It's Go Time!

Don't worry kid, the pressure's on Phil Housley

Jeremy White
October 03, 2018 - 2:25 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

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I got an email from the Buffalo Sabres yesterday promoting tickets to the opener. I quickly deleted it because I’m still a season ticket holder at this point. Splitting my tickets with the usual group was a challenge, and I had to do some recruiting to keep things rolling along. I suspect many of you that are STHs found it harder to get people to bite this time around. Maybe you bailed, or dropped your alotment.  

The Sabres need to light the fan fire again. They need desperately to have a mildly OK start to the season. They have to score goals. They have to be exciting. They have to be fun.  

The fan base was engaged during the tank years. There was a clear path forward, which of course they lost along the way. Last year on opening night the team had 10 new skaters. They looked fast and peppered Carey Price with 43 shots. I was convinced, on opening night, that this team was about to play fast. Oops.

This year, there are nine new additions. Dahlin is Dahlin. Jeff Skinner and Connor Sheary give the Sabres speed on the wings. The bottom six looks, respectable. The goaltender, Carter Hutton, is coming off a great year, and part of his job is to help bring along the Sabres' potential goalie of the future in Linus Ullmark. Better up front. Better on the blue line. Better in net.

Returning, is Phil Housley. Housley enters his second season behind the bench for the Sabs (Yes, we’re saying Sabs, pronounced SABES). He came over from Nashville, a team that plays a style any NHL fan would want to watch.

He was touted as a coach that would activate the defense, but it didn’t happen. Most would say the blue line didn’t have the horses to run what he wanted, and that’s probably correct.

We were told Housley could be the perfect mentor for Jack Eichel. Housley could help Jack because he understands what it’s like to be a young player with pressure. Now we might suspect that Housley is the perfect coach to bring along future star Rasmus Dahlin… I sure hope he is. I'm not sure about whether or not Phil Housley is a good coach, but we're about to find out.

This team has to get a good share of shots at 5-on-5. This hasn't really ever happened since we started caring about it. The room has been altered. The speed upgrade is clear.

It’s all there for Housley. He obviously doesn’t have to win the Stanley Cup this year, and probably doesn’t even have to make the playoffs. However, they’ve gotta be better, it’s got to be obvious, and it has to happen quickly. Too many Octobers and Novembers have destroyed this team. Think back to the last year they made the playoffs... they rallied from last place. 

The seat's not hot... yet.  

They have to be better, faster, and God-willing... FUN.

We've waited long enough.

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