Playoff Time

There seems to be an odd self-consciousness surrounding the conversation about the Sabres these days.  More than any other Sabres-related topic, I’ve read a ton of articles and blog posts about the “State of Sabres Fandom”.  Are the fans behind this team?  Is this team good enough to win the hearts and the minds of the fans?  Do the fans love the Sabres?  WHY don’t the fans love the Sabres in the same way as they did three years ago?  Blah blah blah blah blah.

I don’t know, I think the whole conversation is icky.  Who cares?  I don’t want to think about this.  I don’t want to dwell on negativity (or perceived negativity).

It’s time to let it go, Buffalo.  To me, the playoffs feel like a clean slate.   It’s time to stop measuring this year’s version of “Sabres fandom” against other years, and just be grateful that we get the opportunity to see our beloved Sabres in the postseason.  We get to cheer for them as a community.

For me, the difference between the regular season and the playoffs is this: My interest in analyzing this team has really just drained away.  All I want to do right now is cross my fingers for luck, and try to figure out which of my outfits has the best winning percentage at the arena, and think about which 1st round match-up is most fortuitous, and look at my pile of playoff tickets, and imagine the arena during an exciting playoff game, and smile at the other people I see with car flags, and imagine the beards (OH HOW I LOVE THE BEARDS), and play “Let’s go Buff-a-lo” on my viola when I get done tuning it at rehearsals, and happily fret about my potential playoff schedule conflicts, and think about Tyler Myers (little baby Tyler Myers!) playing in the playoffs, and welcome the band wagoners, and love every single thing about Ryan Miller, and get nervous, and get psyched, and revel in the fact that HOLY SHIT THE SABRES WON THE DIVISION AND MAYBE THEY CAN WIN MORE.

Most of all, I just want to hope hope hope hope hope.

We’ve got one beautiful week before the playoffs start. This week we get the chance to appreciate how far the Sabres have come before we have to start stressing about their performance in the playoffs.  I imagine that when the playoffs start, we’ll get bogged down in a million tiny elements of each game.  When it’s all over, and the lockers are cleaned out, we’ll have a million things to analyze. There will be plenty of opportunity down the road to discuss every little detail.

But, this week, we get to clear our minds of everything but the playoff series in front of us.  This week, anything is possible, and it’s time to err on the side of joyfulness.

It’s time to be fans.


12 Responses to “Playoff Time”

  1. 1 sheri April 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    sometimes i wish i were a newer fan, like you. i mean that in no negative way at all btw, you are one of my favorite sabres bloggers, and i especially love that you’re a woman who KNOWS the game.

    but as a long time sabres fan, one who was 11 during the “no goal” and cried herself to sleep that night, watched the team not make the playoffs for three years before the lockout, who knew the second the sabres announced jay mckee had a staph infection our cup dream was over, and of course the presidents trophy/ottawaugh year, its real hard for a lot of us to fully believe. i know anythings possible, but its also hard to buy in. i want to believe, but then history tells me don’t get yr hopes up, kid. i won’t ever stop cheering for our boys and loving this team, but the doubts still there.

  2. 2 Katebits April 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    You know, Sheri, I don’t judge anyone with doubts! I have them too. LOTS of them. I guess I’m just surprised by how much everyone seems obsessed with the current mental state of the Sabres fans. I’ve just read SO MUCH about how the reaction to this season is tempered in comparison to past years. I think it’s a little weird how much this has been discussed. It seems borderline neurotic to me. I think we should stop focusing on that so much. I just wanted to write a post that focused on things that are exciting to me about the post season that have nothing to do with the Sabres’ chances of winning, but that also didn’t sound preachy about “not being negative.”

    Just because we have doubts that doesn’t mean we’re being negative, and also, doubts are no reason not to be SUPER EFFING EXCITED. That’s my official stance on this. :D

  3. 3 Katebits April 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I should have also said in that comment, that I understand perfectly why it would be easier for me to get all excited over the playoffs than a lifelong fan!

