Hail to the Chiefs

Six 20-goal scorers. Four 30-goal scorers. One 40-goal scorer. A 40-win goaltender. An NHL record-tying 10 straight wins to start the season. 308 goals. 53 wins. A President’s Trophy. All this, despite 260+ man-games lost to injury. All this…is meaningless, my friends. The Sabres finished one of the most memorable regular seasons in Buffalo sports history with a 4-3 loss to the hated Philadelphia Flyers. Fitting that the season ended against a team the Sabres all but destroyed on October 17th, crushing the Flyers 9-1. That loss led the Flyers to fire their coach and GM and started them on a spiral descending into the dregs of the NHL. I rather enjoyed that. However, the “real” season starts wed/thurs night, against the Leafs/Islanders. All the countless hours of work in the offseason, all the dazzling offensive displays, all the gritty work in the corners by defensemen, all the spectacular highlight-reel saves from Ryan Miller, they all mean nothing if the Sabres don’t end up winning the last game of the 2006-07 NHL season.

Sabres

I guess that’s a tough standard to set, but Buffalo sports fans across the globe are hoping these 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs become the the crowning moment we’ve all waited years for; the culmination of years of hard work, tragedy, toil and frustration in post-season’s pasts. From wide right to no goal to the miracle in the music city, we’ve had our share of sports misery. The city has been gripped by an ever-increasing frenzy of fanatical worship of this year’s Buffalo Sabres that began with its roots in the closing seconds of the Game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in last year’s Eastern Conference Final. Devastated by a string of injuries to their defense corps, the Sabres valiantly took a lead into the 3rd period of that game before succumbing to the onslaught of a veteran Hurricane team that eventually won the Cup.

Hurricanes

This team came into the 2006-07 season with a single-minded purpose to pick up where they left off last year, determined to win the Cup and championship that has eluded Buffalo sports teams for so long. Maybe this is the year the city and team gets what it’s desperately wanted for so very long. A win for the players and coaches past and present, for the fans, for the city, for After the litany of “there’s always next year” we’ve grown so accustomed to saying at the end each season, perhaps that “next year” has finally arrived. Game 1 of the 2007 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thursday night. The Sabres against Ted Nolan and his Islanders. It begins again…

5 thoughts on “Hail to the Chiefs”

  1. or we could be setting ourselves up for yet another Buffalo Sports debacle.

    1. Ted Nolan in his second season in Buffalo, he led the team to a strong regular season, culminating in the Northeast Division title. He was rewarded with the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach.

    2. Ted Nolan returns from an 8 year absence in the NHL to coach the NY Islanders.

    3. Nolan presents the Jack Adams Award at the 2006 NHL Awards show to Lindy Ruff

    3. Buffalo, the presidents cup champions and favorites to win the Stanly Cup get ousted by the Ted Nolan Islanders in the first round of the 2007 playoffs………..

    Now that would be typical of the type of destiny which plagues this sports town.

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