Saturday, October 11, 2008

Signs of the Apocalypse

Between last night and today, there have been numerous, small hints that the Four Horseman may be on their way as we speak:

  • Montreal didn't score on their powerplay, a feat that was pretty much guaranteed against the Sabres last season.
  • Both Buffalo shooters scored in the shootout and actually looked like they did their homework on the opposing goalie.
  • Ryan Miller was a brick wall, both in the game and the shootout, and when he wasn't, his defenseman (Toni Lydman) was able to bail him out.
  • The Sabres actually pushed people out of Miller's crease and were willing to start scrums in front of the net.
  • Thomas Vanek was patient with the puck rather than dishing it off right away.
  • The Buffalo Sabres won a defensively minded, one-goal game in a shootout.
And the biggest reason I think the End of Times is right around the corner:
  • Bucky Gleason wrote a glowing review of the Sabres. It was both funny and, here's the kicker, tremendously optimistic:

"It's not often you'll catch me leading the cheers, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the lovable locals...If the season opener was an indication, they should be just fine."

There were a lot of things in this article that I actually agree with (shocking, right?). I, too, believe that there has been a total change in how this team perceives itself this season. There is a bit of a swagger back that had been missing when they looked like lost puppies last year. I think no small amount of that comes from the fact that they have a clear leader in Craig Rivet, who has more confidence in this team himself than I think a lot of the guys had put together before he came along. He oozes quiet, stable self-assurance, and I think the guys are already running with that mindset.

Also, I think there is a sense that this is a team just waiting to prove everyone wrong because they know everyone that doubts them is wrong. Last year, they may have said that they were confident, but there was a sense that even the players knew that the year would be a year of discovery. This year, the soul-searching is over, and Thomas Vanek's unusual display of exuberance after he scored makes me think that this team is ready to embrace the role of hungry underdogs that fits them so well.

Finally, I think the shift in demeanor has come from the assurance that the core will be together for a good, long time. The organization showed confidence in them, the fans are excited about their contracts, and they can't wait to go to battle with each other every night. I have a feeling this new sense of stability will bode very well on the ice for this group that is so close off of it.

The team that hugs it out together, wins together

Another sign of the Apocalypse is that this team has me asking on a Saturday, Is it Monday yet?


Mary said...

Another sign of the Apocalypse is that this team has me asking on a Saturday, Is it Monday yet?

I know, right? It's a tragedy that that's even running through people's minds!

Katie said...

Mary, it feels so unnatural to be asking that, but I guess that's when you know it's hockey season!

Shelby Rose said...

Bucky Gleason being positive?! The apocalypse really is coming to the Earth; the end is near!

By the way, I love the picture in your post. I love when the team does group hugs.

Katie said...

I love when the team does group hugs.

So do I, Shelby. I think you'll see that, as the season progresses, I will find any excuse to post group hug pictures because it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.