An Open Letter To Buffalo Sabres Fans: We’ve Been Through Enough
Dear Sabres fans,
Let's not sugarcoat it, the Buffalo Sabres are downright terrible. The 2020-2021 season has been incredibly difficult to watch, and I honestly don't know how much more I can take.
As of Friday, the Sabres are dead last in the NHL standings with just 15 points in 21 games and a -17 goal differential. They've lost five straight games and 11 of their last 13!
Outside of forwards Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson and Jack Eichel, scoring has been virtually non-existent, and team captain Jack Eichel has only 2 goals in 19 games (the majority of his points are assists). The 5-on-5 play has been abysmal, as has the defence and the goaltending. In fact, you could argue the goaltending has been the worst its ever been on the Sabres in their 51-year history, at least as long as I've been watching the team (20+ years).
It appears the Sabres will once again miss the playoffs, as they are now 12 points back of the fourth-place Philadelphia Flyers, who sit at as number four seed in the NHL East standings. It would be the 10th straight season without a playoff appearance for the Sabres, which is a franchise record.
The Sabres finished at the bottom of the standings in 2014 and 2015, but I can honestly say I would rather watch those teams than watch the 2021 version. There seems to be zero chemistry with the players, they haven't bought into the system the coach has put in, and honestly, they probably don't have the personnel anyway.
How much more of this can Eichel take? At what point does the organization say "enough is enough" and start over from scratch -- a rebuild. If that happens, chances are Eichel wouldn't want to stick around, which would be incredibly disheartening.
When I was a kid and into my teenage years, the Sabres were my favorite team in Buffalo. I've always loved the Bills, but once upon a time, the Bills were in the middle of their 17-year playoff drought and it was the Sabres who were captivating the hearts of Buffalonians.
From the late 90s and early 2000s with Dominik Hasek being unbeatable to the post-lockout years from 2005-2007, with Ryan Miller, Chris Drury, Danny Briere, Thomas Vanek and Brian Campbell, among others -- the Sabres enjoyed great success for a decade. Even after those two great years after the lockout, the Sabres were competing for the playoffs and won the division in 2010, on the back of Ryan Miller's best season as a pro.
This 2021 team is so bad it's now becoming laughable. I watch the New York Islanders score a goal off Jonas Johansson's mask from the side of the net last night and I literally chuckle to myself...I hate that. I hate the fact I'm at a loss for words and humor is now my only form of healing.
I think most Sabres fans have had enough. Losing is one thing, but the product has been embarrassing, and fans deserve better -- especially considering the hockey they've had to already watch the last nine seasons.
Every game I watch gets harder and harder. I don't blame fans for refusing to watch these games anymore. It's been a brutal past 12 months in real life, so willingly watching a hockey team this bad is a tough sell.
I just want to love hockey again. I hope that Sabres fans get to enjoy a winner someday and it's not as long as the Bills 17-year drought was. Buffalo sports fans have been through enough.