It feels like the entire city of Buffalo partook in liquid lunches today.
By noon, the hash-tag #BradRichardsToBuffalo was officially trending in the Queen City on Twitter. Jeremy White (of WGR55) got the uppity Richards dreamers in town even uppitier when he launched the hash tag trend in the early morn.
If this proves anything, it proves even further how passionate the Sabres fan base is about their boys in Blue and Gold (and the boys they want to put into Blue and Gold uniforms). Beyond that, it proves that a lot of us have nothing better to do with our time at our work desks than to spam and troll the Twitter account of the player we (or some of we) want the most on July 1st.
“Oh! Someone call a cop! This guy just robbed eeEEEeeverybody!”
When Darcy Regier plucked Colin Jacobs in the 4th round, I could hear Rick Jeanneret screaming that in the back of my head.
Just like Armia and Catenacci before him, Jacobs went through a profound draft day slide. It was another no-brainer pick for Darcy and his staff. To put it into perspective: “The Hockey News” had Jacobs as their 45th overall best prospect. The venerable International Scouting Services ranked him 26th overall. The Sabres picked him with the 107th selection.
It’s not just about those numbers, either. The Dallas Morning News’ “HS Game Time” had some great things to say about this kid in an article posted back on December 26 of 2010:
Jacobs played two games for the T-Birds closing out the 2008-09 season then moved to the Seattle area for ’09-10. Playing on a young team, he collected 13 goals and 26 points in 72 games. Short of this season’s midpoint, he already has more goals and points (15 and 28). He notched his first WHL hat trick a few weeks ago, and a backhanded goal that he scored while facing away from the net is a Youtube favorite.
T-Birds coach Rob Sumner said he emphasized putting pucks on the net however possible that night.
“I guess that was a little bit of a reward for following the game plan closely,” Sumner said. “He’s had more discipline in his game this year. He’s taken a huge step in understanding the defensive aspect of the game. I think he’s going to be a physical, aggressive player, but I think there’s a time and place for that.”
Draft prognosticators tab him as a second-round pick in next summer’s NHL draft with an outside chance of going in the first round.
As for the rest of his game, well, you can find all the information you need and more by heading on over to SabresProspects.com. Perhaps the best part of Kevin Baker’s write-up there is actually where he has him placed on the Prospect Depth Chart – 3rd overall at the center position, behind only Dan Catenacci and Kevin Sundher.
At 6-2 and 204 pounds, Jacobs is that big, powerful, talented center that Sabres fans were hoping for in the 1st round.
They just had to wait an extra day, and a few more rounds.
Who says Darcy can’t draft?
No matter how old you are, if you follow the Sabres or Bills, you’ve had your share of heartache. Sure, there was Wide Right, No Goal and the Music City Miracle, but I’m speaking more about organizational issues.
Mismanagement is the worst thing to see as a fan, and sometimes it seems so obvious what the franchise needs to do when playing armchair quarterback. I equate it to your place of work – if the people in charge are doing a shoddy job of management or are just in it for the almighty dollar, it’s very hard to do your best work or even care very much.
Yes, as Buffalo sports fans, we’ve put up with a lot. That’s why it’s so insanely great to see the turnaround by the Sabres in such a short time. Recently on BSN, Scott detailed the many changes Terry Pegula was able to affect in a very short time.
On top of those changes, over the past several days we’ve had even more reasons to believe in Hockey Heaven and and an eventual Stanley Cup. The Sabres landed their first big-name free agent in Robyn Regehr – a guy who any hard-nosed hockey fan would love to have in their lineup. Regher is just the first piece of the puzzle and there’s much more to come, but this signing goes a long way towards proving to any non-believing fans out there. That is, if there were any doubters left. This Regehr deal is huge because he’s the first domino towards getting other free agents to come to Buffalo.
We’re not elitists.
There is no sense of entitlement in this town. But since Terry Pegula arrived on February 22nd, 2011 (forever hereafter to be known as “Pegula Day” to Sabres Nation), there is a sense of confidence.
There is a belief.
