It's finally here!! We've been waiting for this day since the boys skated off the ice in Nashville (too soon?).
Let's talk about who we're facing first. This is not your mama's Buffalo Sabres. The team's new owner (and die-hard fan) is one, Terry Pegula. Like all things in life that give you grief, the first instinct to fix the problem is to throw money at it! That's exactly what Pegula did. According to CapGeek, the Sabres now have the third highest payroll in the league with approximately $55K in cap wiggle room. Over the summer the team signed Ville Leino, Christian Erhoff, and Tyler Myers to HUUUUGE contracts that will end around the time I'm scooting around Leisure World in my Jazzy. Will the NHL's version of (my beloved, sniff) Yankees come through? Everyone in Pegulaville is praying they will.
We can all agree that the preseason was very lackluster, as are most Ducks preseasons. Yet, the best thing to come out of camp was a healthy Jonas Hiller. Considering Hiller will be across the ice from Ryan Miller, he'd better be back to 100%. His defense struggled to find chemistry during the preseason and the Ducks have the tendency to let their goalies face one too many shots on goal. I think a month into last season, Hiller lead the league in shots faced by some obscene number. They'll have no one to blame but themselves should they tire out their goalie AGAIN.
Finally it's time for Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to give a crap during games. The preseason to them is like a pickup game. They want to show-off this fancy trick they've been working on and don't really care if it causes the other team to score. The OC Register ran some interesting comments from GM Bob Murray and Coach Randy Carlyle on Perry and Getzlaf. (I really suggest you read the article.) Murray acknowledges that the team lives and dies by the actions of The Twins. He was more sharp in his comments by saying flat out, "...If they come to work and they’re going to do it a different way, the team will follow that, too. And that’s a problem." To counter Murray in a way, Carlyle acknowledges that most guys on the team are given "a pass" when things go wrong, but not Getzlaf and Perry. Interesting, no? To be 26 years old and have the team on your shoulders. Let's hope they've grown up a little more over the off-season, and they realize how incredible this team can be - as long as they give 110% every game.