Last evening the Sabres won what I consider their most exciting game in close to 10 years with a 3rd period comeback win over a very good NY Rangers team. I felt a level of excitement I haven't felt about the Sabres in about just as long and I know I'm not the only one. Through the TV could hear the crowd roar at the Key Bank Center(aka downtown arena) like they had in the old days(1970-2010). I had become so accustom to our arena living up to it's nicknames the last several years, and they were well earned. The Library, The Morgue.
Sabres fans and fans league wide are already seeing what the return of Jack Eichel means to the Buffalo Sabres. There was some debate on how much impact 1 young player could have on an underperforming Sabres team, but in just 2 games Eichel is showing us it can be a big one. rnrnSo with the new(and short tenured) impact Eichel has had, the immediate topic that comes up is "Now are the Sabres a playoff contender?" And have only 2 responses. Why does that matter and what does it mean if they are?
Why does that matter? I for one don't think it does. I think for most fans it's psychological. They want to say their team is a playoff team. It's partial bragging rights. Not so much bragging in the traditional sense, but almost for arguments sake, "You can't say my team sucks, we're a playoff team now". I think much of this mentality is derived from the fact that the Sabres haven't made the playoffs in 5 years and they just want it to end. Understandable. It also doesn't help that our other top tier pro sports team, the Buffalo Bills, also owned by Sabres ownership hasn't made the playoffs this century and has the longest playoff drought in major pro sports. Another critical piece of this question is, ok if they make it, what can they do when they get there? Can they win a series, can they win a cup? Would being a first round exit team by any more fun than being 3 points out but showing the growth we all hope to see this year? I'll leave those answers to the reader.