Crushing Your Dreams: Sabres’ Playoff Hopes
To quote Bloodhound Gang ” We don’t need no water let the motherfraker burn, burn motherfraker burn.” In other words, it is about time that we as Sabres fans come to the depressing realization that this team is the opposite of what we all thought they would be. The playoffs are little more than a pipe dream at this point in the season, and the trade deadline lurks just around the corner. So what will Darcy Regier do? That I can not speculate on. Instead, I intend to give you a dose of reality about what might happen if they did miraculously make the playoffs. You could call me a pessimist or a disillusioned Sabres fan and be correct on both accounts. But there is a point when we should realize that it just is not going to happen this year, and that adjustments are necessary. With that said, allow me to speculate about what the Sabres would face if they went on a heroic run to a low playoff position. I will give you a hint, it is not very pretty. Allow me to start by looking at the Sabres’ record against Eastern Conference opponents.
I know that is a funny way to look at their record, but I wanted to decompose their record to show exactly how they have done against in conference opponents. The key, in my opinion, is the 4 SOW (Shootout Wins), as those wins ultimately can work against a team if they are tied with another team for playoff position. Also, there are no shootouts in the playoffs, so those wins (and losses) turn out to be meaningless indicators of a team’s performance. For the record, Pot. Pts. stands for Potential Points. And as you can see they have earned less than 50% of the potential points against in conference opponents.
Of course, those statistics are all well and good, but what about their record against the teams that currently stand in a playoff position?
As you can see, their record against these teams is worse than against the entire Eastern Conference, albeit not by much (1.67% as far as earned points are concerned. I am still not sold on the Senators and Leafs as playoff contenders, as the Capitals currently sit 1 point behind the Leafs in 9th place. As much as I dislike them, I still do not see the Capitals missing the playoffs.
I should note that there is one flaw in my logic as far as the above statistics are concerned. I did not account for games that ended up being 3 point games. While this would not have any effect on their record, it would affect their point percentage.
So where exactly do they go from last night’s 4-1 loss to the Devils? Only time will tell, but the next few games are absolutely critical in determining what Regier should do. One thing is clear to me, their record against the top teams in the conference is not likely to be of benefit to them. Yes, right now there is only a 8 point difference between 14th and 8th place in the conference, but it will take a monster run to make it there. I honestly do not see any such run occurring. I say it is time to let this motherfraker burn and host a fire sale.
Comment: Although it has no bearing on this post, I find it interesting that the only Eastern Conference team the Sabres have not earned points against is Tampa Bay. They continue to make Mathieu Garon look like an elite goalie for some strange reason.