Buffalo Sabres 2017-18 Schedule
The story of the Buffalo Sabres begins in 1970. Right from the start the fans had a special connection to the club as the name "Sabres" was chosen using a fan contest. The teams first owners were Seymour and Northrup Knox. They selected a veteran of the NHL to be General Manager. Punch Imlach put together a winner almost immediately through the draft, and with veteran players.
The Sabres made the playoffs in just their third year in the league, and took the invincible Montreal Canadiens to 6 games in a best of 7 . It took the Canadiens 5 games or less in the other series that year, steam rolling their way to another Stanley Cup. The Sabres had Joe Crozier as the coach that year, and during that before mentioned series in game 5, did something that Montreal coach Scotty Bowman apparently wasn't too pleased with.
Crozier called for a stick measurement of Montreal goaltender Ken Drydens stick. It turned out to be illegal and the Canadiens were penalized. As a result the winning goal was scored by Sabres forward Renee Robert, giving the Sabres the win. When the Canadiens were eventual winners of the series, Crozier walked over to shake Bowmans hand, and he just nodded..keeping his hands in his pocket. Now perhaps this was a germ-a-phobia thing, or Scotty didn't like being shown up in the prior game. Of course I was just an impressionable youngster, however I remember this vividly and tend to think the latter.
In any event the Sabres were losers in that series, but certainly not with the fans. Then a few years later in the 1974-75 season, the Sabres finished in a tie for the most points in the league. They were led by Center Gilbert Perreault, wingers Renee Robert and Rick Martin, who were nicknamed the "French Connection." Perreault was especially talented, as he was a threat to score anytime he had the puck. That season was a true love affair between the team and the fans. Optimism and expectations were so high that a song was written for the teams Stanley Cup run entitled "We're gonna win that Cup."
The Sabres went to the Cup finals against the rough Philadelphia Flyers, who were known for their over the line physical play. The Flyers had a phenomenal goaltender in Bernie Parent. Game three of the series would be known as the "fog game" in Buffalo. It was unusually hot for that time of May, and due to this portions of the game was played in a heavy fog. Center Jim Lorentz spotted a bat flying across the rink and swatted it out of the air. At the time the crowd loved it, and this gave Lorentz the nickname "Batman." However the Sabres went on to lose the series in 6 games and many fans after the loss, considered Lorentz's bat extermination skills as an "evil omen."
years later ex-Montreal coach Scotty Bowman would go on
to be the coach and GM of the Sabres, but failed to make
them into a winner. Aside from St. Louis very early in
his career, the Sabres are the ONLY team to carry that
distinction as every other team Bowman has been
associated with...Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Detroit have
all won Stanley Cups! Perhaps this is due to the
The Sabres would not return to the Cup finals again until 1999 when they faced the Dallas Stars. That year the Sabres were led by coach Lindy Ruff and his team of hard working gritty players such as team captain Mike Peca, Miroslav Satan, and Stu Barnes. The real star of the team was their goaltender Dominik Hasek. When he played for the Sabres it can be argued that he was the best netminder in NHL history, and justifiably so.
The Sabres battled the Stars to a game 6 in Buffalo being down three games to two. The game was a very tense low scoring affair that went into triple overtime. Stars forward Brett Hull scored what would be the series ending, cup winning goal. But just like the "Music City Miracle"...it came with controversy.
rule was in place that season that no opposing player may
be in any way in the goal crease. If a player was to
score a goal while having a foot in the crease it would
be disallowed. Here comes the controversy as Hulls skate
was visibly in the goal crease, however the red carpet
was rolled out so quickly it seemed as though the review
was moot. This would be forever known as the "No
Goal" game in Buffalo. The terms "No
Goal", "Homerun Throwback" and of course
"Wide Right" are all synonymous with the city
of Buffalo. More work of the....
Now along comes the recent exploits of the Buffalo Curse. In the 2005-06 season the Sabres advanced to the eastern conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sabres battled hard throughout the series, and in game 6 they forced a game 7 with an overtime win in Buffalo. Before the start of game 7 in Carolina, the Sabres received news that their leading defensman Jay Mckee would not play due to injury. This was significant due to the fact that the team had already been decimated by injury not only during that series, but the entire playoffs as well. Starting a defense made up of mostly rookies, the Sabres lost game 7 and Carolina went on to eventually capture the Stanley Cup.
The team felt as though they were snake bit in the prior seasons playoffs, and that injury was the sole reason for the teams failure. They had a rallying cry in the form of T-shirts that read "One Team-One Goal" with a picture of the Stanley Cup beneath it. The team went on to have an excellent 2006-07 regular season capturing the NHL Presidents Trophy, awarded to the team with the most points in the regular season. The Sabres were a scoring machine amassing a league leading 308 goals during the season. Their powerplay seemed to sputter in the latter half of the regular season (something that would cost them come playoffs) but they still seemed unstoppable having four 30 goal scorers, and seven scoring at least 20 goals.
The Sabres once again advanced to the eastern conference finals this time against the Ottawa Senators, a team the Sabres eliminated in 5 games the season before. The high scoring Sabres found themselves down 3-0 in the series largely due to an anemic power play that was 0-18 at that point. They finally won a game avoiding a series sweep, but it was too little too late. The Senators turned the tables on Buffalo defeating them in 5 games and ending a Sabres season filled with high expectations. Unlike the season before, the team went into the Ottawa series completely healthy...so injury was NOT an issue.
How could such a high scoring, talented, well coached team fall so flat when it mattered so much? Can you fault the players, coaches, or could it once again be the work of the...Buffalo Curse?
The Sabres returned to the playoffs in the 2009-10 season, as they captured the NHL Northeast Division. However the futility on the power play continued with the Sabres going O-fer 20 with the man advantage against Boston, resulting in a 1st round defeat. It seems that we see the same scenario play out season after season, playoff appearance after appearance. A Lindy Ruff team comprised of solid goaltending, and a defensive game plan, and no offensive punch when needed! Just enough to make them competitive, but no more. Sabres management seem to be unwilling to spend the money needed to obtain, and retain talent needed to bring a championship to the city of Buffalo. Can this be due to an ownership that no longer cares about winning a Stanley Cup, or are they compelled to do this? Can there be forces at work that drive the Sabres organization to failure time after time? For unbeknownst to management, they may be actors in a theater of futility. Participants in the tragic play known as...The Buffalo Curse!
Sabres 2010-11 season proved to be significant for the
franchise as businessman Terry Pegula purchased the team.
Pegula comes in with a fresh "win now"
attitude, and vows to spend whatever it takes to build a
Stanley Cup contender, something his predecessors failed
to do. However at the trade deadline the team was unable
to acquire the talent needed to take them to the next
level, so the result was the same as the previous
year...losing in the 1st round of the playoffs! This time
at the hands of The Philadelphia Flyers and ex-Sabre
Daniel Briere, whom Sabres management failed to re-sign
several years earlier. Briere was the series MVP as he
led The Flyers in scoring, and ended up being the dagger
in his old teams heart. Was Briere's departure, then
spearheading the demise of his ex-team in the playoffs
all part of The Buffalo Curse? Can the new ownership
provide a positive change for the Sabres? Will this
change usher in a Stanley Cup Champion to the city of
Buffalo? Or will this just be a continuation of the same
frustration that has plagued the Sabres for the past 40
years. A fate that has long since been predetermined,
regardless of who sits in the front office. An ongoing
Countdown to the
Sabres 2017-18 Season
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