I’ve been a die hard Sabres fan since I moved here in 1984. I mean, watch every minute of every game, read everything there is to read about the team, kind of fan. That is, until last year when they intentionally tanked to get the draft pick. They were historically bad for two straight years. I still watched last year, but not every game. It was painful to watch. I understand the reasons for the tank and by the second half of the year was rooting for them to lose. How twisted is that?
This post is not about re-litigating the merits of tanking in professional sports(pathetic, in my opinion). It’s about the fall out from the tank. We got our guy. Eichel is every bit of the player he was said to be and could very well be our “franchise player” for the next 10-15 years. Reinhart is much better this year and is also the face of the future. Ristolainen has had a fantastic season so far and deserved to make the all-star team. O’Reilly is an all-star and appears to be the second coming of Chris Drury. He’s everything we’ve ever wanted in a player so far(minus the Timmy Ho incident). The team is much better than the previous two years but still stuck near the bottom of the league standings. Why is that? Most of the veterans are under performing. Ennis, Gionta, Moulson, even Girgensons, are all having very poor statistical years. Why? Some have speculated that it’s partly to do with the fall out from the past two seasons, with the team management intentionally trying to lose. Add in a new coach and a new system and most of our returning players are under-performing.
I think my feelings as a fan are similar. It’s very hard for me to get excited about the team this year. I watch the games but not every one. I read the articles but not every one. When I started this blog, I fully intended to write about the team regularly. This is only my second entry about the team so far and we’re almost to the all-star break! I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way because they are not selling out every game. You tanked for McEichel, Sabres, but there may be some unintended consequences that you didn’t foresee. Here’s hoping this is just a one year hangover, Sabres, and we’re back to being best friends again next season.