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A Key to the City of Buffalo for Terry Pegula?

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Look mom, I’m taking on City Hall!

Remember when Terrell Owens came to town, and was awarded the key to the city? He was supposed to catch 10 touchdown passes in return. Well, he caught 55 passes before his one year contract was up, and off he went.

That wasn’t the best decision regarding keys to cities, but since that debacle, someone has arrived in the Queen City who actually deserves the honor – Terry Pegula. I brought this up during the Ted Black chat on Twitter today, and while Ted didn’t respond to the idea (a wise choice to keep his words away from politics) many others did. Seems like folks want to get this done, so let’s give it a try.

There are those that see a key to the city as an empty gesture (especially after the Owens mistake), but I disagree. It’s quite meaningful, especially if it is awarded to Pegula by a legion of fans. From wiki:

The Key to the City is a similar award that is descended from Freedom of the City. It is used in several countries, but is especially popular in the United States.

An ornamental key is presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others the city wishes to honor. Evoking medieval walled cities whose gates were guarded during the day and locked at night, the key symbolises the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.

I can’t think of a better way to say “thank you, Terry” than that.

Key to the City2 A Key to the City of Buffalo for Terry Pegula?

Or at least buy him a six pack of Blue.

And we have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s a list of things he did for us fans that I compiled back in April. In yesterday’s Buffalo News, Bucky Gleason wrote a piece reviewing all that Terry has done for us, for this team, and for this city since then. He was gushing.

He’s a wealthy man who carries himself as if he didn’t have a dime in his pocket, a great fit in outposts like Buffalo. He’s doing deeds that don’t cost a penny but make him a rich man. He has surrounded himself with sharp, creative minds such as team president Ted Black. They’re covering the details, right down to televisions in the bathrooms and cup holders on urinals.

The Sabres for years had problems with soft ice, so he paid for a dehumidifying system that they believe will give them the best surface in the NHL.

He thought the Sabres’ dressing room was outdated, so he committed $6 million toward a new one. Then it was $8 million. Some say it’s nearing $10 million. It will have everything you can imagine, including a fireplace. If this keeps up, it might have a separate fire department.

Ten months have passed since Pegula’s name surfaced as a potential owner, but I still haven’t heard one cross word about the guy. You would think somebody would have pointed out a flaw — any flaw by now. So far, nothing. If anything, more people gush about him as they come to know him.

In an interview yesterday, Pegula was asked how much money he’s poured into this project to build Hockey Heaven and win Lord Stanley. “We’re investing our hearts,” he said.

We already tried a quicky thrown together birthday sing-along for Terry, but his largesses on our fine city should be officially recognized. It’s time for the Mayor to return some heartfelt investment.

What say you? Let the mayor know on Twitter, at @MayorByronBrown.

Whether this happens or not, at least in trying I feel like I have said “thank you, Terry.” And that feels good.

Go Sabres.

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Tyler Myers gets Paid; Sabres Management Plan Taking Form

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Does it make sense to pay a 21 year old $22 million dollars to play hockey next year?

No. And surprisingly, yes. His deal is part of a pattern now, and Darcy Regier’s plan to bring Lord Stanley to Buffalo is becoming clear. Who cares about how much Terry Pegula pours into this team? Buffalo’s opponents do. They’re sweating this Myers contract, and I can understand why. But it’s not about the money.

myers tyler 1stGoal 300x162 Tyler Myers gets Paid; Sabres Management Plan Taking Form

1st of many.

With his seven year deal, Myers will make a cool $12 mil in the 2012-13 season, along with a $10 mil “signing bonus.” That’s a lot of money to heap onto a player who’s just played two years of NHL hockey. It’s the silly money normally reserved for players who have earned UFA status, and are hitting the market as such.

But the Buffalo Sabres aren’t concerned about money anymore. They are concerned about winning Stanley Cups.

Is Myers really worth $22 million? (Note: math error here. See edit below.) Goodness, no. But he is certainly worth $3 million, which is what he’ll make in the 2018-19 season. Sure, Myers is young, too young for UFA money – but this deal gives him prime time money, while also being structured to allow for the Sabres to add to the team in the coming years.

Pegula doesn’t care how much money he spends – he “spends with his heart,” as he said in a press conference yesterday. It’s up to Regier to decide how the money is spent, and now we’re seeing a pattern: this team is building up for something big. By paying big now, they will have the space to add more players later. It’s pretty simple, really.

Christian Ehrhoff (winner of Vancouver’s “Best Defenseman” award for the past two seasons) is making a monumental $18 mil in salary and signing bonuses this year. However, his deal tapers off as Myers’ does – he’ll be making $1 mil to play from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The cap hit for the former best dman of the Canucks is a paltry $4 mil.

