RIP 2008-2009 Buffalo Sabres. It's been a rollercoaster of a season. We've had our ups, we've had our downs...and it was one hell of a confusing ride with a disappointing ending.
I have held out on blogging about the team over the past few days, because I didn't really have it in me to analyze the games and put in my input, I sort of just wanted to watch the final games and hope for the best. Nothing more, nothing less.
But now that it is essentially over, there's no harm in me updating this thing again to put in mi dos centavos...
I don't really feel like breaking down the entire season, analyzing each and every player, going over certain key games, and doing the whole shoulda, woulda, coulda...it's going to be a long offseason so we'll hear all about it in the months to come. What I'll say is this. I don't think this team is terrible. I think they've showed signs of being a very good team that could do well in the playoffs. They've also showed inconsistencies where they did just look down right awful and they looked weak both physically and mentally. I guess the frustrating part is knowing that this squad did have it in them to a dominant team who could be successful. I think it would have been easier to take if they were just terrible the entire season, a la the Maple Leafs or the Islanders. At least then we could just be like, "Well, they suck..." but when they play great and give you hope, it's harder to take. Like they are toying with our emotions. I don't know if anything I just said made any sense because I sure as hell did not articulate it the way I intended to. Oh well. I'm sure you get the gist of it. And if you don't, you can just sit there and think, "Wow this girl is an idiot and she has no idea what she's talking about...".
Anyways, there were certainly disappointments this season...I think that's obvious as any season where you miss the playoffs is a disappointing one. And at this point it's going to be hard to pick out the positives...but they are there. You just have to build off that.
I tried my damndest to not scoreboard watch tonight, but it was pretty impossible. While it was great seeing the Sabres play so dominant, I also had a pit in my stomach as the Rangers were in the lead for the entire game. But it was still nice to see our boys play such a complete game. Now I know there will be people out there saying, "Well why didn't the play like that more often this season?" It's a valid point to bring up. There are plenty of games you look back on this season and shake your head at. Especially when you miss the playoffs by such a small margin of points. But whatever...can't do anything about it now except move forward.
So did any of you catch Ryan Miller's post-game interview with Kevin Sylvester? Poor dude looked so crushed and defeated. The Rangers were leading in the dying minutes of the third, and even though it wasn't over...it was well on its way to be. I felt bad for him. He's just been such a bright spot on this roster and he's such a competitor. He deserves better. He certainly deserves to be competiting in the playoffs. There are several other players on the team that I believe deserve to see the postseason, while there are others on the team who don't. Anyways, it made me sad to see Miller's interview because he goes out there every night and gives an honest effort to try and lead his team to a victory. Of course there will be games where he doesn't play well and he might do more harm than good, but no player is exempt from that. For the majority of the time he's a key piece to our team's success and a player like Ryan deserves to be competiting for the Stanley Cup. I guess it's sort of futile now, but he really had one hell of a season. It was great to watch him compete every night and it was a huge blow when we lost him for a month due to injury. I'm pretty sure anyone who has read this blog is aware that he is my favorite player, but for me it's just easy to be a fan...it's hard to not respect a player like Miller for the type of athlete he is and for what he does for my favorite sports team. It was nice for me to see him excel this season especially last year when he struggled and a lot of
Speaking of which, what do you think of his new mask? I really like it. I think the colors are neat and the Japanese tattoo art and Sailor Jerry inspirations are pretty unique. It's always neat to see what's on a goalie's mask...just gives you a little more on the goalie as a person. A lot of people don't like the fact that it isn't really Sabres related, but why does a goalie's mask always have to directly relate to the team that he plays for? It's neat to see their own personal touch. That being said, I still love his tribal Buffalo mask. I think it's one of the best in the league. I wonder if he's going to alternate between the two or if he's going to go with his new mask from now on. Well...I guess he has a few months to make that decision. Sorry to be a Negative Nancy during this lighthearted topic. If you're interested, InGoal Magazine has a Podcast interview with Ray Bishop, the guy who designs Ryan's masks. He discusses Miller's new mask and how he and Ryan came up with the idea. So if you get a little bummed out when you're bombarded with all the doom and gloom that's sure to arise, you can take your mind off it for a little while and listen to it.
So my fellow Sabres fans, in conclusion...I think I can say that I am as disappointed as anyone else can be. But I am also a positive person by heart and I'm just going to be "that fan" who will look forward to next season and hope for the best. I think this team certainly has a lot to build on, and they are capable of being a playoff team. Maybe cutting some dead weight and adding a key piece here and there will be essential, but I really don't think this team is in a "blow it up and start from scratch" state, as so many dramatic fans would like to claim. Sorry, but I just don't buy that. Call me stupid or naive, I don't give a shit to be perfectly frank.
It will certainly be tough to watch the playoffs yet again without the Sabres participating...I guess I'll post my thoughts on the playoffs and who I'll be following and rooting for at a later date. Right now I'm just going to focus on the final game of the season for our boys and hope that they pull out a fruitless win. Have them go out on any dignity that they still may have. Damn, I'm going to miss them...