Well, forget that. This year I'm embracing the love. I'm hoping the Sabres continue to win, of course, but in case they don't, I want to be happy while I can. No one on the team is really driving me crazy right now, I don't think, but here are the five Sabres I love the most right now:
Yeah, anyone who's read Top Shelf for oh, a day or two could have seen this coming. But for the first time in a while, Hank is actually earning my devotion. He's remembered that he's a pretty darn good NHL defenseman. Tyler Myers deserves a lot of credit for that but maybe, just maybe, Hank deserves a little credit for Myers' transition going so well. Judging by some recent quotes from Myers, he feels it partly is. At any rate, I was starting to forget what it was like to love a player without having to constantly defend that affection so hey, whatever the reason, thanks for getting your crap together, Hank.
Maybe I was just still new to hockey or something, but I really don't remember Mike Grier making much of an impression on me last time he was in town. But now? Yeah, the guy is making an impression. It seems remarkable that throwing one or two different people in the mix could make such a huge change in an entire team, but so far it's happening. I'm now fully onboard the "Grier's Intangible" train. I have no idea what he's doing or saying behind the scenes, but there's no question that he's giving it all he's got when he's on the ice. That alone is a lesson for a lot of last year's Sabres.
When I sat down to write this post, Matt Ellis wasn't really on my mind. But when I started to really think about it, he was right there. Another guy who just plays hard every night no matter what kind of ice time he's getting. He knows his role and he fills it ably and willingly. I know he's a really popular guy with many Sabres fans, but right now, I'd be having never seeing Adam Mair on the ice again. I want Ellis in the line-up.
I saw Tyler Myers get drafted in person, you know. You can probably see him better in the above photo if you click on it, but there he is shaking hands with Darcy Regier while Lindy Ruff looks on. (I was reminded today that the Sabres traded up a spot in order to get him. Some fans around us were wondering why they went to the trouble to move up one little spot, and I assumed they really wanted to make sure they got Myers. How smart does that look right now?) Look, I freely admit that I had a ton of doubts about Myers playing at the NHL level this year, and I still think we're likely to see him wear down a bit as the season unfolds. But I also freely admit that I was mostly wrong about him. He's skilled, he's calm, and he's so amazingly confident. When he does make mistakes, he seems to put them right out of his mind which has not been a strong area for the Sabres the last couple of years. I know I'm not the only person in Buffalo who is awfully excited about this kid.
Like I said yesterday, it's so easy to take Ryan Miller for granted, but jeez, he's playing some great hockey right now. If he plays like this all season, we're a lock for a playoff spot and maybe even a round or two. He's smart, he's articulate, he's thoughtful, he's open, and he so clearly wants to be the best he can be. How can you not love that?
Let's be happy and positive together. Who are you loving so much right now?