Why we hate the Buffalo Sabres
The Fog, 8-0, mites on ice, and Dominik Hasek’s stupid mask lead the way.
It’s Rivalry Week at the mothership (SB Nation) and we’re taking part by airing our grievances with each and every NHL team. None will be sparred, not even NHL Seattle.
With that said, it’s time to talk about an organization that somehow sucks more than the team, which is hard to do since the team hasn’t made the playoffs in nine years and won’t again this year despite carrying the NHL’s fifth most expensive roster.
The Sabres suck.
The Fog at the Aud (Game 4, 1975 Stanley Cup Final)
Alright so you’re a professional sports team and you can’t figure out how to climate control your damn arena during the most important playoff series in your franchises short history? Congratulations, you’re the Buffalo freaking Sabres.
But wait it gets better, not only could the host Sabres fail to provide a legitimate playing surface atmosphere (literally the Aud didn’t have air conditioning), this occurred only after a bat flew in to try and distract the defending Stanley Cup champion Flyers.
Look at how unbothered Rick MacLeish was in grabbing the bat and disposing of it just like the Flyers disposed the Sabres in six games to win their second-straight Stanley Cup.
The Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup.
They just fired a bunch of people who definitely didn’t deserve it
So a major reason why we hate the Sabres so much is that their organization is literally the NHL equivalent of that video of the dumpster fire cruising down what is certainly not an actual river.
After a ninth-consecutive season failing to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Sabres’ brass —made up of owners Terry and Kim Pegula— decided to clean house in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In my first 10 seasons covering the Sabres, there were ZERO coaching or GM changes.— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) June 16, 2020
In the last eight seasons, there have been eight. https://t.co/Xf34DXWUSk
But wait there’s more.
Friedman says the Sabres mistakenly fired their Head of Hockey Department IT and then re-hired him back.— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) June 18, 2020
You can't make this stuff up.
You really can’t make that stuff up, the Pegulas suck.
They’re literally killing Jack Eichel
Eichel is one of the NHL’s very best players, and yet here are the Sabres out here making him say things like this:
"Listen, I'm fed up with losing, and I'm fed up and I'm frustrated.": Sabres captain Jack Eichel https://t.co/e3KOPvrJTG— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) May 29, 2020
Despite possessing one of the NHL’s best assets, the Sabres have been to the playoff zero times since making Eichel the second pick behind Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
But not only have the Sabres failed to surround Eichel with the talent necessary to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying. Buffalo carried the NHL’s fifth most expensive roster this past season per Capgeek and didn’t even make the play-in tournament. Yikes.
While Edmonton was steering towards a rather large issue with their own superstar in McDavid and roster construction, that seems to have eased as Ken Holland has taken the reigns while the Sabres were left to clear the decks this summer and effectively start over.
Look Eichel already has to deal with the ridiculous hair of his, he doesn’t need to be this depressed about playing hockey —because he’s really good at it. Stop making him suffer, Buffalo, and trade him to the Flyers for a comically low return (the Devils’ Taylor Hall trade should be a good jumping off point).
April 21st, 2001
Looking to avoid elimination in game six of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on the road against the Sabres, the Flyers ended up getting run out of the building as Buffalo handed out an 8-0 shutout.
My 11-year-old self had to watch Roman Cechmanek provide one of the worst goaltending performances in NHL history (five goals on nine shots) while Dominik Hayek turned aside all 24 shots he faced to eliminate the Flyers.
It was a pathetic showing for a team that produced a 100-point season in their first post-Eric Lindros campaign but wasted two games that they somehow managed to get three goals past the immaculate Hasek (he had a 2.11 goals-against average that year and 11 shutouts to boot).
That day sucked, and remains one of the worst Flyers games I’ve ever remembered in my lifetime. You did that, Buffalo.
The 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal
Sure the Flyers were a deeply flawed team that season following their improbable run from a shootout of game 82 all the way to within two wins of a Stanley Cup, but the Sabres —especially Ryan Miller— were annoying as hell during that series.
So much so that Lindy Ruff’s bunch of losers —looking at you Patrick Kaleta— rattled Flyers coach Peter Laviolette to the point that he voluntarily iced Zac Rinaldo for 1:56 of a Stanley Cup playoff game.
Desperately needing Rinaldo’s noted energy and scoring ability, the Flyers lost game 5 at home in overtime, 4-3, and needed a dramatic overtime win of their own on the road in Buffalo to force a game 7 back home.
Thankfully Ville Leino would burn the Sabres on the scoreboard —and later on their accounting books— and the Flyers would leave Rinaldo on the bench for the balance of the series as the actual hockey men got the job done to avoid what would have been an embarrassing first-round exit.
Buffalo hasn’t been back to the playoffs since Leino’s winner and the four burger the Flyers hung on Ryan Miller before he was pulled in his last playoff start as a Sabre.
Zac Rinaldo sucks.
The post lockout little guys
Buffalo actually excelled at hockey following the lockout in 2004-05, and they did so with a fast, up tempo style that gave undersized players like Tyler Ennis and Nathan Gerbe a chance to show off their skills —and make large and immobile defenders look silly in the process.
Unfortunately, the Flyers had a plethora of those types of archaic defenseman following the lockout and were frequently abused by the little guys from Buffalo.
Daniel Briere tormented the Flyers prior to arriving to the Orange and Black in free agency and guys like Ennis and Gerbe always seemed to fill up the box score whenever they locked up with Philadelphia.
Thankfully the Flyers did finally adapt to the changing landscape of the league and were far better equipped to deal with the Sabres’ miniature army in the 2011 playoffs, but Buffalo did make life pretty tough there immediately after the lockout and namely in the 2005-06 playoffs.
Dominik Hasek’s stupid mask
Yeah yeah I know that the Dominator wore that style with other teams, too, but I was introduced to it during his Sabres days and holy hell was that dude good at preventing pucks from getting past him.
Like with the Red Wings, this hatred is based out of respect and few —if any— ever did it better than Hasek in the crease...even if he did look ridiculous wearing that helmet all those years.
Got a reason why you hate the Sabres that isn’t above? Tell ‘em you mad by utilizing the comments section below.