I went into HSBC Arena Friday thinking that the Sabres were going to turn around their bad luck. I mean, they were playing Carolina, tied for last place in the East. In the end, I was surprised, and extremely disappointed.
Early in the week, Buffalo did play some powerful teams in the Penguins and the Senators. Brief periods of lackadaisical play killed them in the end. Over a span of 8 minutes on Monday against the Penguins, the Sabres gave up 4 goals. I felt bad for Miller, no support whatsoever. Then on Wednesday against the Senators, Buffalo falls asleep over the last 4 minutes. No one showed emotion, and Ottawa skated circles around them. Daniel Alfredsson was left alone by Ryan Miller. Alfredsson could have had a 3 course meal prior to anyone touching him when he netted the game winner with 1 minute to go.
That brings me to Friday night. Buffalo looked ATROCIOUS. I can't sum it up any better than that. Buffalo looked sluggish the entire night. Their speed was non-existent. The Canes did what they wanted. The scoreboard said 4-3 at the end of the game, but it was misleading.
The most glaring mistake, was when I was able to watch Eric Staal skate between 3 Buffalo players, and let his shot go. No one hit him. No one tried to poke check him. There was no effort. Buffalo looked slow, their passes were off, and it was like they just didn't care. Even after going down 4-3 with a few minutes left, Buffalo still showed no emotion or drive to try to win. That loss was well earned by Buffalo.
I thought Buffalo had hit rock bottom. I was extremely grateful seeing Buffalo putting Lalime in net against the Blue Jackets. I figured this was the game to turn things around. Again, I was wrong. The Jackets controlled the game completely. 4-0 was a good score indicator. I felt bad for Lalime. No support whatsoever in front of him like Miller the past week. There's only so much a goalie can do. Don't blame Lalime, blame the 18 guys in front of him.
The city of Buffalo actually expects a Cup from this team? Believe me, I pray that Buffalo wins the Stanley Cup. However, this isn't the team to do it. If you can't beat teams like the Canes and the Blue Jackets, you are not going to beat teams like the Capitals and the Devils. It will just not happen. Trust me, I hope I'm wrong on this.
As I was traveling throughout Buffalo in my Miller jersey on Saturday, I actually had people looking at me with a sad smile, and shaking their heads with the understanding that this team isn't necessarily what we thought it was. People approached me Saturday night saying things like "this is sad", "pathetic", and "what's wrong with this team". The city of Buffalo is starting to worry.
However, the saddest night for me was still Friday night. As i clutched my head after the game in my seat, I honestly debated taking my jersey off as I walked too my car. I was honestly ashamed and embarrassed of how Buffalo played. I don't think I'm the only one.