There are 2 games in the books for the Buffalo Sabres. 2 games, 2 loses. To be honest, it hasn’t looked pretty despite the close scores. Buffalo made it look close last night against Ottawa, but a lapse in the dying moments cost them at least a point. As predicted, Ryan Miller keeps Buffalo in games, to give everyone that glimmer of hope.
The opening 2 games of the season is what several Buffalo fans expected. The 2013-2014 season is going to be very different for the faithful of Buffalo. For the past several years, the fans have come to expect playoff runs and to contend for the Cup.
But not this year.
Which got me thinking; what constitutes a successful season for the 2013-2014 Buffalo Sabres?
There’s several classifications for success in the NHL. For teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh, success is a Stanley Cup. It’s not just good enough to make the playoffs. If Chicago makes it to the Western Conference semifinals and is eliminated, while they had a good season, it wouldn’t necessarily be a successful season. Then there are teams like Edmonton that have been rebuilding and are now poised to get into the playoffs. Again, the teams that sneak into the playoffs may consider that a success. Even getting out of the first round would be a success for some teams depending on what the match up is.
Buffalo doesn’t really fall into either of those classifications.
The Sabres, once again, defy logic. The team is not poised to make a playoff run, and the Stanley Cup is definitely out of the question for this season. If, by some miracle, the Sabres make the playoffs this year, they would be going above and beyond expectations. That would be considered a huge success to some, especially given the promise of suffering from the Sabres front office at the end of the 2013 season.
So how can the Sabres measure success for this coming season?
I feel that this comes down to individual players, and seeing the young kids on the team grow and develop. Everyone wants to see the team win. However, that may just not be in the cards (especially tonight against Pittsburgh). The 2013-2014 season is going to be more about growth and development than anything else.
Generally when one looks at a schedule, they are able to pick out the games that their team should win, games that will be close, and games that you have a lot of beer for because it’s not going to be pretty. This may be just me, but I’m seeing a lot of games, and I don’t think I have nearly enough alcohol to get through the season.
I’m not looking at this season in wins and loses. If I, or any Buffalo fan tries to do that, we will be sorely disappointed.
I’m looking at this as seeing improvement. To start this season, I fully expect suffering. A lot of people do. I expect it to continue up until January or even up to the Olympic break in February. However, I would hope that the team starts to step up as the season progresses. Right now, Buffalo is relying on a ton of young talent. Several players on the offense alone are 25 years and under. 3 of Buffalo’s starting defensemen are 23 and under.
Success for the Sabres this season, is that of the young players improve as the season goes on. As the young players improve, the results on the ice will improve. Errors made now on the ice, get less and less as time goes on. I don’t expect a lot of wins during the beginning of the season, or even for the first few months. However, I’d like to watch Buffalo play spoiler at the end of the season, and start winning more and causing some problems for playoff teams. If by the end of the season, the Sabres play better as a unit, and improve as a whole, that would be a success.
There’s no doubt that Buffalo fans want their Cup now. However, there’s no shame in admitting that it’s not going to happen. At least not this year. For the time being, solace needs to be taken in that hopefully they are building towards that Cup. Unfortunately, things will probably get worse before they get better in Buffalo.
The important thing, is that things get better. If come April, Buffalo can say that they are better than they were in October 2013, the season is a success. If they don’t improve as the season moves on, then there can be no success for the Buffalo Sabres in 2013-2014.
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As always, thanks for reading!