Winning Her Back.

“This isn’t what hockey is usually like.

Just so you know.”

- Me, to wife, circa 2005-06-07

“Whatever, babe, this is awesome. SKATE SOUPY WOOOOOOOO!”

6f59090bc45f6d5b80ad80cd30921b2b.124.95 Winning Her Back.

Also saying “Woo.”

 

The first part of her response was directed at me, the second part at some moldy low def projection screen at a BW3′s in Jacksonville, Florida. There were Sabres fans everywhere, knocking back cheap tall glasses of Yuengling, getting louder and louder as they became emboldened by the buzz from the beer and the comaraderie.

The “new NHL” was romancing the fans with it’s new style of play – a near zero-tolerance on clutch and grab that let the undersized and speedier talents on the Blue and Gold surgically dissect their opponents on the fly. And it was glorious. Most nights, our group of 20-or-so Sabres fans actually wanted to fall behind.

Because they always came back in the 3rd.

But this was not the way hockey is usually like. I warned her.

She was doomed.

My wife embraced hockey after the lockout, just as we were embracing as newlyweds in our own right. The Dead Puck Era was a thing of the past (for a moment, at least). Hockey, and our lives, were in fast forward.

Fast forward to 7-1-07. We were now up in Buffalo, enjoying a family boathouse gathering by the lake. The boathouse rules were four: no TVs, no radios, no computers, no cell phones. But this was 7-1-07. About 5 minutes after noon, a giant expletive rippled across the otherwise still waters of the lake. Danny Briere was off to Philly. A few minutes later, Drury was gone, and a few of us were ready to put together a New York Rangers effigy for the bonfire later that night. But not my wife.

This is a scam. I’m not a chump. Screw hockey.

Within a span of 15 minutes, Tom Golisano had chased Danny and Chris out of Buffalo, and my wife away from hockey.

What’s worse, the presentation of the sport completely changed. Dead Puck was back – and there’s no way to lure someone back to the fold using a corpse.

 

3a27e2a45343bb358e31933c6d443f7b.124.124 Winning Her Back.

Sexy.

It also didn’t help that the Sabres crumbled following the losses of Briere, Drury, and a host of other talented personalities form the roster. In 2007-08 and 2008-09, they missed the playoffs. 2009-10 and 2010-11, lost out in the first round. 2011-12, missed out again.

Here’s a few other things that didn’t help the cause:

  • Jim Lorentz’s retirement in October of 2007.
  • The Winter Classic – which was amazing – but was something she viewed as a massive publicity stunt for a dying team that was unwilling to instead spend it’s time and money on, well, players.
  • The entire 2008-09 season.
  • The sadly predictable elimination by Boston in 2009-10.
  • The unfortunate story of Tim Kennedy in 2010-11.
  • Terry Pegula.

 

“Terry Pegula,” you ask? “Hell yes,” she says, “I’ve never seen so much promotion around such a watered down product. It’s a joke. Good for Pegula, and for you diehard fans, but the team can’t win. And God, these games are boring.”

Page 1 of 3 | Next page

share save 171 16 Winning Her Back.