The Buffalo Sabres open the 2014-15 season tonight at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
I imagine it should be a pretty fun atmosphere tonight, not only because it's the start of a new season but I have to guess that fans will be naturally excited to celebrate the fact that Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula were just officially named as owners of the Bills.
The Sabres finished dead last in the league last year by a pretty substantial margin and while pundits expect the team to finish at the bottom once again, I think that the team, at the very least, will be much more interesting and entertaining to watch this year.
The game will see new captain Brian Gionta make his first official appearance in a Sabres uniform, along with fellow Habs castoff Josh Gorges. The other big debut will see Sam Reinhart, the second overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, take the ice for the first time as a professional in a game that counts.
Here are the expected lines for tonight's season opener:
Matt MOULSON - Tyler ENNIS - Drew STAFFORD
Cody HODGSON - Sam REINHART - Brian GIONTA
Marcus FOLIGNO - Zemgus GIRGENSONS - Chris STEWART
Nicolas DESLAURIERS - Cody McCORMICK - Torrey MITCHELL/Brian FLYNN
Josh GORGES - Tyler MYERS
Andre BENOIT - Andrej MESZAROS
Mike WEBER - Rasmus RISTOLAINEN
The only question mark it seems is who will man the right side on the fourth line. Observers at practice this morning noted that Flynn took the line rushes, usually a tell-tale indicator of who will play but then Flynn took part in the extra skating session with Nikita Zadorov, Johan Larsson and Tyson Strachan. So maybe it will be Mitchell playing.
Jhonas Enroth will get the start in goal and Michal Neuvirth will back him up.
I will be heading to the game tonight and will be watching from the Bleeding Blue and Gold season ticket seats.
My plan is to put together a comprehensive recap after every Sabres game, hopefully unlike any that you see out there right now, with a heavy slant towards discussion on analytics and advanced statistics.
I will give a review of every player who suits up for the Sabres that night, very similar to the "Upon Further Review" column done by WGR550 Bills beat reporter Joe Buscaglia.
Hopefully I can add something new and interesting to Sabres fans this year and I hope you'll make this site one of your daily visits.