Buffalo Sabres: Things We Know This Week

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BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 4: Rasmus Ristolainen #55 of the Buffalo Sabres defends during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators on April 4, 2018 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rasmus Ristolainen

Today is the day many stoical Sabres fans have been anticipating since the final game in April. Through the long playoff season that eventually resulted in the Blues being crowned Stanley Cup champions and the dog days of summer, this day seemed like it would never come. Ironically, when the Blues were loitering like ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ at the bottom of the standings the Sabres were smiling at the top around the Holiday season.

A ‘Bunyanesque’ change of events occurred as Buffalo imploded like never before and St Louis shot up the standings when the calendar turned to 2019. They climbed out of the long-shot hole they dug themselves all the way to Lord Stanley.

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Over the last several months following the end of the season, the Sabres have undergone a bit of a makeover. In addition to player movement, changes were made across the board to the coaching staff. This included a head coach being terminated, a new coach hired, and a brand new coaching staff put in place. Or, in other words, just another offseason in this never-ending drought for the Sabres.

One suggestion, if I may. The wait in between the end of one season and the beginning of the next can be drastically shortened if the Sabres would play through April and into June. Perhaps there is some tournament they could participate in that even mediocre teams can be successful. But that is a discussion for another day.

Today is not hype or talk. Today is not strictly about the kids. Today is day one of the real deal. No more guessing what the new coach may bring to the table. With training camp in Pegulaville now open, you can see and hear what he brings and how he reacts to each and every situation. (Sunday’s practice is open to the fans).

Welcome back, Sabres’ hockey.

Now with training camp here, I can honestly say I never ever imagined a scenario where Ristolainen would still be a Buffalo Sabre. I was equally confident that he played his last game in the blue and gold as I was about Ryan O’Reilly after he basically set up his departure during locker clean-out media interviews. By no means is the book shut on the talented defender being moved for other positions of need. But the fact that he is skating as a Sabre in training camp means he is that much closer to returning to witness the end of the suffering.

Thank you, Darcy. Thank you, Tim.  Playoffs this year or I add Thank-You-Jason to the list. Not yet.

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