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Vulgar Opinions: I Don’t Know What To Believe In Anymore

03/26/12
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Here is what I know:  The Sabres turned Steve Montador, Chris Butler, Rob Niedermayer, Mike Grier, and Tim Connolly into Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff, Luke Adam, Matt Ellis, and Ville Leino.  That should have been enough to improve upon a 96 point team and for the first fifteen games of the season, it showed.  And then things happened and the Sabres were terrible and had no heart and couldn’t win at home.  And then they weren’t.  What the hell?

You can blame any number of things for this, injuries, contracts, bad years, pressure, but the fact of the matter is the Sabres were a first place team, then a last place team, and now look like a first place team again.  There isn’t much to explain that.  I repeat…what the hell?  The best I can come up with is that the team has an ongoing bet with themselves to see how close to last place they can get late in the season and still make the playoffs.  I can just picture the guys sitting around a campfire (because…???) and all of a sudden Tyler Ennis puts down his bong and says…”dudes, you know what would be awesome…if we, like, totally trolled the fans.”  I can only imagine that Derek Roy put down his manservant and Thomas Vanek woke up to agree.

Let’s just admit it right now, professional sports are a crapshoot.  Even when we’re absolutely sure what’s going to happen, our odds are no better than taking a wizz in the dark and the result is often just as messy.  Luck plays a much bigger part than we’d like to admit.  It’s why one team can win a cup with no elite offensive talent four years after another won a cup on the backs of a bunch of busted up defensemen and a crippled opposition goalie.  It’s why there is no one model for winning a championship in any sport ever other than the very basics of being talented, lucky, and healthy.

The reason that the Sabres’ past two seasons have been so mind-boggling is because there is no answer.  The equation is too complex.  What was it that caused the hiccups; was it a lack of talent…or injuries…or bad luck…or poor coaching…or an unfriendly schedule?  Yes.  There is no Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, Cthulu, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Invisible Man in the Sky, Jesus, or definite answer to what makes a good hockey team.  There is just…something.  You either have it or you don’t.  And by god we have it right now.  I hope it lasts.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 03/27/12 6:07 PM

    Just read this today. Couldn’t agree more. This is all disconcertingly baffling.

  2. Ham permalink
    03/28/12 1:01 AM

    I think having a slew of injured defensemen really took a toll, bigger than most might realize. What was their biggest problem during their extended downturn? Not clearing the zone. The D get healthy, and all of the sudden Miller and the defense look like world-beaters. And maybe it took a bit of time for Miller to get back into the groove after the concussion/neck problems.

    I’ll say this. None of those teams chasing the top spots in the conference can be feeling overconfident at having to play the Sabres in the first round.

    I was starting to feel very critical of Regier, something I had resisted for all the years he had been taking a beating. But I like the moves he’s made once the ownership changed, and I think we maybe saw what kind of GM he really could have been if he hadn’t been shackled by smothering ownership.

    Then again, I could be totally wrong. Who fucking knows? One thing I know for sure, though, this is one hell of a ride!

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