We Are Not DeadbeatsJuly 8, 2008
The Sabres have been the MSM/blogosphere whipping boy for the last year now (this blog included.) Waaah! Briere and Drury weren’t signed. Waaah! Teppo has been suspended by the heartless bastards. Waaaah my nachos are cold. Waaaaah! I fell off the team’s Christmas card list.
The point is, while some of the whining has been justified, the team has taken several steps to right some of the wrongs. Then, Greg W at Puck Daddy writes a column where he calls the Sabres one of the ten least desirable teams in the league for free agents. While that may be a perception, its downright insulting to those players that have chosen to re-sign with the Sabres when their contracts are up. I have no doubt that Jochen, Roy-Z, Goose and the rest of the recently re-signed gang could have gotten better money from other teams, but instead, they chose to re-sign with the team. Why is this so? I don’t buy that there’s something in the locker room water that caused these guys to want to magically re-up with the team. Is it the area? Our cheap standard of living? Is it a combination?
While it may be difficult to get FA’s here via their own volition, look at how many times players that have been sent here through trades end up loving the area? Stu Barnes was downright brokenhearted to be leaving when he was traded to Dallas. Jim Lorentz still lives in the area (when he’s not off in remote parts of Canada fishing.) Mike Foligno sent two of his kids to college up here. (Ask me about the time he showed up to daughter #1’s Orientation and the fellow parents went nuts.)
Brian Engblom (and his hair) played for the Sabres? Holy hell.
Grant Ledyard is currently the head coach of the Junior Sabres. Pat LaFontaine still is active in the community through his charity work.
The point is, it may take awhile to fall in love with the Sabres, and the Buffalo area. But I tend to think of us as a hidden gem. We may look scruffy and nasty to the rest of the world, but give us a bath and polish us up, and we’re a pretty good place.