The Thought Refuse

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Bad News Buffalo

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Today began with plenty of bad news for Buffalo as a national sports city.  A Wall Street Journal article noted that Buffalo Bills fans are

…some of the worst-behaving fans in all of sports.

Later in the afternoon, a Forbes magazine article pegged the Buffalo Bills as one of the top ten sports franchises likely to move.

I can’t outright refute either of these.  Bills games are rowdy.  Fans arrive at the stadium 8 hours prior to kickoff and begin their Sunday ritual of getting plastered.  By game time, a few thousand drunkards filing into a stadium to watch a violent sport.  It’s not unexpected that a few of them are going to be trouble makers.  But a few thousand bad fans disregards the other 72,000 well behaved, passionate fans there to cheer on their team.  It’s sad that a few bad apples has to spoil the entire batch.

It’s no secret the Bills are in danger of leaving town.  A 90 year old owner in Ralph Wilson who has refused to secure the sale of the team prior to his death leaves the franchise likely up to the highest bidder.  And since last year with the move of two home games to Toronto, the highest bidder appears to be those folks over at Rogers in Canada with money spilling out of their pockets.

The prospect of the Buffalo Bills leaving town is naturally distressing, but if they ever do move it will be downright devastating to a town that lives with it’s football team.  A piece of the city would die with the Bills should they exit stage left.  Gone would be the buzz that travels around water coolers and jumps from stranger to stranger every fall.  It’s one of the few things that connects the people of the city in a way most sports towns can’t relate too.

Luckily, the Buffalo Sabres saved the local sports day with a convincing win over the New York Rangers 3-1.  It’s only three games into the season, but this is a different hockey team from the one that disappointed last year.  They display a new found dedication to defensive responsibility.  Spurred by the arrival of Craig Rivet, every defensive pair seems energerized to clear out the front of their own net.  The forwards are making conscious efforts to stay in their own zone and not making early breakouts.  Odd man rushes have been kept to a minimum as opposed to last year when they were an every period ritual.

The Sabres didn’t lack in the scoring department last year.  The finished 4th in scoring in the NHL, but they were erratic and irresponsible in the defensive zone.  While every player deserves credit, the lion’s share goes to Lindy Ruff who is once again proving that he is a master at adapting to the how the game of hockey is played from year to year.  No Sabres fan will forget how Ruff turned a bunch of no-name hockey players and Dominik Hasek into a Stanley Cup finalist by being defensively responsible.  I don’t want to leap to conclusions, but this team, with the emerging Thomas Vanek and a cast of capable scorers, this team holds real promise and could creep up on the league just like they did the year after the lockout.

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Written by huxbux

October 15, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Sports

Tagged with , , , ,

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