January to dictate season direction

It’s a new year and although it’s only January 2nd, the Sabres season is on the line. As many have become accustomed to, Buffalo will have to start their playoff push months before others due to their placement in the Eastern Conference.

The Sabres are fresh off a pair of losses to the Boston Bruins, which were two glorious opportunities to make up some ground.

We’re nearing the halfway point of the season and the Sabres have a 13-15-8 record, which looks better than it actually is. They’ve won 13 of 36 games, a winning percentage of just .361. They have five more games before they officially reach the halfway mark of the season.

To this point, the team deserves to be last in the East. They’ve struggled in nearly every aspect of the game and having their superstar back hasn’t made much of a difference.

Fans are getting impatient and tempers are running high in the locker room. Jack Eichel was visibly and vocally upset after the last couple of losses.

“I think I speak for the team in saying that we’re all frustrated with where we’re at, and I don’t think I’m the only person in the locker room that’s not satisfied,” Eichel said. “I think everybody here is pretty pissed with themselves and the way things have went.”

The Sabres have 13 games in January, and by the end, we could see the direction of the entire season. As it stands now, the Sabres only have around a two percent chance of making the postseason. They’ll need to post a record of 27-13-6 (or something similar) for a legitimate playoff opportunity.

If the Sabres do go on a run, something they really haven’t done at all this year, they could get themselves back in the mix of things. If it’s another month where they hover around the .500 point percentage mark, the draft will quickly become the main focus.

There are still 46 regular season games remaining and even though the numbers aren’t on their side, the Sabres aren’t waving any white flags.

“I’m sure not giving up on this, and I don’t think anyone else is. Have we pissed away some good opportunities to put ourselves in a good position? Yes, but there’s still a lot of hockey to be played.” – Jack Eichel

It feels like we’ve been saying it all season, but this is a critical month for the Sabres. We’ll see if Eichel’s outburst helps spark some life.

The Sabres’ next game is against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. That game will be aired on NBCSN, along with Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks at 8:30 p.m.


Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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