For perhaps the first time in the storied history of the Buffalo Sabres franchise, the fan base is compelled to a certitude that the Stanley Cup will be won. It may take years, but it will be won.
And inherit Lord Stanley.
(Photo from “Hockey Heaven’s” online “716” store.)
It’s not just about that Cup though, folks. “Hockey Heaven” is not a destination, it’s a way of life. It’s the kids that block traffic playing street hockey in front of your house. It’s the Labatt Pond Hockey tournament. It’s the midnight broomball games at Leisure Rinks. It’s the pride we feel when we lead the national ratings for a playoff game rounds after our own team has been eliminated. It’s the backyard rinks in winter. It’s teaching our kids to skate at the good ol’ Nike Base, like our parents taught us. It’s the open practices at the HSBC Arena.
Sometimes, it is as simple as the smell of the hockey rink when you first walk through the door to watch a varsity match between St. Francis and Orchard Park.
We breathe it deeply here.
Hockey Heaven has always been here, but what Terry Pegula has done cannot be overlooked. Heck, how do you overlook over 75 Sabres alumni signing autographs at Fan Appreciation Night? The anticipation felt by fans about Pegula on February 22nd has been replaced with a feeling of marvel, as Terry adds perk upon perk to the fan and player experience. A challenge: try to name all the changes and improvements that Pegula and Ted Black have put into place since their arrival. Just try it.
It’s amazing what they’ve done in basically just three calendar months. Here’s a quick list (which I am sure is incomplete, feel free to add more in the comments section below):
- He decided not to dismantle the team he bought, instead, he bought into his team. Trading only to bring Brad Boyes in, his men responded by going 16-4-4 to improbably make the playoffs.
- He made the Sabres family whole again, when he invited all Sabres alumni back into the fold. Every one of those guys who spent time here have since gone back to their homes, and around the world, the message that they brought back was “Buffalo is the new destination.”
- He brought free programs.
- He fixed the plumbing at HSBC.
- He made the decision to remove a ill-attended museum, to utilize the space in the arena as it should be – for hockey.
- He allowed fans to choose game day tunes.
- He reunited the French Connection for one final time.
- He put Ted Black on a fan internet chat for a NHL record 3 hours and 18 minutes.
- He followed his new team on the road, sitting in the cheap seats, so he could keep the magic run alive.
- He invested, and is investing, every penny towards a Cup, and nothing else.
- He challenged the Buffalo News for being unfairly and detrimentally negative.
- He brought a second screen in for the Party in the Plaza.
- He purchased a $20,000 carpet for the locker room.
- He provided fans with an amazing service for their beloved #7.
- He planted a flag at HSBC that read “Hockey Heaven.”
- He met fans in the lobby before games.
- He instilled a sense of hope in a franchise and a city that had been drowning under the heavy ice of Lake Erie for a decade.
And he did all of these things in 24 games.
By the way, thanks Corey.
Since then, Pegula’s done more, and more – the latest gem being him and Lindy Ruff leaving the draft to fly to Calgary and visit Robyn Regehr at his home to meet and welcome him and his family to Buffalo.
For all of our problems here in the Queen City, we have a lot to cherish.
Pegula didn’t create “Hockey Heaven.” It was here all along. But, boy, he sure has made us feel it a heckuva lot more.
Thanks again, Terry.
That is the twitter account of the Sabres
2nd 3rd round selection, (honestly, it’s amazing this guy wasn’t taken in the 2nd), an account which surfaced in the Sabres’ Twit-o-verse pretty quickly after his name was called at the draft. And just as quickly, I sent him my first fan tweet:
@DanCatenacci How fast can you get here? #PunIntended
His speed is no joke – Catenacci won the Fastest Skater Competition at the 2011 Top Prospects game with an individual best lap time of 14.017 seconds. To put that into perspective, the NY Islander’s speed-demon, Michael Grabner, won the NHL’s Skills Contest this season by posting a time of 14.2.
Still photography simply doesn't do him justice. Click on the photo to see what I mean - it's much better when slightly agitated.