It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, there are in fact, more than 10 hockey fans. Thanks to an early announcement, we have been flooded by requests to join the MYFO ranks to represent their team. This all makes for great theatre and quality posts that involve little or no work, so Raskolnikov can stop punishing himself now, but I think he kind of likes it. All this week we here at MYFO will be bringing to you the best applications we have received, so let us know what you think: do these guys suck, should we keep them around for good, do you want to see more before making a decision, or do you think you can do better? If you want to give this thing a whirl, email me at LButler36@Gmail.com.
Today: Afino – Buffalo Sabres
Why My Team is Better Than Yours: Buffalo Sabres
You know, if you would have asked me this in either of the last two years, this would be a piece of cake. But the realities of having superstars making less than market value and a front office which is nine steps behind finally caught up with them.
So instead, we Sabres fans are holding “Will Work For Food” signs in order to feed our families, since all of our hard earned cash is going to Thomas Vanek’s contract. (Thank you, Kevin Lowe!)
Two years ago, the Sabres’ slogan/battle cry/advertising campaign was “The Future Is Now”. Well, the future is now…again. The loss in the ECF to Ottawa last spring was a wake up call – we hope. Realizing that scoring at all costs wasn’t going to win you shit in the playoffs, even though it worked all season. So after the jump is why, in the immortal words of GM Darcy Regier, the sky is NOT falling.
1) Ryan Miller. With all apologies to Rick DiPietro, Miller is the best American goaltender. You can throw the stats at me all you want: DiPi’s GAA was 15 points lower, save percentage 8 points higher, and Miller’s propensity of losing shutouts in the final 4 minutes. But you know what? That’s just a ploy to keep his salary demands down, because that’s how we roll in Buffalo. Miller IS the franchise and always will be, regardless of Vanek’s contract. If the rules allowed us to throw the “C” on him, he’d get it. Throw in the facts that he has a tribute on the back of his mask (“Matt Man”) and he looks like Jesus when he grows his playoff beard, and how can you not like him?
2) Max Afinogenov. Come on, at some point you saw that end-to-end rush against Philadelphia last season. Throw out the fact that the Philly defensemen are/were complete pylons and it’s exactly why, every time he gets the puck in his own zone, the fans rise to their feet and roar like no one since Gilbert Perreault. There are very few players in the entire NHL who can do that.
3) Lindy Ruff. Last season, he all but challenged (now former) Ottawa coach Bryan Murray to a fight on the benches after Neil’s hit on Drury. Also included in that mayhem: Ruff clearly telling Murray “Don’t run our fucking captain!” Being a former Sabres captain himself, Ruff knows that if you mess with one dog, you mess with the whole pack. That’s why he sent out the goons to pound on Ottawa’s stars, which eventually gave us the imagery of Ray Emery beating the ever-loving piss out of Marty Biron and Rob Ray standing between the two benches with a straight face while this was going on. Most coaches wouldn’t do something like that, because they’re afraid of repercussions. Ruff is not most coaches.
On July 1st with the defections of Drury and Briere, Sabres fans thought that Armageddon had begun. Far from the contrary, as the saying goes, “We don’t rebuild, we reload”. The Sabres have reloaded with Drew Stafford, Tim Connolly (who only played two games last year), Dan Paille, Mike Ryan, and Clarke MacArthur to fill the voids left by departed players. The Sabres will still be a playoff team, and if they’re counted out again, there could be a repeat of 05-06, where an underrated team decimated by injuries willed their way to within 20 minutes of a Cup Finals berth.
You know, I’m not so worried, and I really think for once that Regier was right. The sky is not falling. And we’re still better than your team.