A Cure For Your Sabres Woes
We can all admit that right now the Sabres are making it really difficult to watch them play. They have not had a winning streak since they won four straight games from November 4-11 and are currently 3-5-2 over their last ten games. The latter statistic is good enough for 24th in the league over that stretch. I think it is safe to say at this point that the embarrassing performance (complete with lack of retribution for running Ryan Miller) in a 6-2 loss to the Bruins on November 12 was the turning point of the season. The team simply has not been the same since that moment, although injuries have been a contributing factor as well. I will not elaborate more on this topic as it has already been beat to death enough as it is. Instead, I intend to offer a cure for your Sabres woes that involves watchable hockey.To find the cure for your Sabres woes, you need not look any further than 76 miles to the East in Rochester. That is right Sabres fans, the Rochester Americans. All too often we complain about the lack of effort from team in Buffalo, but that is not something that you can expect to see from the team in Rochester. The Amerks give it their all in most every game. You will certainly not go home disappointed even in a loss from one of their games. I have been witness to two losses at home this year and I have not gone been disappointed from either of them. Certainly I was less than enthusiastic about a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies where the GWG was scored shorthanded, but I was not entirely disappointed.
Let us look at a few statistics from the the Sabres’ and Amerks’ seasons as of today (1/15/2012). The Amerks are currently 6-1-1-2 (W-L-OTL-SOL) over their past ten games, whereas the Sabres are the aforementioned 3-5-2. What about their overall records at the midpoint* of their respective seasons?
I have, of course, lumped the Amerks’ SOLs (Shootout Loss) together for better comparison. If you take out the Sabres’ last three games, you will see that the Sabres are worse off at the midpoint of the season than the Amerks are. Having collected 41 of a possible 82 points (50%), whereas the Amerks have collected 42 of a possible 76 points (55%). Certainly the additional shootout/overtime losses have worked to the Amerks’ advantage [loser point FTW!], but that only reinforces their work ethic. I am not sure of the statistics, but the Amerks have come from behind in the 3rd period numerous times to force OT or win the game. Most recently two back-to-back road wins against the then AHL leading Oklahoma City Barons. How many times have the Sabres done that this season? Not many.
I am by no means saying that the Amerks are a perfect team. They are, in fact, far from it. But one thing that you can be assured of when you attend an Amerks’ game is that you will not be disappointed regardless of the outcome. Is that not something you would love to feel when you return home from a Sabres loss?
The home opener against the Hurricanes and the loss to the Panthers on October 29 were enough for me to swear off Sabre’s games for the remainder of the season. I grew tired of spending copious amounts of money to see the Sabres lose in person. An Amerks loss is far less damaging on your wallet. Tickets can be as low as $10-12 depending on the promotion, and no more than $18. Assuming, of course, that you choose not to pay the fees for purchasing them online. If you want season tickets for the Amerks there is no waiting list. In fact, I will be calling the Amerks tomorrow to purchase season tickets for the remainder of this season.
The company line that Terry Pegula, Ted Black, and Darcy Regier are trying to sell is growing old. While Regier has certainly not done everything in his power to ensure that the Amerks will deliver a championship team this year (that is not to say that it will not happen), the Amerks are still a fun team to watch. Think of them as a team of Matt Ellises with more skill. Imagine if the Sabres could replicate that performance on a consistent basis. The Sabres lack an identity, but the Amerks most certainly do not. Rush’s song “Working Man” is a fantastic way to describe this Amerks team. I hope that my fellow Sabres fans will make the most of the reunification with the Amerks. I know I certainly have. For me June 24 will forever be the second most important Unification Day.
In Tylers and Professor Rolston we trust.
*The AHL schedule is 76 games as opposed to 82.