See what I did there? I tricked you into reading this drivel with a patently asburd premise. I'm so sneaky.
In fact, we're screwed. "Gonna miss the playoffs by a mile" screwed. And think about how ironic that is for a second - a season-ending injury to Derek Roy, the guy so many fans wanted to jettison after a dismal playoff performance last April, is suddenly the final nail in the coffin for a lost season.
But "ironic" is perhaps the best way to describe Roy this year, and I mean that in a good way. Even after his unusual goal-scoring binge to open the season - half of his 10 goals came in the first five games - tailed off, he continued to make plays and pile up assists. He had three more point streaks of three or more games, including a seven-game bender in November. He had the primary assist on all three of Drew Stafford's goals as the mighty Stafford beat the Bruins all by himself (with his hands tied behind his back, I might add) on December 15th. The list goes on.
Moreover - and the reason why losing Roy is a bigger deal than just losing a point-a-game center: many nights he looked like one of the few guys who cared out there. For perhaps the first time in his career, he was giving a consistent effort night in and night out, points or no points. Why, some might even say he was earning the "A" on his chest that few believed he deserved back on October 7th.
So now, just as Derek Roy's awesomeness was being established, we lose him for the season. That's... great. As much as I want to be an optimist, the fact is that a team as offensively challenged as the Sabres (and leadership-challenged, for that matter) simply cannot withstand the loss of a point-per-game player who was growing into the role of a leader. Unless we can win every game 1-0, and seriously, have you seen our defense lately?
Roy's "replacement" will have to come from within, thus the use of quotes around the word "replacement". Darcy Regier has already called up Luke Adam to play on a top-two line and to serve as the impetus for bad Star Wars jokes on Twitter (side note: guilty as charged), and presumably, this callup will last for the duration of the season. But if past history is any indication, that's all we're going to get. Partially because teams don't usually give up point-per-game centers in trade unless they have bad contracts or other major baggage, and partly because this is Darcy Regier, who once re-signed Tim Connolly at the trade deadline and told us it was the same thing as making a deadline deal.
So yes, we're stuck with what we've already got. I'm sure that Paul Gaustad, Jochen Hecht, Rob "I Have Played Well For Exactly One Game This Season" Niedermayer, or Luke Adam can feed pucks to Thomas Vanek just like Roy, right? (And yes, I know Brad Richards is probably available, but does anyone honestly think Darcy pulls the trigger on that trade?)
But wait a minute... I left out a center, didn't I? Ah yes, Tim Connolly. Well, what about him? Sure, he can be a point a game player when healthy. But we all know the story with Timmy - he'll come back from one lengthy injury layoff only to get a papercut and miss ten more games. The famously fragile Rick DiPietro scoffs at Connolly's durability. And even if Tim miraculously stays on the ice, the notion that Connolly can replace Roy's leadership is as ridiculous as the idea of other NHL players inviting Patrick Kaleta over for tea and crumpets. The only thing Connolly is dependable for is frustrating the hell out of us. So I'm not inclined to picture him as a knight in shining armor.
I wonder if the invoice that usually hits my mailbox in mid-February is still coming. If it is, it certainly won't end up being for hockey games in April.
Projecting the 2014 US Olympic hockey roster
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