We’ve recently been sucked into the hellscape of despair that is Sabres Twitter, and it is not a great place to be. Especially after seeing the Bills finally rise into contention, it’s hard to watch the Sabres continue to drown at the bottom of the barrel.
We can talk about bad deals (Skinner), bad trades (O’Reilly), questionable coaching (jury’s still out on Krueger), but the fact is this, we all sat back and watched a very proud, storied franchise gut their team and lose on purpose in order to land Connor McDavid. We came in dead last and still lost the lottery and settled for Eichel. “Buffalo, I’m coming for ya!” Eichel blurted out between beers on video in a college basement party in Boston. We accepted that ruining the organization’s reputation was going to be worth having the guy, and he hasn’t delivered.
Eichel has talent, but since he arrived, you cannot deny this team has absolutely zero heart. For a few years, there was no talent playing with him, but now there is. They’re in shape, injuries are down, but they don’t win battles, they don’t grind, fight, yell, laugh…. score. There’s not a moment since Eichel arrived that’s worthy of a story like the ones we told from 2005 – 2007 and a few years after. Like the ones we told in the 90’s. Those teams had role players and everyone was willing the carry the whole team on their back at any moment.
In this blue collar town, it’s infuriating to watch these kids make millions and put out a subpar effort on the ice, especially after the teams of the 90s and 2000’s gave us so much to love.
Maybe it’s not Eichel at the root of these problems. But after 3 GMs and 3 coaches… it probably is. If we’re comparing him to past captains, this is definitely all on Jack.
So if it is indeed the fact that this guy can’t lead, then this letter is directed to the rest of the team:
HEY GUYS! You just gonna pout in the corner because your leader can’t lead? You’re all talented and made it to the NHL! You’re just gonna mail it in? “Ehhh Jack’s slumping… I’m gonna slump too.” Who cares if he’s trying to bail and follow his pals O’Reilly and Bogosian out of town. You’ve still got a team!
Come on now. Get out in front of the net. Put an extra pad in your back and take the punishment for being there. Throw some fists. Land a highlight reel check! If you get in a scrum and your teammates don’t stand up for you – DO IT AGAIN.
Watch the team’s momentum turn. We’re all so focused on goals, and rightfully so, but take some pressure off by knocking some people around and standing up for your teammates. This is hockey and we’ve been playing like it’s the biathlon, just moving around and looking for a perfect shot. That C doesn’t have to mean anything to the rest of you. W is the only letter we care about here.
I put together some music I use to run races and teach spin class. It gets my slow ass moving, and people of all ages who come to my class get pumping too. Think of what it could do for you guys, already in great shape! There’s no fans in the arena these days, you don’t have to listen to Coldplay to help Mary from Clarence get into it.
But that’s not all! Between your bouts on Fortnite and Warzone, if you’re having a hard time getting a feel for Buffalo and how teams of the past were successful, I pulled together some viewing material to help you understand what things used to be like. These teams cared about each other and about winning. There was passion, anger, ferocity. The only thing standing in your way is you. Get loose, hit somebody.
Lindy Ruff was hard on his players, but much harder on any mother fucker who intended to do them wrong:
Or this moment when he nearly ripped Bryan Murray’s head off:
(Did you catch the crowd during that moment? They weren’t quiet, they weren’t booing, they were there, fighting with the rest of the Sabres.)
The Sabres won this playoff game in Double OT. This moment changed the game:
If anything, Rick Jeanneret’s career won’t last forever. He keeps on coming back, desperate to call a Stanley Cup victory. Give the guy something to get excited about.
(Also look at – who is that, Grosek? – taunting Snow at the 8 min mark. Be that guy!!)
Just look like ya give a damn, guys. The rest will come.