In The Bleak Midwinter
The Sabres season has become a starless void with a beginning and end split so far wide they seem like mere figments of our imagination. Their record is x-y-z where y>>>>x and z is made up and the points don’t matter. And here Sabres fans sit, bumbling for matches against the frostbite of the Yukon Trail, our proper wolf dog ready to run off to other food- and fire-providers in the way of player after player leaving us, be it for the Amerks or to other franchises where hope is more than a cruel legend passed down by the man behind the bench.
Each game has become less distinguishable from the one that proceeded it. Someone asked me how many in a row the Sabres had lost. I said 6. The answer was 11. The only joy comes in reading box scores in cataloging and quantifying their horribleness, and in lighting the beacons to call for help by way of draft picks and futures, a premise that seems as futile as summoning the Rohirrim must have seemed to Denethor.
Meanwhile the Great Motivator’s voice grows fainter and fainter against the wind of mid-January, the players cackling like Théoden to Gandalf at playing a Sixty Minute Game or at dealing with hard practice sessions that have little purpose other than to hold up the charade that anyone cares.
Death is surely hovering over our franchise now, our fingers useless, our feet growing numb, the cold spreading. Soon we will stumble, then we will fall, then come now or come May, the most comfortable and satisfying sleep we have ever known.