Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

Sabres Fans Were Stars Of The Show

Mission accomplished.

Buffalo's 4-2 loss to Columbus last night, which assured them the rights to one of the McEichel brothers, officially ends possibly the most tumultuous and surreal period in Sabres history.

And now, after all the suffering of the past two agonizing years, fans and media who engaged in heated debates over the process the Sabres took to get him will come together in the coming months to give the new face of the franchise the most raucous and celebrated welcome an athlete has received in this city since Jim Kelly's black stretch limo arrival in 1986.

The most interesting part of the entire plot that unfolded was that the Sabres themselves didn't even play the lead. They were second billing in this movie to the fans and those who covered the team.

Radio show hosts fueled the tank talk and spent every day telling us how incredible and transforming it would be to get Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel here. Sportswriters showed disapproval of wanting your team to lose and disgust at vocally expressing those feelings at the arena.

Fans initially took sides, but eventually consensus shifted heavily towards openly pulling for Sabres losses. That attitude brought criticism from many and raised questions about integrity.

The truth is that Sabres fans deserve a lot of credit. They still attended the games and were emotionally engaged with the team. They didn't ask for all of this but found a way to make the best of a bad situation. And they accepted plenty of grossly unfair criticism in the process.

If you still think Buffalonians aren't crazy about their team, take a stroll down to First Niagara Center today for the season finale. There's going to be a celebration taking place, which is something you don't often see with a team that has 54 points in 81 games.

There is one more possible storyline to unfold. The Sabres can eliminate the Penguins, a team that became a powerhouse by drafting a generational player, from playoff contention.

Imagine how symbolic it will be if the team that went out of its way to get their own version of Sidney Crosby ignites the dismantling of the team that has the real one.

Sabres fans quite honestly won't and shouldn't care too much about the result, but it'll feel different than any other game this season.

Watching the team will be fun again.

It's been a long time coming, and it was worth it.

dd@kuklaskorner.com

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NHL DRAFT LOTTERY PARTY 4/18 AT AMHERST PIZZA & ALE HOUSE

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  Tags: sabres+mceichel

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

2014-15 NHL Reverse Standings

 

Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]