I pretty much pride myself on not being duped too easily.
Alright, maybe I have in the past when it comes to sports. But for the most part, I don't really listen to experts or fans when it comes to telling me what is right or what is wrong with a team. Sure, you can argue with me and I'll respect your opinion, but for the most part I think you are probably full of shit…and you may feel the same way about me.
I think I have a good head on my shoulders and try not to listen to white noise all that much. It all started when I decided to not do major designer drugs as a kid because my best friends did it and culminated with me not going on a crime spree of stealing lava lamps at Spencers. I'm just not the type to jump off a bridge if my best friend told me to. Oh, this is about sports…Back to that.
Maybe it's my cynical viewpoint of the world or how I believe everyone has an ulterior motive for building up or destroying a story. I just want to decide for myself without being influenced by outside sources.
I just constantly hear how this is or isn't going to work out when we haven't seen the product on the ice or at least attempted to Google a stat or two. It is fluff in most cases for which I've adopted kind of a wait and see approach. Most of it is propaganda to get fans excited or pissed off. It could also be that I think I'm a know-it-all. Maybe it has to do with being disappointed with preseason expectations in years past.
In case you haven't heard, "the Sabres are tougher to play against."
Lindy Ruff has said it. The prognosticators have echoed the sentiment. The shills have probably made a t-shirt out of the slogan. Whenever someone gets their head caved into the boards (see: Kaleta's injury against Toronto) and someone from the Sabres rallies to defend his fallen teammate (see: Mike Weber), you can bet your bottom dollar that "The Sabres are tougher to play against" will be spoken by Rob Ray, Lindy Ruff or #illhangupandlisten dude.
Like the Grigomania hype, this all feels a bit manufactured for me. A trick to get fans to buy into the Sabres being different and more importantly, better.
It has been the rally cry since July 1st.
Hell, it has been a message that Sabres fans have wanted to be seduced by since I've been watching hockey. From the early 90s when the Boston teams lead by Bourque/Neely would ride Turgeon/Mogilny into the ground, to when the Flyers beat our asses during the middle part of the 90s, to when Mike Peca held out in 2000 -costing the Sabres against the Pens in the playoffs, to when the Sabres lost to Ottawa in 2007, toughness seems to be that missing ingredient in a lot of fans' eyes.
I'm on record in saying I don't exactly think their new found toughness means winning games. However, I'm willing to admit that I can be wrong. I can easily be convinced otherwise and that starts tonight against Boston. It is time to put your money where your mouth is. You want to advertise that old-time hockey is back, well, this is the team to do it against. All the hype about Ott and Scott can come to fruition tonight.
Instead of waiting for your guy to get blind sided, maybe it is time for Ott or Foligno or whoever to bring the pain right off the bat. Be the bully instead of the sparring partner. Dictate the pace and actually play out of character. Be pissed off. Prove that you aren't the same old Sabres and that Boston ain't shit.
If Boston didn't kick our asses in the 2010 playoffs, or won the Stanley Cup two years ago, or ran over Ryan Miller, I don't think the Sabres are selling us on toughness, let alone trade Derek Roy for Steve Ott. You want to win the division, you have to go through Boston. You have to match up with them and maybe that is fighting fire with fire.
They made these offseason deals because they were embarrassed by what Boston has done to them over the years…And why wouldn't they be? The Sabres are 3-9 in their last 12 games against Boston on the road and have been proven to be pussies in those games. Talk about a Boston Massacre of sorts.
I know we are only 6 games into the season and maybe there is too much panic or praise after so few games, but playing Boston is a nice early season test that will tell us where this season is going. It is a lot like when the Bills played the Pats last year and we were excited about having the new front four go against Tom Brady. Of course, the Bills got smoked and expectations pretty much were deflated at that moment.
Let's hope tonight's game isn't a repeat occurrence.
Sure, it is only two points and a just one of 48 games, but this is about morale for the team and their fans. It is a game that will truly tell if the Sabres are still the same pussies and that the press clippings from the offseason were nothing more than a fallacy or that things have changed for the better.