The Stone That the Builder Refused

by Ryan

The Sabres are completely and utterly boring.

Let’s face it, the team just isn’t fun to watch. A 9-13-3 team with the best goaltender on the planet has played meandering hockey for 25 games in a season where very little is actually worth noting. The forwards can’t score, Miller has been hurt and the team has won four home games this year.

Chris called last Friday’s game against the Leafs “fun” and it sort of blew me away. When was the last time we said that about a Sabres game? The four minutes of overtime before Myers scored against Vancouver was fun, but a full 60 minutes? Do they make those hockey games in Buffalo anymore?

The hockey is boring, the personalities are boring and the resulting discussions are boring. We know the team isn’t going to get blown up, we know the front office and head coach are locked in and we continue to see mediocre hockey. What’s there to talk about?

Well, everything that isn’t on the ice. The most interesting thing that has happened this season may not have even happened at all. Let’s stress this: The most interesting episode of this Sabres season happened at a charity fashion show. Or didn’t.

When you back away from it all, that’s incredibly depressing. I haven’t found anyone who actually wants to talk about why Derek Roy is the Sabres’ best forward and yet no one actually likes him. No one wants to talk about why the defense can hit the net but the forwards can’t finish. What the hell happened to Paul Gaustad? Where’s Drew Stafford?

I’ve had more fun reading other blogs than I’ve had watching games this season because it’s been so much more fun than what we see on the ice. Hell, I can’t even get up the strength to refresh Jason Pominville Postgame Press Conference Bingo. I mean really, what exactly needs to be changed on that board?

On the ice and in the locker room the Sabres are as interesting as Mutts. They are shopping for off-white paint. An N64 controller without the rumble pack.

The Sabres are a hockey team that makes a 2-9 football team playing down the road look like the Greatest Show on FieldTurf. Steve Johnson is the most interesting man alive compared to the sighs coming from the HSBC Arena locker room.

And that’s why the potential sale of the Sabres is a huge freaking deal right now. Sure, it’s big news any time ownership of a pro sports franchise changes hands. People throwing millions of dollars at each other is fun to watch, and us little people love rich people drama.

But considering this is the only unique, real, tangible thing that has happened this season that’s remotely interesting, we’re all over this thing. Sabres fans are eating this up not because they hate Tom Golisano and want his stink off the hockey team. They’re just dying for something, anything to happen of interest and happened to stumble into the most interesting thing to happen to the team in a decade.

We’re in no position to actually break news here, but what happens or doesn’t happen over the next few days becomes the real story of the season. As far as I’m concerned, Bucky Gleason and Ken Campbell just kicked the crap out of Mutts and replaced it with the television version of The Boondocks. This show is interesting again, maybe the most interesting thing going on right now.

We will all get to talk and guess and have fun with this, but the real show is about to begin if you ask me. Suddenly, what we see in the papers and on the internet is insanely important and interesting. This is no world of feces, this is the hot stove fed by nitroglycerin. The Sabres are currently involved in the longest period between games this season, and no one cares.

There is only so much real information out there, though, and the rest is miles and miles of speculation. Still, I may be one more poor showing on the ice away from diving head-first down the rabbit hole of what could be.

The Bills have reminded us over the past few weeks that sports are supposed to be fun. Somehow a bad football team is giving us the most enjoyable season in a very long time, and I’ve been having fun on my Sundays as of late.

I didn’t expect a shale-drilling billionaire living in Boca Raton to make the Sabres interesting again, but right now I’m certainly not complaining.


  1. Mike

    You’re absolutely right about why people are excited about Pegula. Ruff and Regier came on in 1997. I was 16 years old then. I’m 29 now. That means that at least 40 percent of my life has been spent with them at the helm of my favorite team, which pisses me off because I remember the Knox era as really fun and entertaining. The Knoxes were wealthy bluebloods who loved Buffalo (first and foremost) and loved hockey which made them ideal owners, and there could be a lot of that in Pegula (at least the loving hockey part). I think the problem is less with Golisano, because even though he’s not a Buffalo backer and not in love with hockey, he doesn’t stick his nose in the hockey business. I think the problem is that familiarity has bred contempt with Quinn, Ruff and Regier. How many times have we heard “We really believe in our core guys” and “We just need to play our system.” It’s enough to drive you nuts. And it’s not that I don’t think Regier and Quinn have been to some degree successful. But I think a lot of the things that made them successful in the past haven’t been there for awhile. One of the things I always admired about Regier was that he could make a small deal to completely change the face of the team. Stu Barnes for instance was acquired for Barnaby at the trade deadline in ’99. Barnes became the heart and soul of that team, a guy who produced consistently, and he wasn’t regarded as any superstar. When was the last time a trade deadline deal worked out like that for Regier? I have no idea if Pegula would keep Ruff and Regier on, but I think it’s the hope that things will change at the top that has everyone excited.

  2. I don’t think we have to use the fact that the Sabres are boring to justify our enthusiasm for this potential ownership change. I think this is legitimately exciting, even if the Sabres were in first place.

    • Kate,

      I agree, but I think it’s certainly amplified a few things for sure. For one it is helping the people who think the Sabres are going nowhere with Golisano and the current managerial mindset the team apparently has. If the Sabres were a first-place team with Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford leading the way, I think you wouldn’t see people ready to throw the welcome mat open so quickly.

      It’s perception, really. I think most will conclude that selling to an interested party is a good thing for hockey in Buffalo. The fact that the team isn’t good and very, very boring only makes people draw that conclusion quicker and, in turn, make them that much more interested in it happening. I mean really, what else is there to talk about? I for one feel stuck with what we have at the moment. The idea of change is a very good one right now.

      But you’re right, you don’t need to find reasons to get excited about this. I just wondered how the current atmosphere impacted the initial response.