Are You Sure?


Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)

Sabres vs Senators - 2007 Eastern Conference Finals
We managed to find a seat in front of the public TV in the Recreation Center of our little Pocono Resort. It was right outside one of the party rooms – which was in use by a Karaoke party this night – and was already populated by a few older people who were not that into the sing-fest. Oddly enough, the extra noise did not matter as there was nothing to hear from the television tonight. The audio was broken, and so we were stuck watching Game three with no commentators or other game sounds.

Overall, not too big a loss. 🙂

We did attempt to pull up the dulcit tones of Rick Jeanneret’s voice on WGR550.com, but the stream was at least 2 minutes behind the live action, so that really didn’t work.

Once we managed to occupy the children, and really get to watch the game, I noticed that these were not the Sabres that I expected to see. I thought maybe we’d see the Sabres who came out firing on all cylinders in Game 5 against the Rangers. With something to prove. I thought we might see the Sabres who from early October had only one thing in the front of their collective mind: Winning the Stanley Cup.

Instead, I saw an Ottawa team who has had that same vision, that same mission, for a year or two more than our Sabres, and it was evident in every single battle for the puck. The Senators just wanted it more.

Now, there was a player or two who had that fire for the Blue & Gold. Daniel Briere was playing with some spunk tonight. Thomas Vanek has some moments, as did Derek Roy. Ryan Miller was sensational. But overall, the Sabres did not have what the Senators did. They were missing the “drive”. They were not on a mission.

So now here they are. They are down three games to none. If they lose one more, they go home. No Stanley Cup for the team who won the most games in the regular season. No championship trophy for the team who scored the most goals, and led the points race in the East from wire to wire. Even after such a fantastic season, they are only one game away from elimination.

But they’re still a game away.

You see, everyone has all but declared Ottawa the victors in this series. Well, most everyone. Lindy Ruff has not. He would like to add the 2007 Buffalo Sabres to the list of teams that have overcome that insurmountable 3-0 series deficit. And he said so in the press conference following tonight’s game. But really who can expect such an outcome? Ottawa only needs one more win, and so far, they’re a fairly easy 3 for 3.

But they still have to win one more.

I could be a homer here, and just say that the Sabres are going to win, “cause they’re the best!” But I won’t. I think that the most likely outcome of a 3-0 series is a loss by the team with the zero. However, I’d like to point out that although in 150 attempts, only 2 teams have ever come back from 3-0 to win a series. 1942, 1975, and … 2007? (If you do the SAT logical pattern thing… we’d have to wait till next year. BUT… we’re close enough, aren’t we???) 🙂

If the Sabres come out Wednesday night and say to themselves, “All we need to do is win this one game,” then perhaps they can. They have done it before. Ottawa is good, but no one is unbeatable. You still have to play the games. And then, after they beat them once, there is a bit of confidence… “Hey, we did it once… perhaps we can do it again!” And if they do, then they have won two in a row, and the momentum builds.

All it takes are a few good bounces, and this “dead” series can take a serious up-swing.

Somehow we get into this pattern of “knowing” what the outcome of a series or a game will be. I do understand it. I have been watching these guys, too. Ottawa just wants it more right now. And it shows. But… the Sabres have wanted it since losing to Carolina in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals last year, too. Perhaps they rediscover that mission, that passion, that drive. Perhaps they become the team on a mission.

Point is, we really don’t know until they play the game. The series is over at four wins, not three. And I hope the Sabres come out playing like that. They are very capable of doing so, as long as they don’t listen to – or, especially, believe the hype.

As the Sabres have been completely amazing this season with impossible comebacks, incredible goals, improbable heroes… I have been saying to my boys all year long that we are “witnessing history”. My thought has always been that this team is so good, it will be difficult to pry the Stanley Cup from their hungry hands. But now that history appears to have been re-written. It looks like the ending will not turn out how I hoped/expected it would.

Or will it?

What kind of history would the Sabres make if they become the third team to win a series after being down 3-0??? I would be more of a prophet than I know! THAT would be some serious history! And, would advance the Sabres to the cup. And would likely be an emotional catapult lifting them to eventually hoisting the Stanley Cup over their deserving heads.

That would just be awesome.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as I have mentioned that we are prone to doing. 🙂 The Sabres just need to play one game at a time, and really just focus on that one. Not what they have done, or what Ottawa has done, or what might happen “If”. Just go out and play. Win this game, and we’ll see what comes next.

How fitting though, if this team could possibly do the impossible. That has been their story all year long. Amazing comeback after comeback. Well, there is one staring them in the face, and the stakes are higher than ever.

Let’s just see how “done” these Sabres really are.