Optimism carefully rising

A 5-0-1 start to the season is a great reason for Sabres fans to be optimistic. Any team’s fanbase would be thrilled with a start like this, but there’s one thing that Sabres fans learned in 2018 that sticks in their minds.

The flukiest 10-game win streak of all-time raised expectations of ending the team’s playoff drought. Even if they were a mediocre team the rest of the way, they could have snuck into one of the final spots, but they were completely awful.

Now, another great start, but when is it okay to get excited about this team?

The hockey has been fun to watch. There have been a couple of periods that seemed dull or boring, but the Sabres have been finding ways to generate high-quality chances and they’re dictating the play for the most part. They’re playing for a full 60 minutes and they play the same way with the lead or coming from behind.


Changes were made over the offseason to bring in players like Marcus Johansson and Colin Miller, along with Victor Olofsson making the team. The bigger difference may be behind the bench as Ralph Krueger seems to have the team believing in his system, and the results are there.

Phil Housley’s wife took to Twitter indicating that she believed her husband only needed more time behind the bench.

When you look at those numbers, how difficult is it really to improve on those awful stats from that first year?

I don’t really view going from 31st to 27th in points a success. It’s barely a step in the right direction and that’s probably only because Jeff Skinner had a 40-goal season. Oh, and that 10-game win streak I mentioned earlier, where the team won seven games via overtime or shootout.

Phil Housley was one of Buffalo’s greatest players ever, but his time behind the bench was rightfully ended.

Sorry, Karin.

It’s hard to imagine this team would be 5-0-1 with Housley still here as the coach.


Any coach or player will tell you the cliche that they need to play well consistently and take it one game at a time. The Sabres have a three-game road trip beginning tonight and will try to keep it going. 

It’s okay to be excited about this team that we’re watching. Just temper expectations because it’s still October. They’re going to have losing streaks, periods where they struggle to score, and times where defensive lapses cost games. 

But what we’ve seen has been a completely different hockey team than we’re used to. If they play like this for a majority of the season, fans will finally see the playoffs return to Buffalo, and it’d be a very welcomed sign. 

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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