The proposed NHL answer to finishing the season involves jumping right into the playoffs. Scrapping the last dozen or more games makes sense for the league. As well as limiting competition to just a couple of cities.
It goes without saying there would be no fans. Minimize travel. Minimize destinations. Focus on doing things the safest way possible by targeting fewer areas and limiting activity. Attention to detail. With no fans in attendance, T.V. viewership should be higher than ever.
24 of the 31 teams will compete for the Cup. That is a heck of a lot of teams. Unbelievable that even with Jack Eichel’s MVP-type season, the Buffalo Sabres will sit home yet again. Let that sink in. 24 teams will make the playoffs. Not one of them Buffalo.
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The “suffering” officially began in April of 2013 according to Darcy Regier as he uttered the phrase “rebuild from scratch”. The Sabres were able to net Eichel during that time but despite multiple last-place finishes, they didn’t win the Draft lottery until 2018 when they selected defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Unlike with Eichel, they earned the opportunity to draft Dahlin. When they drafted ‘Captain Jack’, management did not really hide their efforts to finish at the bottom of the standings. In 2018, it was an honest effort. They were trying to win. They just couldn’t.
Now, here we are in 2020, and nothing much has changed. A staggering 24 teams qualified for the postseason and the Sabres are not even in the conversation. The rebuild has taken too long. I was one of those optimistic fans that figured with all of the trades and talent from multiple lottery pick finishes, some deep playoff runs should have happened by now. Maybe even a Stanley Cup win similar to Buffalo’s own Patrick Kane in the Windy City. However, we now have a very frustrated Jack Eichel on a losing team for five seasons with multiple head coaches and GM changes during that time.
Regardless of the circumstances, the team should not be looking from the outside in at the 24 other teams who will compete for the Stanley Cup. This resembles the embarrassing 18-year playoff drought that we endured as Buffalo Bills fans. The drought’s length does not quite match the Bills. Not yet anyway.
Are the Sabres beginning to resemble that famous red-nosed Rudolph? Not being allowed to join in the reindeer games? There is always next year. Ouch. Make it stop. Stealing shamelessly from Lloyd Christmas…“Find a Happy Place. Find a Happy Place.”