It’s Over. It’s Finally Over…… It’s Time To Heal Buffalo!

Eichel won the Hobey Baker.  McDavid Scored 5 goals tonight.  Everything is right in Buffalo tonight.  Photo from cbssports.com

Eichel won the Hobey Baker. McDavid Scored 5 goals tonight. Everything is right in Buffalo tonight. Photo from cbssports.com

It’s done. It’s over. Having never had the pleasure of smoking a cigarette, I feel as though I should have one right now. I feel dirty. I feel ashamed. What we’ve just done is both filthy and awesome, and I cannot wait to tell the world about it. I posted on facebook. I tweeted the hell out of it. It’s been one wretch of a season – now that we’re here at the end, I can barely believe we’ve made it through.

But we have made it through. We’re beyond the rainbow. We’re swimming in the gold like Scrooge McDuck, gleefully doing the backstroke and everything. Happy days are indeed here again. The tank is over, and with one game to spare. One final, sweet game, in which we, as a city, can finally root for our team. We can look to our left and look to our right, and know that we are all of like mind. We are united, once again in our Buffalove. We will cheer every goal. We will jeer every time Crosby touches the puck. We will sincerely celebrate when the Sabres eliminate the Pens from playoff contention.

HA!  You should've know you couldn't outtank me.  Photo from buffalo hockeybeat.com

HA! You should’ve know you couldn’t outtank me. Photo from buffalo hockeybeat.com

How far we’ve come from the preseason! I was certain we would be better than last year – maybe even contend for a playoff spot. The moves we’d made in the offseason added leadership and shored up our weaknesses. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Somehow, even with all of our acquisitions, we managed to get worse. Each time the team seemed to be making some headway, a key player would suffer an injury. Each time we thought our suffering might be slightly alleviated, it escalated. How lucky are we that it did – it seems that in our focus on last place, we didn’t see the teams approaching us until it was almost too late. Thankfully, GMTM has ice in his veins. Edmonton showed their hand when they put Taylor Hall on IR. Arizona’s management *cough*Darcy*clear throat* gave us quite a run for our money at the deadline, dumping everything worth anything. Tim Murray gazed upon his adversaries with his cold, steely grin. He slowly raised one middle finger, then just as slowly raised the other. He pulled out all of the stops. Our goalies were too good, even for the worst team in the league, so he got rid of them. A player with a wealth of toughness and a knack for scoring at the right time? Gone. Like Mr. Blonde in a Diamond store, Murray pointed his pistol and pulled the trigger. “If they hadn’t done what I told ‘em not to do…”

Bam.  Bam.  Bam.  Photo from tumblr.com

Bam. Bam. Bam. Photo from tumblr.com

Murray did what he needed to do. The team, despite their best efforts, has done what they needed to do. With a deep breath and a stiff shot of whiskey, we look toward the future. We look toward McDavid, but more likely Eichel. We look toward Kane. We look toward the development of the kids from Rochester, who have stepped up big in the last couple of months. We see a team that has come together, and in spite of the odds, has developed a chemistry, striated into lines, and has somehow managed to win a few games along the way. There are unanswered questions, for sure; who will play goal for us? Will last year’s pick, Sam Reinhart, be ready for the NHL this season? Will Kane fit in with the team that’s fought this war together?

There is a certain comfort in the uncertainty. No longer are we afraid of a win – we will relish every goal, every game. We’ll enjoy every milestone and small victory along the way. No matter who it is we pick up in the draft, there is no assurance that we’ll be a playoff team next season. There is also no doubt that this team will be a joy to watch next year. The immeasurable difference between hoping for a team to lose and cheering for a team to win is nearly indescribable. Take notice, NHL. Tim Murray has accomplished his first mission. His next: The Cup. This season should serve as ample warning. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants, which means that we will have our Cup. The horns will sound at the gates of Hockey Heaven. The ale will flow and the drums will resound throughout the land. For now, this is our greatest day. Here’s to our next greatest day.

It will be mine.  Oh, yes.

It will be mine. Oh, yes.

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