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Our Long National (Hockey League) Nightmare Is Over! - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Our Long National (Hockey League) Nightmare Is Over!
It wasn't easy.  All the reverse rooting of the past 80 games came down to two games in two successive days- tonight's on the road in Ohio, tomorrow's the season finale at home against the hated Pissburgh Penguins.  Lose either in regulation, and be assured of the best drafting chances for the years to come.  Everyone was on board except for one coach and 22 players who bristled at the notion of tanking.  Their bristling cost them a chance to clinch against Carolina on Monday.  Meanwhile, their closest (and as of this week, their only) competition for the bottom of the barrel was losing by comfortable margins- and they don't play again until after our final two games have been put in the books.

Ah, but the first one has, and while they made a good effort, it was clearly, gleefully, hope-for-the-futurely not enough.

For 58 minutes and change, I was on the edge of my seat. Twice, the home team, the better team,  the on-a-winning-streak team got out in front, and twice those pesky losers made up the deficit.  Columbus notched a third go-ahead goal with just under 10 minutes left, but Buffalo kept pushing, trying, coming dangerously close to that tying goal that could've earned them a guaranteed point and maybe two before the night was done.

With more than a minute left, theSabres' all-world-this-week goalie headed for the bench to give them an extra skater, and just as the clock started ticking off tenths with under a minute to go, Boone Jenner became the most loved opponent in Buffalo sports history by finding the open Buffalo net, putting the BJ's up by two, and the party was on.

And what a party it'll be at the final home game tomorrow. For the first time since Game One, every Sabres fan will be rooting for them to win. More so, because their opposing Pittsburgh Penguins (who mastered the tank strategy to get some of their best-ever generational players at the top of the draft) have played worse then the Sabres the past couple of weeks and have fallen dangerously close to missing the playoffs. With a loss to our lowly losers tomorrow, they will be out of the post-season- and they traded away their first-round pick, so there's no risk of them getting the #1 overall pick (all non-playoff teams have at least a minor percent chance at it).

It will be loud, and emotional, and sweeter than sweet if we win- and our beloved Rick Jennaret will be in the booth for the call (he took tonight's road game off). Yet even louder, and more emotional and sweet, moments await a week from tomorrow- when the league announces who has won the right to the first pick in the 2015 draft.  We can be no worse than second, where a Very Good college player awaits- but we now are assured of the best odds of getting the first, who is better, stronger, faster than even that guy.

In short, you guys sucked. But it was the best of sucks.
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