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What should we expect? September 21, 2010

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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I’ve been reading a lot of preseason predictions, both from other bloggers and from the mainstream media. Some prognosticators, particularly amongst the bloggers, are angry the Sabres didn’t make more moves to improve the team (and they have every right to be), and don’t think the Sabres will be much better than they were last year. Much of the mainstream media is picking the Sabres to finish around sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Where does that leave us? Here are my thoughts:

  • If the Sabres are “no better” than last year, that’s not such a bad thing. They finished third in the conference, and were – what – one point out of second? Yes, some other teams in the conference have gotten stronger in terms of personnel, but others have gotten weaker – that’s the nature of the game. So if the Sabres aren’t better – and I don’t think they’re worse – that doesn’t seem like a tragedy to me.
  • Finishing sixth in the conference is pretty respectable. It’s not home ice advantage, but did that help us last year? Did not having it hinder the teams who finished in seventh and eighth last year? No.
  • Preseason predictions are just that – preseason predictions. Before everyone gets all upset and throws Darcy and Co under the bus, let’s see what the team can do. There’s a fair amount of new personnel on this team, and you have to admit a few things:
    • They appear to have addressed the softness issue. People have been bitching for years about how the Sabres could get pushed around. With the addition of guys like McCormick and Morrisonn that hopefully shouldn’t be a problem.
    • They did go out and get some guys in free agency. That’s been another sore spot for fans. No, they didn’t run out and sign Ilya Kovalchuk, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen. What they did do is sign three very capable veteran players. All three should help the team. None are flashy, and yes, none are 50-goal scorers, but the team finished eighth in scoring last season. Scoring wasn’t the problem.

So if I say scoring wasn’t the problem and that the Sabres didn’t pick up a scoring winger and I think that’s ok, what do I think the problem was? Competitive spirit – IN THE PLAYOFFS (in the regular season I think it was fine, otherwise they would’ve lost more 2-1 games). And no, I don’t think it’s something that left with Drury and Briere. Truth be told, I don’t think it was there even with those guy in their last year. Before that, yes, but in the last year, especially during the playoffs, no.

Can that problem be fixed? I don’t know. Will these three new guys help? I don’t know. But having three more veterans in the locker room can’t hurt. These guys have all gone through playoff runs and played for successful teams – they all know what it takes to win. Maybe their attitude will rub off on the other guys who’ve been here for longer, maybe it won’t, but again, it can’t hurt.

My conclusion? I’m willing to see what the team can do. I haven’t seen even a minute of camp. I’ve read a few articles and listened to a few interviews, so I can’t say that the attitude has changed. Besides that, talk is cheap. But let’s give them a chance.

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