No, that’s not a typo in the title.
Hit play on the video below, and enjoy some theme music while you read through this post:
“Are you ready for some hockey?”
Autumn is in the air, as the Sabres’ loss to the Maple Leafs, combined with Montreal and Carolina’s victories over their respective opponents last night, changed the entire feeling of the playoff race for fans of the Blue and Gold.
So, what the heck happened? Well, in honor of Chris Berman, here is your “fastest three minutes” rundown:
Overnight, the Sabres went from being one game away from tying the Habs for 6th place, to reeling back into a position where 8th place is no longer assured, with only 6 games left on the schedule. The Hurricanes, now 3 points back and 6 games left, are very much alive. The Leafs continue to refuse to die, 5 points back of the Sabres with 5 games left.
What a night!
It all gave me an uncanny feeling – a sort of Sunday kind of feeling, you know, that people get late in the NFL season when their team is chasing a wild card berth. For Buffalo, this is no longer about an 82 game schedule – it is more like the latter half of a 16 game schedule.
It’s comes down to 6 games, and how the playoff picture can be completely reshuffled at the end of the “any given Sunday.”
Oh, and speaking of Sundays – that April 3rd game featuring the Sabres in Carolina suddenly looks very, very important.
The problem, for fans, is the time in between these frantic games. In the NFL, fans get an entire week to cope with a loss or celebrate a win, sober up, to not wash their lucky Zubaz, and to then go over the standings for a few days while analyzing the upcoming game and all the potential “playoff pictures” that might emerge come win or lose next game.
In the NHL, fans get one day.
That gives Buffalo fans pretty much just enough time to sober up and put their wing-stained jerseys back on. It’s no wonder the phone lines on the radio call-in shows after a loss like last night are so full of vehement doom-sayers, gloom-bringers, and irate headcoach-impalers. It’s just too much for some fans.
Stay focused, sports fans! Tonight is another “Sunday,” with both Carolina and Buffalo looking to entirely change the playoff landscape again. As a fan, I have no idea what is going to happen, so I will just hope for the best, eliminate cognitive dissonance, and maybe get my gall-bladder removed so that I can squeeze tonight’s tailgate in.
Anything can happen, on any given Wednesday.