All fans anticipated the release of the 2009-2010 season schedule. Again, the Buffalo Sabres have an intriguing schedule ahead of them. Numerous exciting match-ups lay ahead in the upcoming months.
There are a few clutch points in this season that will make or break Buffalo's season. The months of December and March contain the most games for Buffalo. This will test Buffalo's endurance. If they are to even think about making the playoffs, Buffalo needs to be able to play hard. The conditioning of the Sabres will show it's face during these two months. The one perk that Buffalo faces is that they will have off for the 2010 Olympics for two weeks during February. The rest will hopefully get Buffalo ready for the last push to the playoffs.
The second point in the season is the two week road trip in January. Buffalo will play in 7 different cities over 11 days. If Buffalo is lucky, they take 7 points from this stretch. This is the longest trip of the season. Hopefully the jet-lag will not get to the Sabres.
I'd almost be willing to say that the stage is set for a fun season. However, there's still the issue of free agency and signing players to the team. I stand by the fact that Buffalo is more than set for defense. The gaps on defense and lack of solid leadership is a concern. Hopefully Buffalo will address these concerns, giving the team a shot at the playoffs. The talent is definitely there for the future, and there is a lot of promise in a season of two. However, this season still looms ahead of the Sabres. I'm sure a lot of Buffalo fans would like to see the Sabres make the playoffs, and lay the groundwork for young prospects to come up and take over in year or two. Plus, if another offensive player is added to the team, when a forward gets injured, the pressure to perform will be less.
On a positive note, Patrick Kaleta was signed to the Sabres for another season. If Kaleta stays healthy, he will be able to get about 20 points a season. Kaleta also has the perk of intimidation on his opponents. If Kaleta works on his game, he can become a good defensive forward. The stars of opposing teams will be concerned about where Kaleta is on the ice, than trying to score.
The season is coming soon. In less than 3 months, the excitement begins. The Sabres will be tested throughout the season. The off-season still looms, and there are numerous things yet to occur. Strap in Sabres fans, we've got a long haul ahead of us.