We’ve all seen Frozen, right? If not do that or at least listen to “Let It Go” before we get started. That song has been everywhere alongside “Let Her Go” by Passenger and they definitely have some thematic crossover as evidenced by the billions of Youtube covers that we’ve all been sick of since February. What does this have to do with Buffalo sports? Hold on and stick with me. I’m taking detours but we’ll get there.
We as Buffalo sports fans have been through the ringer. The Sabres have finally bottomed out and got rid of most of the team’s best players. It’s been tough to see Vanek look great for Montreal or to see Gerbe have a rebound year after looking lost the past couple seasons as a Sabre. It really does suck and I get it. Watching Briere do great things in the playoffs makes my heart drop to my stomach. Just because it sucks though doesn’t mean we need to hold onto these players.
The Sabres have been steadily getting worse for years and the team and its fans desperately tried to pretend that the core we had for years would work. The team regressed and regressed until we had no choice but to fire beloved coaches, not so beloved GM’s, and a lot of players we’ve grown up with. Many of them have gone on to be successful. Lindy Ruff has a playoff team playing some good Hockey alongside solid possession numbers. Pominville was on a tear and still playing good Hockey. Miller is backstopping for a Cup contender and has looked a little up and down but when he’s on, he’s on. They were all big members of the community and people didn’t want to lose them because they were afraid they’d succeed somewhere else, and often times they have. Just because someone is going to play somewhere else doesn’t mean you have to keep them if they’re not playing up to their ability here. It was time for the Sabres to start over. The team had grown stagnant and they weren’t going the right direction anymore. The same can be said for the people in our lives at times. Some people just aren’t meant to be there anymore and you have to relinquish them even if it’s going to hurt to see them be happy with other people. The Sabres knew this was how it had to be and they made tough but necessary moves.
The Sabres have drafted plenty of good young players and conferred their best players to gain more assets for the future. It’s not gonna be immediate and it’s not gonna be easy but they’ve done what they need to do. Letting go of their best players has set them up for some great things. Reinhart or Bennett will do great things someday. Ristolainen looks solid and we all know what Girgensons brings to the table. They have players in place and it will be exciting to watch McCabe, Fasching, Zadorov become the players people believe them to be. It took some pain to get here and some more pain down the line but it will result in a new era of Sabres’ hockey. One that’s hopefully a little more palatable than the lukewarm product we had to watch for years.