The Buffalo Sabres are right on track... Relax
Lead by a surplus of young talent, headlined by Jack Eichel, the Buffalo Sabres were expected to improve off their 35-36-11 season from last year. The team is expecting to make a realistic playoff push for the first time in years. Despite the fact that there's no denying the slow (and at times painful) start for the Buffalo Sabres this season, i'm here to tell you the franchise is right on track.
Currently the Sabres are sitting in the cellar of the Atlantic Division at 13-13-8 (34 Points). The slow start has many fans worried and the seat of head coach Dan Bylsma heating up. While I am in no way a Bylsma fan, it is way too early for this type of panic. Why? You may ask. Because the team is only 6 points (3 wins) out of the third playoff spot guaranteed in the Atlantic Division. 6 Points! When you take into account the fact that the team played its first 21 games of the season without their star Jack Eichel (with other big players such as Tyler Ennis, Zach Bogosian, Dimitry Kulikov,Evander Kane, and now Ryan O'Reiley missing significant time), you can't be anything other than optimistic that it is uphill from here. To me, it is that simple. I'm not here to make excuses for this team, in fact I do believe they have underperformed even with the injuries they have endured this season. However, i'm optimistic we have reached the turning point of the season.
The Sabres hit their low point after back to back disheartening performances in winnable games against the Hurricanes and Islanders last week. They went into the (much needed) holiday break at their lowest of lows as far as hope is concerned since the beginning of last season. But on Tuesday night, In Detroit, the team came to play. We saw the Sabres team that flashed glimpses of greatness last year. Their was fast paced, back and forth action. There was energy. There was emotion. There were two different fights. There was a recharged Jack Eichel and a scorching hot Evander Kane. We have seen this type of performance on occasion this season, but they seem to always be followed by a string of losses.
Tonight and again Saturday the Sabres take on the Boston Bruins who currently sit in that coveted third place at 40 points. If there is such a thing as "Must Win" NHL games in December, then these are them. With back to back wins vs the Bruins the Sabres will launch themselves into the thick of the playoff discussion. So everybody calm down. Stop blaming Bylsma for having a young and inconsistent team. Stop thinking the Sabres need drastic changes. Stop thinking about the disaster that is the Buffalo Bills, and start hoping for these two wins and a cure for the injury bug. It's only up from here.