Ebs Talks Buffalo: The First-Place Sabres

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FROM THE PRESS BOX – It’s a great time to be a Buffalo sports fan.

The Buffalo Sabres sit atop the NHL standings and go into Thursday’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning on a 10-game winning streak.

Even in the midst of a disappointing season for the Buffalo Bills, things are somewhat positive. The Bills have won two straight and Josh Allen just had one of his best games of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I’ve addressed the Bills a lot here, so I want to focus on the Sabres. But before that, I want to note that despite a 4-7 record, the Bills look to be on the right path.

Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Maybe this Allen guy is pretty good, huh?

Wide receivers Robert Foster and Isaiah McKenzie look like diamonds in the rough. And LeSean McCoy is still LeSean McCoy.

Oh, and how about the defense? Tre’Davious White is the most-underrated cornerback in the league, the safety tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are among the league’s best while the front seven is more than capable of holding its own.

The Bills will be back in the playoffs next season. Book it.

But on to the first-place Sabres. Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?

Did you know that the Sabres are the first team in NHL history to outright lead the league in points after 25 games after finishing last the season prior.

The turnaround is incredible.

Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Jeff Skinner is on fire. Jack Eichel is ninth in points and hasn’t even hit his scoring stride yet. Then there’s Carter Hutton.

This team is using it with an incredible mix of youth and experience, which is playing a major factor in their success.

Veterans Kyle Okposo and Jason Pominville are anchoring the second and third lines, respectively, while being swarmed with young guns Casey Middlestadt and Tage Thompson (Okposo) and Evan Rodrigues (Pominville).

The theme is similar defensively.

Top pick Rasmus Dahlin is currently paired with vet Zach Bogosian.

The difference with this team and Sabres teams of the past? (Which haven’t finished above seventh in their division since I was in college, by the way). Depth.

Middlestadt is coming into his own, offensively, and being posted on the second line, he isn’t asked to do much.

Not to mention, players of Okposo and Pominville’s stature on the second and third lines isn’t something the Sabres have had in quite some time.

It helps that the defense is contributing on the offensive end, as well.

Oh and did I mention that when the Sabres first took over first place back on Saturday that it was the first time since I was in high school (2006-07)?

Yup.

Going into the season, a wild card would have been nice.

Now I’m starting to think that the Cup isn’t out of reach.

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About the Author ()

DJ Eberle: The youngest of our team, DJ is also the largest. Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native used OT for Western New England University - until he graduated in May of 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he's a regular on Rugby Wrap Up - his dad played rugby with The Matts. His cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. As for baseball and basketball, it's the Yanks and Atlanta Hawks. Follow him on Twitter: @ByDJEberle.

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