Blog: Sabres thoughts on… well, everything

Posted on April 5, 2010 by Joe Pinzone

Look, apologist or not, if you were to tell me at the beginning of the season that we’d be two points away from winning the division with a week left in the season, I’d be sending Tom Golisano and Monica Seles a new toaster oven. I’d be buying a dam slug jersey and a stupid Sabres playoff flag for my car. However, I’m broke, I don’t own a car and I sure as hell don’t know where Tommy G and Monica are these days.

Now, with all that being said, I still don’t think it’s negative for my to voice a concern about the Sabres. It’s the same concern I brought up when the Sabres were in first place by 13 points over Ottawa. It’s the same concern I brought up when they were struggling before and after the Olympic break. Hell, it’s the same concern that I’ve been bringing up since the start of the 2007 season. Now, I’m bringing that same concern up today.

It’s the BIG “I” word. Inconsistency. It’s inconsistent play from the top two lines. It’s inconsistent physical play. It’s inconsistent effort. It’s inconsistent “Whip” topics. It’s just inconsistent everything. Sorry, but there’s no room for inconsistency in the playoffs. You lose 3-4 games in a row, you’re finished.

I don’t wanna say I told you so, but I told you that the Sabres recent hot streak wasn’t exactly something you can build your hopes around. Beating weak ass teams, shouldn’t get you excited. The Sabres have been very inconsistent (There’s that dam word again) against the playoff teams in the East. Here are the records for the top 3 seeds against the Eastern conference playoff teams:

The Capitols are 15-4-5
The Penguins are 17-13-2
The Sabres are 13-14-4

For the record: The Sabres are 2-5-1 against the Penguins and the Capitols this season. I seriously doubt you want me to get into their record against the Sens. Since February 1st, the Sabres have only two regulation wins against playoff teams in both conferences. Sorry, but Tampa Bay and Florida aren’t going to be on the Sabres schedule during the playoffs. Again, we are in the unknown stage of what the Sabres are going to do in the first round of the playoffs.

BTW, don’t come at me with your Monday morning quarterback routine. You know what I’m talking about. If they play well next week, you’ll by telling me that you were never worried. You’re going to say I’m just a negative person and a wannabe Jerry Sullivan.

You’re worried, and you know it. You may not tell your friends. You may not tell your husband or parents. You may not type it on Twitter. You may call WGR and say that there are peaks and valleys in a season. But deep down inside, you’re worried.

As for the bottom three teams of the top eight in the conference. Remember when Montreal and Boston sucked? Remember when Philly was pushing for the division? Yeah, lots can change over the season. The Canadians worry me the most of the trio. They decided to pretty much start from scratch in the offseason. They brought in a ton players via free agency and trades.

With such a huge roster turnover, the Canadians had a hard time gelling when the season started. I remember how the Sabres media apologists were using the Canadians as an example of how free agency and trades mean jacks#$t when it comes to building teams. You know, Marian Hossa never guided the Penguins to the Stanley Cup type of rhetoric.

Now, they seem to be coming into their own, and guess whose slated as the six seed. Yup, Sabres vs Canadians isn’t exactly an ideal first round match-up for me. Plus, you know that the HSBC Arena would be 50/50 when it comes to the fans in attendance. D’oh Canada.

Um, you think Ryan Miller is pissed off? Miller didn’t even speak to the media after tonight’s game. I’m sure he didn’t want to verbally insult his teammates again. Well, he has every right to be disgusted. The Sabres played piss poor hockey tonight. They have no excuses. I don’t want to hear how Montreal had a lot more to play for (Plus, the Canadians played Friday night).

The Sabres had the division title on the line tonight. Hell, you’d think they’d like to clinch the division tonight, so they could maybe get some rest before the playoffs. Oh wait, they don’t have a problem with taking nights off during the regular season. So, who needs to clinch?!

Back to Miller, we all know he pretty much crapped all over the team’s effort against Toronto on Thursday, and tonight’s performance was far worse. Previously, Miller has called his teammates fragile kids and weak. What else can he call them? Lazy f$#kers that he wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire? Maybe he’ll mention names next week.

Hey, at least Craig Rivet spoke up…even though having him say you played like s#$t, is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Here’s the bottom line, folks: The Sabres aren’t this bad of a hockey team. They play solid defense at times and have the greatest goaltender in the world. However, I think we can stop with the idiotic comparisons to the 05/06 squad that fans and certain WGR hosts love to use. The Sabres are a one man army (Ryan Miller) with a couple of decent soldiers.

They are lucky as hell to be in a WEAK ass conference. If they were in the West, they’d be dead as fried chicken. Of course, being in a weak conference sets-up the Sabres to go far in the playoffs. Everyone in the Eastern Conference has a weakness with their team.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Sabres need momentum going into the playoffs. I’m sure there have been a number of teams that were hot entering the post season; only to fizzle out in the first round and vice verse. Now, I’d like for the Sabres to at least show me that they can play a solid 60 minutes of hockey against teams that aren’t from Florida.

Well, they are going to get their chance. They have Ottawa and New Jersey this week. Plus, they are going to play the Bruins and Rangers, who are fighting for their playoff lives. To me, this week isn’t about getting momentum for the playoffs, it’s about that old ruler…the measuring stick. Sorry, but I just can’t keep on rolling the highlight reels of the 2-1 victory over the Blackhawks and the monster comeback win against Pittsburgh. Man, that was this season?

I don’t know, apologists. You and I may finally have something in common for a change….it’s uncertainty.

(Joe is a Buffalo State graduate living in New York City as a freelancer on TV shows for different networks.  He also has his own outstanding sports blog called JoeFromNYC.  You can read this post and many other interesting takes and insight by visiting his blog right here)

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