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"Now WHOOOO gave you that idea? Could it possibly be.... SA-TANNNNN?!?!?!?" - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
"Now WHOOOO gave you that idea? Could it possibly be.... SA-TANNNNN?!?!?!?"
It's official. I'm turning coat and running for the remainder of the NHL season.

As every junior hockey boy knows, the Sabres are expected to suck this year- more or less by design. There are two "generational" players just short of draft age, and Buffalo can secure a 20 percent chance of the #1 overall pick in next summer's entry draft, and a 100 percent chance of picking no worse than #2, by finishing dead last again like they did last year.  Plus they also have the first round picks of two other teams (who so far are being uncooperative and winning way too many games), giving us a slim chance of securing both prizes.

Don't laugh. Pittsburgh and Chicago essentially built their multi-Cup dynasties by tanking at precisely the right times. And although nobody in the organ-eye-zation will admit it (though some have come close), there's no shame in losing when your talent level has little chance of making it into, much less far in, the Big Boy Pants World of the NHL post-season.

So, yeah, sucking it is- and for the first three games, I was happy to see the good (which is to say bad) results on the ice. We were outscored, outshot, outhit and thoroughly outplayed by Columbus, Chicago and Anaheim the first three times out. The Sabres' coach mocked the team publicly for its "pee wee" level of play before they achieved their first win of the year last night, and even that was a struggle against an injury-ridden Carolina team that's not much better than we are.

Still, it's a long season, and it gets cold and dark enough around here as it is, so a few nights ago, I put out a CraigMcTavishslist-type personal ad through Facebook, looking for friends to recommend a substitute team I could actually root for to win in the coming year.  Criteria are relatively few, and definitely subjective for the most part, and consist of the following:

  • The other 15 teams in the Eastern Conference are preferred to Western teams,  to improve the timezone chances of following their games at all and to have even more chances to see them play the Sabres (Western Conference teams play only one home-and-home set of games against the other conference all year; in-conference games are at least three a year). On the same theory, the other seven teams in our division get a preference, because we play them seven times during the year.

  • Ideally, my Adopt-a-Team should be good, or at least have a good chance of making the post-season. Partly this is to give me more to root for, but I never want to have a team running the risk of competing for the bottom against Buffalo.

  • A good record in regulation time is preferable, since the league awards a "loser point" to any team that holds its opponent to a tie after the first 60 minutes of play.  Those points will hurt the Sabres' chances, and we certainly don't want to see my new team giving away lovely parting gifts to us.

  • Only two teams are out of the running: the Islanders and the St. Louis Blues. That's because we own their first-round picks in next summer's draft and therefore have a vested interest in them losing whenever possible.

  • Other than those rough rules, I'll consider any of the other 27 franchises, even those who would otherwise give me the willies to be rooting for (Boston, Philly, Toronto and the Rangers come to mind). Along similar Sun Tzu lines, any enemy of those enemies is more likely to be my friend in this department.

I got some early suggestions of the Ottawa Senators (right division, no great hate between us although little love either) and the Maple Laffs (plenty of viewing opportunities on MSG against the Sabres and almost every Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada), but even before a loyal season ticket holder suggested my final choice, I was thinking of them in a good-is-bad kind of way.  They're in the right conference, aren't on the Ineligible List, play two enemies regularly and have several nice people for fans. I might even get to a game someplace or other before the sucking is over!

Yes, I'm going to hell in a Jersey Devils net.


What's not to fake liking?  Who but Joisey can hold a road flare to Buffalo's own inferiority complex about our Big Brother City on the other end of the Thruway (in our case, the GWB in theirs)? The team is established but not Original Six snooty; it's won the Cup but doesn't have a freaking wing of them like the Wings; its games are on MSG and may actually be shown here in the upper reaches of the cable box (I still need to study the stupid NHL blackout rules); and, best of all, I can root-root-root for the Princes of Darkness 14 times a year against the Rangers (see "Original Six snooty," earlier) and Islanders (sorry, greenquotebook, but we really need that draft pick) and get that extra good feeling out of those wins.  Perhaps best of all, the franchise began its history as the Kansas City Scouts, and with all the KC-love getting heaped on the Royals the past few weeks. maybe some of their small-market karma will still pass through to the Devils and, by some form of osmosis, to the Sabres once we can start being good again next year.

Nothing is final here. I'm not selling my soul to Lou Lamoristopheles or anything- and if they turn bad during the season and start competing with Buffalo in the race for Connor McDavid (aka the Irish Suckstakes), I'll drop them like a Snooki f-bomb. But as long as they're playing well and don't go too crazy with the boring neutral-zone trap that they essentially invented, that'll be me, cheering, um,....

What am I supposed to cheer, anyway? "I got your puck right here!" seems about right.
2 comments or Leave a comment
greenquotebook From: greenquotebook Date: October 19th, 2014 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, ppppbbbbllllltttt (that was a big raspberry).

Hey, you can always dump the NHL completely and get behind the Amerks.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: October 19th, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Only problem with that is, if Amerks players do really well, there's the risk that the Sabres will call them up. That will adversely hurt Rochester's record and could even more adversely help Buffalo's.
2 comments or Leave a comment