Saturday, March 1, 2014

Not a good day in Buffalo

You know, I always sit down on Saturday and look over my chapters, deciding what I want to post for Weekend Writing Warriors (8sunday). Just before I did that today, however, I heard that my hockey team the Buffalo Sabres lost Director of Hockey Operations Pat Lafontaine (he resigned). You've heard the idea that bad things come in threes? Yesterday the Sabres traded revered goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott. Now with Patty also gone, my heart's just not in anything tonight.

If you're not much of a sports fan this won't mean much to you, but my town is hardcore hockey. (Football is a big deal too, but I've never been interested in football) We get behind our team full throttle. Home games are either sold out or close to, even though the Sabres have been in last place all season.

Ryan's been here for 12 years; we've seen him grow from a young guy full of promise who spoke his mind without shame, to a married man considered by most people in hockey to be one of the top 5 best goalies in the world. He's backed two USA Olympic teams. He does a lot of charity work locally. To say the fans adore him is an understatement.

Steve came to the Sabres in 2012 as an "enforcer." The Sabres back then were pretty weak as far as hitting and hard checking. Steve was somebody the organization hoped would change that. Some people accused him of taking cheap shots; I don't think I saw any of that with him, though he did hit hard and often. It's hockey, that is part of the game. Steve quickly earned the respect of his team mates and was awarded the coveted C for "captain." He also got involved in local charities. To help our local zoo, he and the Sabres sold Ott's Otters. This Facebook page shows the cute little thing. He helped bring some respect to the Sabres and helped them realize they should stand up for themselves in the face of other guys' cheap shots. And the Sabres were on the receiving end of several cheap shots, one resulting in Ryan's concussion.

Since Ryan and Steve were both approaching free agency, on one hand it's no surprise they got traded. Rumors have been out there since last summer. Still, reality bites. In his farewell press conference, Ryan was so emotional he had a hard time answering media questions.

There's no explanation yet why Patty Lafontaine resigned. When he came on board at the long-overdue firing of GM Darcy Regier, all signs seemed to point to Pat settling back in town for a while. When fans heard that not only was thorn-in-our-sides Darcy gone but that Pat was back, bringing Ted Nolan with him, the whole town took a Mardi Gras atmosphere. This was what we'd been waiting for, for years! People who actually know and love Buffalo, know hockey, know what they're doing.

We aren't 100% surprised to hear that Ryan and Steve are gone, but Pat, we really thought you'd thrown your lot in with us. From the fan comments I'm seeing around the internet, I'm not the only fan who feels let down and even kind of betrayed. I don't blame Pat. If he felt he had to resign, I'm positive he had good reason. It's just that we're tired of waiting and rebuilding and shuffling and hoping. We had a bit of progress and now everything is up in the air, yet again.

I'm not even a player who has to deal with this, and I'm tired of it. St. Louis, you have Steve and Ryan, is there room for me?


  1. I was shocked at these turns of events in Buffalo, Marcia! :( One can only hope they'll re-group and find a way to climb back up in the standings. As Leafs fans have been saying forever: "There's always next year."

    1. Thanks, hon. That means a lot to me. I guess Leafs fans are better at being patient. Well, it took the Kings something like 30 years to win the Cup, so miracles do happen. It's just so irritating while you're waiting for one.

  2. So sorry to hear about all the bad hockey news - although I'm not a fan I do understand. :-) Hope everything improves.

    1. Aww, thanks so much Susan! I really appreciate that. It helps to get a bit of sympathy. c