Tonawanda News

Opinion

May 14, 2006

Sabres are simply surprising

We think it’s pretty safe to assume not many people in Western New York saw the Buffalo Sabres contending for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals when the season began.

Whether it was the label of “small market team” or an almost complete lack of what some would call big-name players, contending for a cup didn’t seem much of a reality.

In fact, just making the playoffs was considered a major accomplishment for a team that hadn’t played in the postseason since the 2000-01 season — and that’s not even the worst of it.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the NHL was forced to assume control of the team after owners John, Tim, Michael, and James Rigas of Adelphia Cable Communications were forced to declare bankruptcy.

As the season wound down Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano bought the team for $92 Million, ending rumors the Sabres would move or fold.

A rather lackluster season followed and then the lockout. Not a great time to be a Sabre — or hockey — fan.

But these days, it’s a whole different ballgame.

Beyond the team’s turnaround and strong play of late, it’s just good to see how they’ve brought the community together. Whether it be at a local tavern, HSBC Arena or Dunn Tire Park — where several games have been broadcast on the big screen— the team has given local residents a reason to cheer.

That’s no easy feat in this area and we applaud the Sabres for it.

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