That time is here. Face off is almost 48 hours away between the Habs and the Sabres. What awaits for the loyal fans of Buffalo this season?
After looking through what happened in the off-season, I feel that Buffalo is yet again, not prepared or ready for the season to start. Looking at the final roster, I don't feel this team is any better than the team last year. There are some new faces in the minor league system that do not warrant mentioning. Mike Grier is back, which is excellent. Buffalo can count on him to get 15 goals this season, and to help improve the penalty kill. Steve Montador is a replacement for Jaroslav Spacek, if you can call it that. The team has not been greatly improved. At least Kaleta and Stafford were signed to deals, however short term they are. My grade for Buffalo Sabres General Management this off-season, C-. Remember, you want to improve your hockey team, not keep it in the same position it's been in. If that's what we should do, we can hire Richard Jauron.
Tim Kennedy and Tyler Myers, welcome to the big time! It's great that they have made it to the NHL, but are they ready for it? Time will tell. They may be getting their chance a little too soon.
The entire lineup needs to stay healthy as well. It's not the defense I'm worried about. The Sabres have 9 men on defense who have NHL experience, 8 currently on the active roster. Do the Sabres need that many d-men? The only positive thing is that in a pinch, Paetsch can fill in on offense. He did a great job last season filling in. With Adam Mair hurt, the amount of depth on the Sabres offense is troublesome. I would put money on the fact that come the end of October, Mark Mancari and Nathan Gerbe may be in Buffalo, instead of Portland.
There is hope! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see much of the Sabres this pre-season. However, I saw solid numbers and stats from games against Detroit, Toronto, and other opponents. 4-1-1 is great, but will it last? Plus, this is pre-season. That can't necessarily be a great gauge for how a team will play come regular season.
Like the rest of Buffalo, I'm more than ready for the start of the season. Unfortunately, I still see that the Sabres fans are skeptical about this year, due to the fact that games are not selling out. The question looms over the Sabres, Why is this year going to be any different than the past two? And will the 09-10 Sabres reach the playoffs, ending a two year drought. Time will tell, and that time is now. Let's drop the puck, and Let's Go BUFFALO!!!!