I’m trying really hard to temper my response to the Sabres’ hot start, but they’re making it difficult. They are so feisty! So scrappy! So seemingly capable! Plus, they’ve treated me to two exceptionally fun nights in the arena this week. Detroit was obviously great because of the overall ass kicking domination, and the Islanders was one of those sloppy games that are enjoyable as long as the home team comes out on top (which they did). The thrill-seeking fan in me is bursting with joy. “They’re so good! This time they’ve really changed! They’re never going to suck both offensively and defensively at the same time again!” WE’RE GOING ALL THE WAY!” The cautious realist in me is trying very hard to be stingy with the praise. “Yeah, yeah, this is what they did last year too.” I even went so far as to read my archives from last October and November in an attempt to put this all in perspective. (Seriously, you guys. This is exactly what they did last year.)
What I’m trying to say is that while I’ve LOVED love love loveloveLOVED watching the team these last few weeks, I’m reserving judgment. They sure seem different this year, but I’ve been burned by them before.
There is, however, one element of this team that has not yet let me down. That element is the delightful Tyler Myers.
I will NOT reserve judgment on Tyler Myers. The book is IN on him, and every single page says “Tyler Myers is fucking awesome.” I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but Tyler Myers is WONDERFUL to watch out there on the ice. Last night last there was a moment when he brought the puck in over the blueline, involved himself in a legitimate flurry of offensive chances, swung around the back of the net, and was somehow in place to deal with the rebound. His efforts didn’t amount to a goal, but as the play was unfolding I actually squawked, “Oh my God, I can’t believe how awesome Tyler Myers is. I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW AWESOME HE IS,” and everyone sitting around us turned to nod in awe. There is something about his playing (and the fact that he’s eleven feet tall) that demands attention. I can’t take my eyes off him in the arena.
I’m kidding of course when I say “the book is in” on Tyler Myers. It’s only been a few games. He’s so young. It’s a long season. There is no conceivable way a nineteen-year-old can just plop down in the NHL without some growing pains and some bumps along the way. But still.
In the last two years we’ve endured a lot of crappy hockey from this team while being told that they have “potential”. How many times have we heard things like, “The potential is there, but we’re just not executing.” We’ve become desensitized to the word “potential,” but it’s a difficult concept to ignore right now because Tyler Myers exudes it. He’s pure and untouched (heh) by the general suckitude that has surrounded the Sabres for the last two years. All we know about Tyler Myers is his potential.
I find it difficult to look at this roster and think, “They’ve changed,” but having a kid like Tyler Myers on the ice sure helps. (Mike Grier helps too.) I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this good start coming, and as a fan, it’s been a welcome treat.
History has taught me not to lose my head over the Sabres right now, but I am willing to say something I didn’t think I would be saying five games into the season: The potential is definitely there.