Is this the year for Buffalo sports fans?
If you are a sports fan in Buffalo, you know the words let-down, heart break and emptiness. These words seem to echo in the past of both the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills organizations. Neither has ever been successful in delivering a championship to this city.
The Bills had their four straight Super Bowl appearances, coming up empty each and every time. The Sabres have only made it to the Stanley Cup finals twice since the organization was started in 1970.
Why does this city always seem to go through heart breaks and let-downs year after year?
The Bills recently finished a dismal season that led to an overhaul of the entire organization. The Sabres, on the other hand, are having a great season despite missing the playoffs for two consecutive years.
So the question that Buffalo fans ask every year is back in the air: Is this the year?
The Buffalo Sabres organization currently has the longest tenured general manager and coach. Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff have been working together for over 10 years. Ruff won coach of the year in 2006, and Regier is known to have some of the best draft classes throughout the entire NHL.
So, why have the Sabres been unable to win a championship with one of the best coaches and GMs in the league? The answer is simple: The Sabres refuse to buy any expensive players.
The Sabres organization is widely known for its ability to produce players within its own system. On this year's roster, they have 16 players that they drafted. That is the most out of any team in the NHL.
Don't get me wrong, the Sabres are considered one of the best organizations in the league for being able to do this, but unfortunately they have been lacking a piece to the puzzle.
Because Regier refuses to make any big moves, the Sabres always seem to be one step behind the elite teams in the league.
Every team that believes it can win the cup this year bulked up over the summer and throughout the season. The trade deadline has just passed, and this is when you can tell which teams are contenders, and which are not. The Sabres (yet again) did not go after any big names, and instead opted to trade for a power forward, Raffie Torres. This shows (yet again) that the Sabres most likely will not be able to bring a championship to Buffalo for another year.
Unless their offense finds some chemistry, the weight of the organization rests solely on Olympic MVP goaltender Ryan Miller. He carried Team USA to the gold medal game, and unfortunately lost to Canada in overtime. As the season starts back up after the Olympic break, Miller is back in the blue and gold, and has brought a vengeance with him.
This team eerily resembles the 1998-99 team that went to the Stanley Cup. Led mainly by their star goalie
Dominik Hasek, the Sabres fell in game six of the finals on one of the most controversial goals in hockey history. Could Miller do the same this year? He has never looked better, and he has established himself as a leader of this team. Maybe this is the year that miracles happen in Buffalo, and the city is finally rewarded for the strong loyalty it has shown during all these years?