  4. 4 Sam April 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Well spoken (as usual), Katebits! :)

    The post-season magic is really what the whole year is about anyway, right? And anything CAN (and usually does) happen. I originally fell in love with hockey in the playoffs (way back in 1994) and also rediscovered the Sabres– for the first time as an actual Sabres fan– during the playoffs- 2006, when I wasn’t actually living in Buffalo.

    Bring on the Beards!!! :) Our boys can grow some foxy playoff beards and I am very excited about seeing that again. Mmmhmmm.

  5. 5 Rebecca April 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I’m supposed to get a new car next week (well, new to me) and my first thought was “Oooh, I’ve gotta get some Sabres flags for it, for the playoffs!” I’m so hoping I’m not a jinx if I do. I get ridiculously superstitious during the playoffs…

    And like Sam said, Bring on the Beards! I’m thinking Goose and Monty, especially, will rock the beard very nicely. Do you think Tim Kennedy can actually grow one? :-D

  6. 6 SueInVA April 8, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I checked Amazon the other day. The car flag is sold out!!!
    I have an old black and red one but am worried that it might be bad luck! (Hee. Got to love sports fan superstitions!)

  7. 7 Erin April 8, 2010 at 9:10 am

    As a new fan, I thought I’d be more excited for this moment, but I find myself tempering my excitement, and I don’t totally know why. I plan to just pretend like it’s no big deal all this week and then have a complete and total fan freak-out when the playoff’s start.

  8. 8 Jonathan April 8, 2010 at 9:51 am

    The amount of negativity is overwhelming. Compared to other years. People are expecting them to fail, because it will hurt less. Which is so stupid.

    Hope for the best and what happens happens. This team will be good next year as well. The young talent coming up is something I’m excited for. Luke Adam, Zach Kassian and we get Tyler Ennis already.

    The only sad part, no JP Dumont. He has a sweet playoff beard. Lets go Nashville!!!!

  9. 9 Jessica April 8, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Thanks for this post. It was a perfect reminder that this is the best time of year for fans to lead with their hearts and not their heads.

  10. 10 Mark B. April 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Awesome post, Kate. While I can understand that some of these players are hard to cheer for, I think there’s enough guys to get behind (IE: Miller, Myers, Kaleta, etc.). But your whole point was not to worry about that fact, and I love the attitude! I’m actually looking forward to a playoff where I don’t EXPECT them to win it all. I was so stressed watching them in 06-07 because I thought we were shoe ins to get the cup. It wasn’t fun. I look forward to these guys surprising me. I think it will also be really interesting to see if the new core of this team can take the reins and do some damage in the playoffs. We’ll see if they got what it takes!

  11. 11 Katebits April 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I’m actually looking forward to a playoff where I don’t EXPECT them to win it all.

    That’s such a good point. No matter what happens in the playoffs, this year is a big step forward from last year. I remember saying at some point this year that all I want is for them to be better this year than they were last year, and better next year than they are this year. The biggest problem I’ve had with Darcy is that he’s been trying to tell us that this team would improve. I didn’t believe him at the beginning of the season, but now I believe he was right.

    Just because we don’t see a clear and inevitable path to the Cup that doesn’t mean this can’t be really fun. In fact, it might be more fun because we’ve got them in the underdog role. As long as they don’t whither and die in the playoffs, I’m going to feel great about the season.

  12. 12 Jim April 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Well said, Kate.

    This year will be fun (2006), instead of wondering how horrible them losing would be (2007). 1997-2001 was probably the most fun era I’ve had as a Sabre fan, due to being in Buffalo (Canisius grad) instead of Rochester. Every single game night was special, I could probably remember something from each game of the schedule. If not the game itself, then certainly the people. 2006 was much the same way, but the playoffs in 2007 were something else…

    As for beards go, I started growing mine last week. I’m in London, which means no one knows just why I’ve bothered. And yes, I do plan on not sleeping much over the next two months.

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