It’s been a rough year.
If you’re a Sabres fan, it’s been rough. If you’re a Buffalo Sabres season ticket holder, it’s been even rougher. Every game is draining, both emotionally and financially. It’s long been discussed (here on this blog and increasingly elsewhere) that the organization tends to be sloppy with things like marketing and game presentation, but this was going to be a special night.
It was underwhelming.
After a short, subdued ceremony to honor the greatest goaltender in franchise history and possibly the greatest player to ever wear the uniform, the Sabres dropped their eighth in a row, falling by a 3-1 score to the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
Mike Weber’s second period goal, his first of the season, would be the only offense the Sabres could muster.
Buffalo fell behind midway through the opening period, as Darren Helm scored shorthanded to give the Wings a 1-0 lead. Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar would add second period goals and the result was never in doubt.
Czech native Michal Neuvirth made 27 saves for the Sabres, while fellow Czech Petr Mrazek got the win for Detroit, stopping 25 shots.
One game on the schedule stood out as important for the fans. Tonight was that one game.
The game wasn’t thrilling. Little about the night was.
- Seriously, the organization should be embarrassed about that. You don’t retire numbers often. This organization has arguably retired some numbers undeservedly. There isn’t a chance to do this better next year. There isn’t anyone close to being a candidate right now. It could be decades before we do this again. This should’ve been a seminal moment in team history, and it was completely underwhelming.
- Little fanfare for Zac Dalpe’s Sabres debut. Honestly didn’t even notice him on the ice until near the end of the first period.
- Whoever designed the patches the players wore tonight needs to take a lap. Uninspired and weak design. You’re retiring a number, why is the logo the primary focus of the patch?
- Twenty years from now, the Sabres will be hit with a rash of injuries and will recall Matt Ellis from the Rochester Americans. The guy will never go away. That’s not an insult or anything. Ellis just seems like he’s always around and he never really hurts you. Read the rest of this entry
As you go through life, there’s always moments where you take a figurative step backwards and say to yourself, “Man, I got old quick.”
Tonight will feature one of them.
Sabres legend Dominik Hasek, along with Peter Forsberg, Mike Modano and other hockey legends will be officially enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight. The ceremony will be broadcast on NHL Network, and I’m really excited to watch.
These guys, these names, were names that were the stars of the game when I really got into hockey as a kid. They were the faces on the hockey cards I collected. They were the guys I traded for on NHL ’96 when I was trying to load up my team. They were guys I mailed letters to hoping to get an autograph in return. They were idols.
And now I’m old and they’re going into the Hockey Hall of Fame, an honor one only receives after time has passed since they’ve left the game.
Lots of time has passed since Dominik Hasek was here. It’s been just over 13 years since he quickly skated to the bench after allowing Darius Kasparaitis’ game winner in Game 7 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinal against Pittsburgh, the last time he touched the ice as a Sabre.
We believed him the first time, when he said his children needed to grow up in the Czech Republic. He kinda bailed on that one.
We figured he was done when he finally won his Stanley Cup in 2002. We assumed he wouldn’t return following the lockout in 2005. It was widely expected he’d hang them up when his Ottawa Senators fell apart in the 2006 playoffs. But each time, he defied the odds and returned.
Now, he retires with his second Stanley Cup, as he watched from the bench as his replacement Chris Osgood backstopped the Red Wings to a title. Read the rest of this entry