Buffalo Sabres: Fans Have No Fear, Your Future Is Bright

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While Tuesday’s heartbreaking 1-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes left many Buffalo Sabres fans feeling blue, there should still be joy in the City of Light. Why you may ask? The answer is simple—your future is so bright, ya gotta wear shades.   Yes, yes, I know the past has not been too bright and celebrating your 40th year in the NHL and still not having a Stanley Cup to your credit is a dark cloud over that celebration. 

While some may want to blame goaltender Ryan Miller for last night’s loss, you may really want to look at the other end of the ice for the true culprit, Carolina goaltender Cam Ward.  By the end of the night Ward had racked up 40 saves and, as one die-hard Sabres fan, RockerTommyB, tweeted last night, “Cam Ward is our kryptonite.”

Brandon Sutter scored Carolina’s lone goal with just 42 seconds left in the first period giving the Canes a mental edge going into the locker room at the first intermission that Cam Ward apparently took to heart. With a lot of traffic in front of Miller, Sutter got lucky with a rebound off of Miller and backhanded it into the net with Miller lost in the commotion on the opposite side of the net.

Miller, usually a calm, cool and collected kind of guy, was obviously upset by the goal late in the first as he came off the ice. He is, traditionally, the last man off the ice and as he went off the ice he slammed his stick on the boards, clearly in frustration.  While the Sabres battled along the boards and hung in there and fought hard in the neutral zone, none of their 40 shots got past the brick wall that was Cam Ward.  

Yet, to the Sabre faithful, while the bitter taste from this game may still be in your mouth, you must take a cleansing breath and look to the  future.

The winds of change are in the air in Buffalo, with a new owner whose passion and deep love for the game is certainly contagious. It is evident in the chat rooms, blog comments and even sports broadcasts. Some have even speculated that this excitement has already begun to trickle down to the players.

The Sabres culture is moving in a positive direction with a new owner who has clearly stated that he isn’t afraid to make a sincere financial investment in the team. How’s that for some changing winds? 

If you have about 40 minutes, I highly recommend this interview between new owner, Terry Pegula, and a collection of Buffalo news reporters as part of an editorial board meeting on February 24th. If you are a Sabres’ fan and don’t have a man crush on Mr. Pegula yet, you will after listening to this awesome interview. He referred to what he is presently doing with the team, the fans and the organization as “culture change.”

While Buffalo is buzzing with reports that the Sabres new owner may also be positioning himself to buy the Buffalo Bills, I don’t think that will happen.

He was quoted in the interview above, after being asked if he was also interested in the Bills, “Nope, nope. I got too much going right here, right now, to get this running the way we want it running and to inject the attitude we want into the organization to think about, worry about, football.”

While some Buffalo reporters are claiming inside information and unnamed sources, Mr. Pegula doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would knowingly contradict himself in the press within a three week period. Knowing the history of the previous owner with the fan base, it would be more of a detriment to the vision that he has for the Sabres if he were suddenly seen as deceptive.   

Many would argue that you have one of the best goaltenders in the league. The simple fact that he was chosen as the goalie for the silver medalist 2010 US Olympic team, along with his Vezina trophy last year should leave the argument of Ryan Miller’s value to the team pretty much closed.

You have a solid goaltender who, I believe, will bring you far—possibly even farther than anyone would have suspected. Miller is certainly a goaltender who thrives on the adrenaline rush and rises to the occasion when asked. He will regularly exceed expectations. He is just that kind of player and that kind of individual.

Adding to Miller is a roster whose average age hovers around 25, what Twitter’s BSN360 refers to as “character guys,” in forwards Michael Grier and Rob Niedermayer and goaltender Patrick Lalime. The junior prospects are also a bright spot, in particular Buffalo native left winger Marcus Foligno, who is the son of former Sabre captain Mike Foligno (1981-1991).  

So, Sabre fans, with Mr. Pegula and Mr. Miller et al on your side, spring is in the air and your future is bright…go get yourself some cool shades—you’re going to need them.    

Read more Buffalo Sabres news on BleacherReport.com

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