Left out in the Warm

by Ryan

Last year when the Sabres schedule was released there was so much to look for. When was the first time Briere and Drury would be back in town? Who do we open against to raise the banners? What about Ottawa? Most important of all, what about that game on New Year’s Day?

It would take an extra few months to get official word about the Winter Classic, but once everything fell into place it went down as one of the greatest events in Buffalo sports history. Finally something unique was given to this town, and we as fans savored every moment of it.

However, this year’s schedule release brings a different feeling. Namely, a feeling of being left out. Kevin at Bfloblog fleshed it out nicely by saying “big deal”, and that’s kind of what I’m feeling as well. The lack of excitement isn’t my problem, as much as the reality that something is no longer ours.

Hang a “9” over it and consider that logo to be stalking Brian Campbell. The Winter Classic is officially an annual showcase, and Elwood Blues’ parole address gets hosting duties this year.

Keep in mind where I’m coming from on this. This was certainly inevitable and something you can’t possibly get upset about. The fact of the matter is that the Winter Classic was profitable and great for the league, and so it will be repeated until ran into the ground. However, you can’t help but get taken aback when you hear Brian Campbell talking about another Winter Classic. See for yourself:

Colder than it is in April, but so what? It was cold in Buffalo, too, but Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who played for the Sabres in last season’s Classic, remembers the intoxicating buzz around the city leading up to game day.

“The city was all wrapped up in it,” Campbell said. “It was, ‘How do you get tickets?’ ‘What are you doing to get prepared?’ ‘What’s your tailgate going to be like?’ It was mayhem, a lot of fun, and something you take a lot of pride in.”

Campbell also recalled how difficult it was to adjust to the conditions.

“I was on the ice for a goal against (21 seconds into the game) in because my defensive partner tried to pass it and there was too much snow on the ice and it wasn’t going anywhere,” he said. “I personally did not like the game at that point. Then I scored and the game was the best thing ever.”

Somehow the term “intoxicating” is completely appropriate. The entire section reads a far cry from the “f$%king stupid Ice Bowl” we’ve seen for ourselves, but you can’t help but laugh at the little ginger’s enthusiasm. Deep down he knew he would love it, it was the beer lying to him all along.

Again, it’s nothing to get upset about, but it is a strange feeling. This year I glanced over the schedule with little to look forward to. Who even knows if mini packs are still around come October? With all the fun things happening for other teams, it’s just tough to look at a bunch of dates and get excited. Not just yet, at least.

Hey, at least it won’t be at Yankee Stadium. That mock-up just never looked right, did it?