– There was an interesting comment made by one of my uncles yesterday during my grandmother’s birthday party. He said that back in the day – you know, like the late 90s – Sabres season ticket holders received a lot more perks from the Sabres then they do now. He specifically mentioned season ticket holder only events like the Sabres Carnival (before they opened it up to the riff raff) as being one of the things the team did to prove to their season ticket holders that they were appreciated by the team. And it’s not like the team had to do these events because they weren’t doing well in the standings, this was in the conference final / SC final era. Now, the team is potentially gearing up to have it’s name engraved again on the Eastern Conference 10th place trophy, and the season ticket holders aren’t seeing these kind of “perks” any more. Is it because the team knows that they have a loyal fan base who will continue to buy tickets even though the on-ice product isn’t that great? Is it because the team is in money saving mode due to the current state of the economy? (Though on the other hand, one could make an argument that if the team is trying to keep a fairly significant part of the fanbase happy, the team would go above and beyond the call of duty, economics be damned. There’s fairly nice events that can be done for not a large expenditure of dollars. Ask college student organizers how they do it.) Who knows, but if the on-ice product doesn’t shape up this year, the off-ice fans will be very unhappy and no amount of “perks” will make that better.
– I was watching the Yankees game this afternoon (mainly just to see how long of a drive my uncle would have back from Toronto with my aunt the Yankees fan) and the broadcasters brought up an interesting point during their in-game, blowout derived ramblings. They said that if a team builds its roster the right way, one grizzled veteran leader could be affecting generations of players on that team. They used Jeter as an example. Jeter entered the Yankees organization at the same time Don Mattingly was on his way out, yet Mattingly mentored Jeter and guided him along the right path in the locker room (off the field antics were another lesson for another time, I guess). Jeter is now doing the same for young Yankees, who someday will do the same for some kid who’s currently in the 8th grade.
We kind of heard a smidgen of a system like this happening in the Sabres locker room. Drury was mentoring Gaustad (leading to the often-told story of Gaustad trying and failing to beat Drury to the rink) and Gaustad has grown quickly into the role of on-and-off-ice leader. Who knows who Goose could mentor that would in turn mentor some kid who’s just mucking around at the Pepsi Center these days?
I had a point there, but I think it ran away before I could finish it off.
– Also, please check out brand new Sabres blogger Amanda at Two Minutes for Roughing.