As most of you guys can tell, I've been really bad as of late about writing hot takes about the Sabres. I pretty much warned you like 7 games into the season I couldn't take it anymore. I wouldn't write much until real change happened.
Of course, change came with Darcy/Rolston finally being thrown out on their asses. Still, I haven't been able to find anything interesting about this season other than the firings and feeling bad for Pat Kaleta. Just after years of Darcy, I can't muster enough anger to write about how bad the team is because they've been bad for a while now and it would be Groundhog Day for me. BLAH, BLAH, I HATE PROSPECTS. Repeat. Rinse. Cycle..or however you wash clothes. I like to try and be unique and not sound like a Sucky/Bully broken record column (Credit to Deadspin on that nickname).
Between the losing out debate being played out on Twitter (Get me a gun to shoot Jeremy White and myself for engaging in the argument) to bitching about Corey Tropp getting waived (Fuck the gun, I want to suffer. Get me the chainsaw) to a player having a rabbit be the highlight of the last month for the team (You know..I want to Fall out of 30 story window after being shot in the back and fall into a bed of chainsaws), this season has just been a whole lot of silly discord to keep the Sabres on our minds until we get to the good parts (Deadline/off season trades) and I don't really feel like partaking in it. I'm over it.
While I haven't written anything about it because I'm just playing out the string, I've still watched most games and I think we can all agree that the MVP of this team is Ryan Miller. He's been great and I've been savoring his gallant efforts for every great save he makes look routine. I'm savoring it because I know the end is coming. It is like when you go on vacation and on that finally day, you are savoring every moment of your activities. The food, the booze, the sights and everything. You just aren't ready to leave yet, but, you know you have to.
At the same time, these games don't mean a whole lot because of where we are in the standings and I've found myself kind of pitying Miller because of where he's at with this squad. How does a guy of his talent survive mentally on such a bad team? I think we all know the answer to that. He's looking forward to the same 2-week period I've been looking forward to that we are about to enter:
Maybe this sounds crazy, but up until this point, I haven't wanted the Sabres to trade Miller because of the Olympics rather than just wanting him to stay at the sake of keeping one of the best goalies in the NHL. What seems to be a norm with my mindset whenever the Bills or Sabres go into a state of sadness, I try and journey back to a time where they were fun.
My memory bank to pick realistic scenarios is quite scarce, especially how the last 7 years or so have been pretty bland to say the least. Sure, Pegulamania was fun, but that was really about the idea of having an owner who gave a shit and had vaults of money, only to then see it collapse in an epic #becauseitsbuffalo story arc.
If anything felt organic and real and not just falling in love with the idea instead of reality, it was the Olympics in 2010. Miller was sensational and I can't remember being more prouder of a Bills/Sabres player than him during a short period of time.
I'll always remember how I was at my apex of madness with the Sabres because I loathed Golisano/Quinn and I really didn't get along with many Sabres bloggers as far as how I viewed the team. However, during that 2 week stretch, whether you were Sully, a bitter blogger or a internal optimist, we were all on the same page about him. Twitter was happy and there was zero discord on there.
Buffalo likes to pretend they are big time and are always looking for national recognition. Aside from the HOFs on the Bills 90s squad, I can't think of anyone else being able to crossover outside of WNY like Miller did during those 2 weeks. Not Vanek, not Briere, not Drury and not even Hasek had the same pull with just your casual hockey viewers in the States like Miller did.
He was the talk of the Games and I felt that it was so cool that while America was sampling his greatness, we were going to have him for the next four years.
We bought it, while America was just renting it.
Those two weeks were probably the best hockey I witnessed in the last 7 years and I've been looking forward to see if Miller can recapture that. I'm hoping I can relive that organic feel of being happy that Buffalo somehow makes the big time like it did there.
Yet..It makes the next sentence a little bittersweet…Once he gets home, they should trade him. I know I may change my mind if he goes in and recaptures his play from 2010, but it is just time based on…Time. Miller has been in the Buffalo organization for over 10 years and it just feels like it is never going to get better for him while he's in his prime. How many nights this season have you felt bad for Miller? He's been on a deserted island with Mike Weber turning the puck over and zero goal support.
I can sit here and go over a bunch of fantasy trades or the Sabres making a run at Callahan and other FAs. Could they do what Philly did after having the worst record ever since the first lockout and make it to ECF the following year by signing the offseason's version of Danny Briere? Maybe they can make a Miami Heat/James/Bosh/Wade like deal with bringing in Callahan and Stastny, re-signing Moulson and Miller, and having the 1st overall pick doesn't hurt either.
That sounds awesome and more entertaining than the stupid idea of losing out the next four years to be like Edmonton or Chicago. Sadly, this isn't Xbox and I don't have a good feeling that the Sabres are going to go that route and may just continue with the youth game.
I just think they are sooooooooo far behind the 8 ball because of past management, it will be impossible to get good like that within 1 or 2 seasons, and I'm not talking a run to 8th. I'm talking playoff hockey in late May/Early June good. And because of that, why would Miller want to stay here or why should we want to torture him? It is just time to start over again for both parties.
The guy wants to win and I think he deserves to go wherever he wants to have that opportunity. On top of the winning part, do you ever get to the point of when you are at a job or in a relationship where you know it's amicable for now, but there's no growth and it can only go downhill from here? That's where we are at with Miller. It has been getting worse, not better. Hell, I think Miller haters have come around on him based off this year because he's been great while everyone else around him has been garbage.
I think fans who want to keep Miller are basing it off sentimentality. He's pretty much our last remaining remint of the 05-07 teams. We've grown as a hockey base while he's grown as an adult and it's hard to lose that first love connection.
The Olympics may be my last ditch effort to make me think we can still make a run if a decent team is around him or to put a smile on my face, but in reality, it may be just that last dance with your girlfriend that makes you think of all the good times, but it is really only a reminder that the best days are behind us and Miller leaving is inevitable.
Let's enjoy Miller's Olympic swan song run and then let him run out the door afterwards. Yes, the sky is falling on the Miller/Sabres relationship, but we may as well all stand together and enjoy it before the end.