April 28, 2010
(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here is Boston Bruins blogger Cameron Frye fondly recalling the Buffalo Sabres.)
By Cameron Frye
We are gathered here today to remember yet another tragic failure to come out of the state of New York: The 2009-10 Buffalo Sabres.
The people of Buffalo would have really enjoyed an epic run by the Sabres this year -- it's been a while since they had a sports team they could be proud of. I believe the last time Buffalo sports fans were able to hold their heads proudly was when OJ Simpson was still embraced by the general public, instead of being embraced by his cellmate in Las Vegas.
For those of you out there who aren't familiar with the city of Buffalo, here's a brief lesson: It's New York State's second most-populated city and has been the setting for such historic events such as the assassination of President William McKinley and Patrick Kane's Taxi Cab Battle Royal. Some of Buffalo's biggest exports are chicken wings and Buffalo Bill Tuck.
So as you can see, a win for the team would have been a major ego boost for the city. Not like they've got anything else going for them ...
The Sabres racked up 100 points over the season and dominated their division, but it was all for naught. They peaked too soon. Sure they had their moments of greatness against the Bruins, but they came up shorter than Nathan Gerbe trying to fetch something off the top shelf. You know, where momma hides the cookies.
"You want to make the playoffs, and being out of hockey, being done in April still hurts. It was a good regular season. We ended a little early. It's not where we wanted to be. We wanted to go deep in the playoffs, and we didn't do that." - Adam Mair, Sabres Forward
Ryan Miller had a great season in net this year. He was the crown jewel that this team was built around. But much like most pretty things, he lost his shine after a while and all that was left was a tarnished hunk of metal that smells weird and that no one wants to deal with.
Miller was 41-18 with five shutouts, and how could we not talk about his outstanding and tremendously tremendous appearance during the Vancouver Olympic Games? He carried both the Sabres and the Olympians, but it wasn't Miller's year to dethrone William Katt and become The Greatest American Hero.
Sure, there's probably Vezina Trophy in Miller's future (providing someone else doesn't rip that away from him, too), but let's be honest -- a Stanley Cup or a gold medal would have been pretty sweet to show off over his fireplace. Maybe next year, mister. Or in four years.
Craig Rivet had an adorable 100 penalty minutes this year and was slightly less productive than a coma patient. Say what you will about the Montreal Canadiens, but they know when to dump a guy when he's on his way out.
"Catch a falling star." - David Spade
But while Rivet's stock was dropping, Tyler Myer's stock was rising. The Calder Trophy nominee made his mark on the team and is hopefully getting ready for a long career of mediocrity as a Buffalo Sabre. Better they learn early on.
Terminally injured left wing Thomas Vanek scored against the Bruins in Game 6, and was Buffalo's top scorer during the season with 28 goals (which is just as good as that 40-goal season he had last year.). Too bad he wasn't there to bail out his team during the rest of the series. I don't know the conditioning Vanek does prior to a game, but I'd recommend stretching and warming up before he hits the ice. Just something to think about during Vanek's extended summer vacation.
Their hockey team's playoff run is over thanks to the Bruins, but the people of Buffalo can be happy knowing their lacrosse team, the Buffalo Bandits, are in the playoffs and keeping the doors to the HSBC Arena open.
Yeah, I didn't think that would help either -- but it was worth a shot. It could be worse, Buffalo -- you could be Philadelphia. Although, they're still in the playoffs.
OK, scratch that. Just remember: At least you're not Toronto.
Cameron Frye is a Boston-centric blogger. Read her at CameronFrye.com.