Hate; Spite; Jealousy; Disgust; Revulsion; Repulsion; Resentment; Malevolence; Grudgingness; Invidiousness; Lust: All words that came to mind while watching the Red Wings/Blackhawks game last night.
Some of these words are linked to the feelings I have toward my team, some in envy of other teams (or their fans), or both.
I hate the Sabres right now. I can't stand how lazy they play and I loathe the comments and excuses they make after every game. I still continue to watch though. I don't know why. Maybe because I haven't taken enough time to watch a lot of other teams this season.
One of my favorite things to do is watch hockey, it always has been. I am able to watch anyone. But since I moved to Texas, that just isn't how I spend my free time anymore. The move itself has nothing to do with my interest in the game: Trading in male roommates for your girlfriend plays more the role of why. I'm sure she's less than thrilled when I turn on a Sabres game, but obviously doesn't mind when I watch them. You know, give and take. (I've been to plenty of the craft shows and antique markets that she likes going to...should I have admitted that?) Outside of the Sabres though, if I continue watching other teams, that's just time I'll lose that I could be spending with her. That's not really something I want either.
Yesterday was different though. She spent all day making paella and we watched her hometown Steelers lose in overtime to Jesus Christ and the Broncos. It was a nice and relaxing afternoon. Only, after football, it got kind of boring. Nothing -- and I mean nothing -- was on TV. I searched and searched and searched. The only thing I could find was Chicago vs. Detroit on the new NBC Sports Network, so I figured what the hell?
After watching only three minutes of this game, I realized instantly that I've been settling for inferior hockey all year. It didn't even seem like the same sport. I'm familiar with the long and intense rivalry that these two teams share, so you'd expect the high-energy game that was delivered, but they obviously don't just play each other this way. Players on both teams were hard on the puck: Fore-checking, back-checking, hitting and crisp passing every second of the game. I rediscovered the reasons these two teams are in the upper-echelon of the league (and will be for years to come). These teams proved that you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't equal that talent with a strong work ethic, you will be rendered useless.
Like I said, I was envious. I don't want to sound like I'm pouting -- I've got better shit to worry about -- but the way the Sabres approach games fucking brings me down. Why can't "Hockey Heaven" look more like Hockeytown?
The responsibility falls on everyone involved. I've said it before, if it's the players: Trade/waive them. If it's the coaching/management: Fire them. But if they continue to remain asleep at the wheel when it comes to making a change, Hockey Heaven will swiftly turn into "Hockey Hell."
I don't blame Pegula for that though. When someone walks in and buys a professional sports team, they have all the right the world to give it whatever nickname they want, warranted or not. But procrastinating in the department of fixing it when realizing it's not what you said it was: INEXCUSABLE!
Assuming the Sabres will miss the playoffs this season gives me hope that a change will at least happen after the season. But like Trevor said, this season could still be salvageable. All you're doing by not making a change now is instilling more doubt into your fan base. It personally makes me wonder if changes will ever be made at all since the obvious first step [fire the coach/manager] should have happened months, if not years ago.
C'mon Terry, will you please just surprise us all? Can you please come out of the blue and back up your once powerful words with some sort of equivalent action(s)? Get rid of this alien form of the game I love once and for all, and bring exciting hockey back to Buffalo. We as fans deserve a hell of a lot more than this.