What's up Sabres fans? Buffalo is the hottest team in all of hockey and they have yet to lose a single game this year. So why all the hate? Everywhere I turn I see the same old Buffalo vitriol. The Canes didn't deserve to win the Cup. The city didn't deserve to win the Cup. The fans didn't deserve to win the Cup. We're all bandwagoners. Hilarious stuff! The other day on XM radio some Buffalo blowhard called to tell Phil Esposito not to accept anymore calls from Caniacs because we Southerners "didn't know anything about hockey". Phil promptly told the dude off by informing him how ignorant he sounded and how he was giving all Buffalo fans a bad name. Great job by Phil, but unfortuneately such "ignorance" is not uncommon.
Check out any Caniac messageboard and you'll see the same thing, Buffalo fans visiting to tell us in a variety of ways about how we suck. Check out any Caniac blogsite and sooner or later you'll be sure to find negative comments left by Buffalo fans. My big question is, why? I can understand the frustration after losing a tight Eastern Conference Finals. Sure, you had some tough luck with injuries. Is that our fault? I thought it was an extremely well played, pretty evenly matched, hard fought, but clean matchup. The Canes didn't hurt any of your players like teams did in earlier series. There were no hugely controversial plays like in the finals with Dallas. So again I'll ask, why the hate?
What I find most humorous are the comments like the one left on my blog a couple of days ago. (Signed by "Patrick", with no return email address).
Canes proved twice now that they cannot beat a healthy Sabres club. Neither the team, the city, nor the bandwagon fans deserved the Cup last year. LETâ€™S GO BUFFALO!!!
First of all, what happens this year has nothing to do with what happened last year. Even if we could bring back Doug Weight, Mark Recchi, Cory Stillman, Matt Cullen, Frank Kaberle, Aaron Ward, and Andrew Ladd to see what would happen and if we did beat your "healthy" Sabres, that still would mean nothing. Last year was last year. Our team is different this year as is your team. The Sabres could beat us 100 times this year, it still doesn't mean you "would have" beaten us last year if you were healthy. In any event, winning or losing 2 close games proves nothing. What makes the Sabres a better team right now is their overall record, not the 2 games in which they barely beat us.
Next, Patrick states that the city didn't deserve the Cup. Oh really, and how does a city "earn" it? The last I heard the better team earned the Cup, not the better city, and we southerners don't know OUR hockey? How would you even determine what city is more deserving anyway? Maybe Raleigh gave more to the United Way last year than Buffalo, would that make us deserve it? Something some Sabres fans should take note of, the players work and earn it on the ice, the fans don't earn it with their stupid rhetoric.
Finally the most absurdly, laughable yet common statement from Buffalo fans, calling us bandwagoners! Wow, apparently they have not looked in the mirror recently! How some Sabres fans can have this false superiority complex is beyond me. Yep I know, the HSBC sold out the ECF's in 15 minutes! Whoopee doo! Where were you all before that? I have a question for all of you know it all Sabres fans. Which arena had more fans for last year's home opener? Answer? The RBCC.
On October 5th, 2005, for your home opener against the Islanders your attendance was 15,702.
On October 7th, 2005 our home opener against the Penguins had attendance of 18,787, higher than reported capacity because of standing room only sales.
On October 7th in Buffalo, on your 2nd home game your attendance was a pitiful 13,771 for a Friday night! Now who has the bandwagon fans?? Where were all these diehard faithfuls who have been tooting their own horns all spring and summer? Maybe our definitions of "bandwagon fans" are different?
In past years the Sabres didn't draw many if any more fans than the Canes did as reported by ESPN. Check out 2002-03 when Buffalo averaged 13,735 fans per game and the Canes averaged 15,682. This was the year that the Canes finished dead last in the league and set a modern NHL record for scoring the fewest goals in a year.
We still outdrew the Sabres "diehard faithful". This is why I laugh when the ignorant call us "bandwagon fans". The sad truth of the matter is that if it wasn't for the philanthropistic nature of Tom Golisano, (who is from Rochester not Buffalo), the Sabres would probably be in Portland or Winnipeg right now. So I just don't get all this superior chest-thumping and Caniac dumping that some Sabres fans continue to employ.
Even the Sabres players have commented about the bandwagon nature of their fans. Here's a quote from Teppo Numminen:
"It's so much different than it was a year ago," veteran defenseman Teppo Numminen said. "When we started last season, there were small crowds and not much to talk about. Everybody had us finishing last. What a difference a year makes. All the gossip about the team has changed dramatically."
Where were you guys early last year? We sold out the RBCC and we were not picked to finish in the playoffs either.
Now having said all this, I'm not claiming that Caniacs are perfect. Of course we have some bandwagon fans, all sports cities do. People love winners. But for some Buffalo fans to continue with the insults and repeatedly make the false claims that they do is just stupid and absurd. I'm not attacking all of the Buffalo fanbase by saying this. I realize that there are some bad apples in every batch and there are some good ones. It just seems that the bad ones are much louder than the good ones in Buffalo. I periodically read a couple of the Buffalo blogs which are excellent! Bleeding Blue and Gold is one of the best in my opinion. I'm just saying that some Sabres fans could use a dose of humility. One of these days your team's shots will start hitting the post instead of finding the net. The injury bug may find you once again. The bounces may start not going your way. It's a long year and the Cup isn't won in October, just ask Ottawa and Detroit.