The NHL Playoffs are wearing me out this year. I've been thinking about the reasons for this. Some of them have come up on the show. Most notably, the overall quality of the games. A game that was less bogged down by defensive play and blocked shots would have a better chance at holding my attention. At this point I am ready to concede that while that plays in part in my struggle to stay with it, there is more at work.
Here are a couple of possibilities. For starters, it just feels like summer. Maybe this is being exaggerated because it was already 80 degrees for a week back in March. Little league baseball is in full swing and I find myself thinking more about baseball when I sit down to watch TV at night than I do about hockey. This is of course no different than any other year as the playoffs have extended well into June for years. Still, as I get older, I find myself feeling more and more like the NHL should find a way to wrap up their post season by Memorial Day. Weekend afternoon games when it's 75 and sunny in Buffalo just couldn't seem more ridiculous to me. Surely the people making these decisions within the league and networks know more about when people will watch hockey games on TV than I do, so I doubt these matinees are going away any time soon. Too bad, I say.
So the calendar is a part of it too. There's still something else, but I find it difficult to explain. I have a general feeling of restlessness regarding our team. There has not been an extended appearance in the playoffs since 2007, just about 5 years to the day since the Sabres lost to Ottawa in the Eastern Conference Finals. A pair of first round losses and three finishes out of the top eight have me missing the party and I may be taking that out on these playoffs. The sooner they wrap up the playoffs the sooner the league wide off season can begin and the Sabres can do whatever it is they intend to do with their team. I am curious to see if they will be in the running for Zach Parise should he hit the market. What sorts of trade options will there be? Darcy Regier told us after the season that his team needs a higher level of compete. I am hopeful that means something more than just a full season of Marcus Foligno and Corey Tropp. They have somewhere around 4 million dollars in cap space going into the summer and the flexibility to create even more if they feel as though parting with a pricey defenseman makes sense. Jordan Leopold might be right for this and would get the Sabres another 3 million to fiddle with.
The bottom line is simply that I am ready to see the Sabres get busy fixing up their team and make the disappointment of this past season a distant memory. Forgive me for wanting to skip ahead a couple of places on the board, but please get me to the NHL draft and free agency. It's getting a little bit too familiar sitting out the post season party.