Part of the reason I've been so quiet lately is that I'm just not sure what to make of the Sabres these days. Are they really that good? Are they really that bad? Are they really somewhere in between really good and really bad?
I know a lot of people are concerned about their effort, and while I totally get that, I think they'll be fine when the playoffs roll around. It's easy to forget because of the two year layoff, but this team has a lot of playoff experience. I think they get it. They get what it takes to win in the playoffs (and what it takes to lose in the playoffs), they get how jacked up Buffalo gets about the playoffs, and I think they get how awesome it would be for them if they were part of the first championship team here. I really don't doubt that the effort will be there even from Derek Roy. Maybe that's me being optimistic, but that's me.
What I do worry about is some of the bad habits that have crept into their game over the last couple months, particularly on the defensive side of things. We all get tired of hearing about The System, but I think we've seen this season that when the players are committed to it, it works. But not always committed to it. Even the wins here lately have been sloppy. Effort is important and with some talent it'll take you a long way. But I think you really have to execution too, and I'm not sure sure how easy it's going to be suddenly start playing disciplined hockey again after not doing it for a while. Right now they feel to me kind of like the 06-07 team. They're coming into the playoffs with a very good record and some definite talent, but they're not playing their best hockey and haven't for a while. The 06-07 team went to the Eastern Conference Finals yes, but that was mostly on the back of great goaltending. While that could happen this season as well - there's only one team in the Eastern Conference that really, really makes me nervous - wouldn't it be more fun, not to mention easier, to play awesome hockey? Yes?
For now I'll settle for a decisive win against Ottawa. (Pleeeease!)