You guys, HOCKEY IS ALMOST BACK. For real now. The days are getting shorter, the air is crisper, and my Facebook page is covered in statuses like, “I just saw Ryan Miller getting coffee.”
When I think about the upcoming season, I’m like twelve parts “WOOOOOOOOOOOOO”, three parts “Hey, waaaait a minute…these are all the same players, minus our best defensemen, and plus some dude who thought the Sabres sucked back when they were good,” and one part, “This is going to blow. Hard.”
Now before you get all, “GAWD Katebits, you are SUCH a negative nellie. Can’t you just be happy, FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE,” I’d like you to recheck that math. My feelings are leaning overwhelmingly towards WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I hope it’s obvious that even when I’m in a full-blown temper tantrum, I still love the little bastards.
But, I cannot deny that even in spite of my overall hockey hunger, I’m still feeling a bit conflicted about welcoming the Sabres back into my daily consciousness. In order to be fully prepared for the season, I think I’m going to need to talk it out, with a long heart-to-heart (or as my friend Courtney would say, “H-to-H”). I’m girly like that.
Here’s the situation as I see it: I’ve spent the summer “on a break” from the Sabres, but now they’re back, and they want to know what’s up. It’s time for the State of the Union Address, and, frankly, I’m not sure what to say. So join me, won’t you, as we spend the next few days, working through our feelings.
Part One: Before We Go Any Farther, I’ve Got to Get Something Off My Chest
Sabres, you really hurt me last season. You looked so lazy on the ice, and your interviews were so infuriatingly blasé. I was really hoping that this summer apart would change you, but I see now that that really hasn’t happened. I see now that you’re basically the same.
All I heard from the Regier apologists last spring was, “Just give Darcy the summer to tinker. He’s good at making trades. The cap is going to go down, and good players are going to pop free around the league. Darcy’s conservative nature is going to pay off when he’s in a position to take advantage of some other team’s poor cap management. Give him the chance to shake things up.” Well, I did give him a chance. I waited patiently all summer for the trade or the free agent signing that would make everything okay, and you know what, Sabres? It never came.
So, where does that leave us now?
Well, I’ve done some serious thinking this summer Sabres, and I’ve learned a lot about who I am and what I want out of my hockey team. I understand now that if I want things to be different between us, I can’t expect the change to come from you. I can’t change you, Sabres. I understand that now. You are who you are, and I can either accept you or break this off, once and for all.
I think we both know I’m not going to break it off.
I’ve invested too much in this relationship to toss it away at the first sign of trouble. I know you’re not perfect, but frankly, neither am I. So, I’ll do my best to accept you for who you are this season, and I promise not to get too shrill too soon. I may not always like you, but I’m in it for the long haul Sabres. For better or for worse.
You and me (and 18,690 other people), baby.
Now that the vows have been renewed, please tune in tomorrow [“tomorrow” meaning “some indiscriminate amount of time in the future”], as we continue our preparations for the return of hockey by discussing, Reasons For Hope, Reasons For Despair, and Reasons For Never-Ending Boundless Enthusiasm, and Prayers for the Upcoming Season.