Relentless. That is precisely what the Buffalo Sabres have to be. Herb Brooks put it best when he quipped, “legs feed the wolf.” Well, Buffalo need their legs, too.
The Turning Point
The Sabres got their legs under them during the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The promise of Dan Bylsma’s free-wheeling system finally shone through. The formula is discovered: speed, aggressive forechecking, tenacity. In all three zones.
Jack Eichel’s third period goal is a case study.
Don’t be surprised to see Don Cherry use that one during Coach’s Corner as he shouts something along the lines of “kids, this is how you play the game of hockey!” The pursuit, the speed and the finish are all present. The funny thing is, Jack is just a kid himself.
Byslma agrees, stating, “that is exactly how you play without the puck… it’s a pretty memorable goal.”
To borrow another Herbism, the Sabres cannot win on talent alone.
This is a young team. Mistakes are okay. A lack of effort is not. The team went in the only direction it could from rock bottom. It’s still a long way to climb out of two years of basement dwelling, but at least this game provides the ladder.
Basic psychology tells us rewards are better than punishment, especially among juveniles. The Buffalo calves were given an embarrassment of riches for their effort.
Throughout the game, the Sabres won battles and remained a step ahead of the Jackets, causing seven penalties, resulting in three power-play goals.
The Sabres will be well conditioned to continue this formula.
Work, work and work some more.
Stay hungry, Buffalo.
As an American based in Amsterdam, Joe provides a unique hockey insight, bringing a global perspective to the game. Joe has several years of experience covering the game on both a domestic and international level, including being credentialed for multiple World and World Junior Championships.