BUFFALO — Enough already, I give.
I’ve tried, sometimes begrudgingly, to stay focused on the fact that Stanley Cups aren’t won in October, and that these Buffalo Sabres will have to perform miracles when the talk has turned to the new Thursday at the Square lineup.
Tried to remind fans that the Ottawa Senators also seemed invincible through the first few months last season.
Tried to rationalize that a winning streak to start the season isn’t the same since the advent of 4-on-4 overtime and the shootout.
I’m done trying.
During Saturday night’s battle of the league’s best two teams, statistically speaking, the Sabres came out flat. Ales Kotalik looked like he was stuck in a Grand Island marsh. Thomas Vanek, despite a second-period goal, thought this was last year’s postseason — and should have again been in the press box.
But through it all, those crazy kids found another way to leave you sweating, squirming and ultimately smiling.
This is as fun as NHL hockey gets.
Even when Vanek’s shootout attempt rung off the crossbar and over the net, meaning the Sabres’ streak was over, you still got a sense that there’s something special happening in downtown Buffalo. That days like this, where Buffalo ends up on the short end of the stick, will be few and far between.
When Ilya Kovalchuk, man-child that he is, snapped a wrister past Ryan Miller in the third to give Atlanta a 4-3 edge, the Sabres didn’t fret.
Jochen Hecht, who took a puck in the grill two days prior, realized he was falling behind in the Sabres’ scoring race. Hecht’s goal off the rebound of a Jason Pominville shot tied it with just a few minutes remaining, and the tentative HSBC crowd, waiting for something to cheer about, sprung to life.
BUFFALO — Enough already, I give.
- Tim's Take
TIM'S TAKE: ‘Stevie’ gives Bills piece to grow on
Sorry to sound skeptical, but as I slink down into the mancave’s easy chair to take in the masochistic experience we call a Sunday Bills game, I’m looking for three things, some of which you’d rarely expect while rooting for the home team.
TIM'S TAKE: Late round Bills picks making their mark
As easy as it is to get caught up in an electrifying offensive performance against a Baltimore defense which long held the title of most feared, something kept rubbing me the wrong way during Sunday’s 37-34 overtime thriller.
TIM'S TAKE: Women’s soccer timing might be right
It got us talking. Sure, the news that a Women’s Professional Soccer franchise is reportedly playing half its home games at Niagara University is hardly a national headline, but having Niagara County’s first-ever, top-level pro sports team makes the tidbit an interesting one.
TIM'S TAKES: Lew-Port scandal sheds light on union work
This is a sad place we’ve reached, where we continue to protect teachers rather than informing parents about the actions of those who deal with our children.
TIM'S TAKE: Lee Wallace leaves behind legacy
The telephone. That’s what Lee Wallace was trying to escape when the longtime Niagara County Community College athletics director finally hung it up at the end of last month after more than a decade on the job.
TIM'S TAKE: Can Hamilton learn from our mistakes?
The Canadian city is attempting to use the blunders from previous Western New York projects as a harbinger of potential pitfalls that come from failed urban planning
TIM'S TAKE: Cooley case
Let’s just say we’re saddened, but not entirely surprised, by the news that Austin Cooley has been told he can’t return to Niagara University.Cooley has, by all accounts, physical attributes to his game that should have made him an All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player. Instead, he struggled to get playing time with Alpha dogs like Bilal Benn and Tyrone Lewis in the lineup.
TIM'S TAKES: Late notes from Porter Cup
So we’re a week late, but with some Porter Cup thoughts still lingering, why not get them out, right?
TIM'S TAKE: Finally, Sabres keep foot on gas
The Sabres have had a knack for taking it easy once they get in front this series. Coasting for a shift or two. Allowing the plodding Bruins a chance to get back in the race. But on Friday, with locker cleanout penciled in to the weekend’s to-do list, Buffalo kept the accelerator fully engaged after scoring twice in the first period.
TIM'S TAKE: Playoffs can turn just that quickly
Wanna know just how small the margin of error is come playoff time in the National Hockey League?
About six inches, according to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.
- More Tim's Take Headlines
- TIM'S TAKE: ‘Stevie’ gives Bills piece to grow on