First things first, this team has disappointed us. Its hard to find anything to be positive about if its not named Jack or Casey. But if you’re like me then you can’t just stop watching your favorite team.
Its been hard to stay interested. But there are still reasons to continue tuning in every night. These aren’t all going to be hockey reasons so please go into this with an open mind.
Reason 1: Growth Of Jack Eichel
Let’s get this out of the way. In his third season Jack Eichel is finally showing us the force he can be in all facets of the game. Though his defense noticeably lacks at times, i.e. Tarasenko’s OT goal and Crosby’s overtime winner earlier this year, the Sabres 21 year old phenom has transformed offensively. During a 7 game stretch this season Jack produced 14 points. At the time of this writing he leads the team in goals, assist and points. Eichel earned his first All-Star game nod of his career.
Eichel is first on this list because he is arguably already a superstar. Sabres fans have waited long enough for a player to come in and truly threat for an award like the Art Ross; though it won’t happen this season it will be fulfilling to say you saw the whole journey if the time does come.
2. Don’t Be “That Fan”
Do not take this the wrong way. If this applies to you then you know who you are, so don’t worry.
We all have lives outside of hockey, and of course priorities change when the local hockey team has only 14 wins at the All-Star break. But if you have free time and aren’t watching “because we suck” then don’t come hopping back on the train when this team is competitive. Be the person who can say they were dedicated enough to still support the team during a dark period.
This doesn’t mean you need to attend 10 games a year or be a season ticket holder. You don’t even need to buy their merchandise. But watching the games and refraining from cynicism goes a long way and will make the feeling all the more sweet when we finally break the top 8 of the Eastern Conference.
3. This Could Be RJ’s Last Hoorah
Almost since the team’s inception we have been blessed by fantastic play-by-play thanks to Hall of Famer Rick Jeanneret. Though RJ’s best days are behind him we must appreciate the limited amount of games we have left with him.
The calls may not be as passionate, his voice may not be as clear as it once was and he may not be as crisp as he was a decade ago, but he is still our RJ. The man has given us so many memorable calls throughout his career that at this point it would be disrespectful to not tune in when he is on the call.
In his old age Jeanneret continues to give us his best. It is important we appreciate him while we can.
4. Appreciate That We Have A Pro Hockey Team
If you’ve made it this far without regurgitating on yourself because of how positive this article is supposed to be then thank you.
Let us think for a moment: would you rather be complaining about how bad your local big-time sports team is or be forced to watch as fans from other cities enjoy the luxury of trashing their team? The team isn’t great, but sometimes you just need to be happy we have one.
Everyone has heard the cliche of Buffalo being small-time, small-market. We miraculously have a team over much more populated and larger cities like Houston and Seattle. Cruising under the radar as a bad hockey team is better than being on the radar to receive a hockey team.
For some these may not be very attractive incentives for watching. Again, bad hockey isn’t for everyone and after what will be 7 years without playoff hockey some people just don’t want to think about any upside this team might have. These are just a few things to keep in mind when debating if you should watch the rest of the season.
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