core player, one of the tight-knit circle, and rock the room a little. Make some noise and let everyone know you realize this roster as is isn't going to do the trick.
But the other part of me wants them to just add a couple of nice complements and get through the season. I think Kevin's right that a lot of the bigger deals are going to go down in the off-season when teams are evaluating their financial standing for the next year or two and possibly shedding salary and in that case, teams who have been cautious are more likely to benefit because they'll have room to add salary and bodies. Even someone as optimistic as me has to admit that this team doesn't have it. It doesn't have that spark or fire that allows an underdog to fight its way through the long haul of the NHL postseason. That one big trade isn't going to turn this season around so hoping for that one big trade is probably futile. The midseason trade deadline is really more about real contenders adding a couple of weapons and real dud teams selling off everything they can to build for the future and the Sabres find themselves firmly in the middle.
I don't know. I really don't.