The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 09/26/14 at 09:22 AM ET
If that small, morally superior legion of Sabres fans and media thumbing their noses at the "Dishonor For Connor" and "Win Jack for Jack" movements is still out there this morning, my advice is to lay low and keep quiet for a few days.
Jack Eichel was a cut above every other player on the ice in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game last night in Buffalo, notching a goal and an assist and taking home game MVP honors.
Meanwhile, the Big Day featuring he and fellow wunderkind Connor McDavid is nine months from today in Florida.
The vision of Tim Murray walking to the stage on that day to hand a Sabres jersey to either of those two kids is exciting enough that most fans in Buffalo are willing to endure another season of agony to see it come true.
Look, Ted Nolan and Murray can scream "compete", "effort" and "culture change" at the top of their lungs from the rooftop of HarborCenter every day of the week, for all we Sabres fans care. For taking the long view, those words ring hollow.
I don't believe for a second that Murray would rather see his team finish 10th than 16th in the East. And he's too smart of a hockey man to think that this group, whether Nolan coaches them up to compete levels beyond the wildest imagination or not, has any chance of making the playoffs.
That's not to say he or anyone in the Sabres organization will do anything blatant to lose games. The players, 11 of them in contract years, certainly won't.
But this season is about developing the youngsters. To help guide them, some respected veterans like Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges were brought here. Those moves aren't to be mistaken for an attempt at making a heroic run.
You've seen most of the rave reviews already, but a piece from Kevin Allen of USA Today this week on the upside of McDavid and Eichel on its own makes you feel pretty sorry for those middle of the pack teams that really have nothing to look forward to this season.
Any fan or media person preaching the moral high ground on not having it in them to root for their team to lose isn't seeing the big picture. They're ignoring the vision of how different things would've been had the Sabres won the Sidney Crosby lottery, or had Darcy Regier been successful in his attempt to trade up in the 2007 draft to select Patrick Kane.
The rest of us in the real world don't have any desire for the lecturing. The system is what it is, Sabres fans didn't create it, and McDavid and Eichel are just too freaking good. There's too much at stake for the future of this franchise to be feeling dirty and ashamed.
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]