What The Fans Want, Paul
I really don’t think we’re asking a lot of them, really.
OK, sure. Booing the power play if they happen to go 0 for 2 in a given period seems a bit stupid. But I can’t vouch for everyone in the crowd.
Yes, many of the 18,690 inside of First Niagara Center Wednesday night are going to want the Sabres to get their pound of flesh from Milan Lucic and the Bruins, 2 points be damned if necessary. Such is life when an entire team fails to answer the bell upon its goalie getting clobbered by one of the baddest dudes on the block. Mix in a week and a half of sports talk radio, blog posts, and old-fashioned water cooler chatter, and everyone is looking forward to the circus rolling into town for one night.
Now as for the other 40 nights a year, how about if the Sabres looked more interested in putting 60 good minutes of effort together, instead of the old chestnut, “wanting to put on a show”. How about instead of constantly taking the puck wide along the boards, they drive to the net. How about initiating the physical play, instead of having to respond to it.
Yes, there are going to be nights where they just don’t have it. Happens to the best of teams. But for whatever reason – immaturity, stubbornness, lack of scruples – it happens to this group of players a lot when playing at the foot of Main Street. It gets old quick.
This town gets kicked around a lot. You’ve probably seen or read about it. So like I need to tell you that people in the 716 are fairly sensitive to embarrassing moments, like having toilet paper getting donated to the county government buildings ’cause they can’t pay for it, or it’s hockey team looking like a bunch of scared chumps. We just want to be proud of the folks that in what ever little way represent the rest of us. We want to win, yes, but failing that if our going down, do go without a fight. That’s why the ’05-’06 club is remembered more fondly than the ’06-’07 one.
I think Boston is really good. When you factor in the injuries and youth injected into the Sabres’ lineup, it’s gonna be a tall order to win this game coming up. But it certainly well within reach to win back a bit of the love of the home fans with how they play. Deliver on that Wednesday and build on it, and lets move on with things.