Even for top defensemen, $21 million and $18 million is silly money. $5.5 and $4 – a combined $9.5 million for two stud defensemen, is smart, smart, smart.

Sabres fans aren’t used to this kind of math. Words like “cap,” “circumvention,” and “signing bonus” sound like they come from a foreign language. Buffalo is accustomed to being on the other end of the transaction (July 1st, 2007 should ring a bell). I understand why some folks may cry foul over this deal.

Let them cry all they want. Let ‘em cry loud, and strong.

After all, they aren’t really upset about the contracts that lockout year was supposed to prevent, unless they have selective amnesia. We were all taught that the lockout failed when Drury, Briere, Gomez, et al were handed the largesse contracts that changed the monetary culture of the NHL.

2007 was our turn to cry. We’re over it. So again – let the cryers cry, and the naysayers nay. The Sabres are building. Tyler Myers will help Buffalo win a Stanley Cup. His friendly long-term cap hit will help Buffalo win a Cup again.

Yea, let ‘em cry folks. It ain’t fair. We get it in Buffalo. It wasn’t fair in 2007, and it’s not going to be fair in 2012. It’s not going to be fair when we take the best players from other teams.

But we’re going to do it.

NHL fans outside of Buffalo have been put on notice with these deals. Sabres fans can tune out all that money talk. The only thing that matters in this town is Lord Stanley – and that is what the other teams and fan bases are really worried about. Cry all they want, Terry Pegula, Darcy Regier and the Sabres aren’t done yet.

Go Sabres.

EDIT: As Jeremy White from WGR55 pointed out to me, “The 12 includes the signing bonus. Salary year one is 2 million. Bonus is 10. 12 million next year, not 22.” I guess I definitely am tuning out this money stuff already. Thanks, Jeremy.

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Happy Birthday Craig Rivet; The Flight 3407 Game

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On February 23rd of 2011, a day after Terry Pegula took over the reins as the owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the team cut ties with its captain, Craig Rivet.

Today we’ll focus on two other dates: September 13, (today, and the day Rivet was born in 1974) and February 13, 2009.

Rivet Craig 300x168 Happy Birthday Craig Rivet; The Flight 3407 Game

Happy birthday, Captain Craig!

Always a class act and reputed leader, Rivet was elected as Sabres captain – by his teammates – immediately after he was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in 2008.  Now in 2011, his grit and character would seem to be exactly what the team was looking for, but age and injuries had slowed him down.

A decision had to be made.  And for all parties, it was the right one. Rivet was waived, and found one last shot with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Sabres were able to move on with their season without the distraction of a healthy-scratch captain.

For me, I’ll always remember Rivet for two things.  The first is how he manhandled the Sabres forwards when he lined up against us in his earlier years in Montreal.  The second is how his incredible leadership and resolve all came together in one incredible moment, on February 13th, 2009.

I swear, that video still brings the water out from behind my eyes.  Rivet launched a rocket that found its way into the net (Rivet would be credited with the primary assist on Pominville’s tip in, one of a career high three assists on that night), and the Sabres would go on to find a way to bring a little bit of a fairy tale footnote to that horrible, nightmare of a day in Clarence – Rivet’s own adoptive town.

Craig, enjoy your day. You’ve earned a great one.

Go Sabres.

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Buffalo Girl Convinces EA to put a Female Face on NHL Hockey

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We love our hockey in the B-lo.

We love our Sabres. We love our Junior Sabres. We love our Amerks. We love our alumni. We love playing on the local rinks and streets, and we love playing in the virtual world on our TV screens.

Up until now, girls didn’t have a face in that virtual world.  They do now, and it’s all thanks to Lexi Peters, of our fair Queen City.

LPEA12 300x169 Buffalo Girl Convinces EA to put a Female Face on NHL Hockey

Team captain material.

From The Globe and Mail:

“I asked my dad, ‘Why aren’t there girls in the NHL video game?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know, write a letter.’ So, I did,” Lexi told the Globe and Mail from her home in Buffalo, N.Y.

She sent a typewritten letter to the executives of one the largest video game makers in the world, asking them to add women players.

She wrote: “It is unfair to women and girl hockey players around the world, many of them who play and enjoy your game. I have created a character of myself, except I have to be represented by a male and that’s not fun.”

EA Sports gave Lexi the news. Not only were they adding a female character option, but they wanted Lexi to play the part of the “default” female player that gamers would then be able to customize.

“I was so excited,” says Lexi. “My dad called my grandpa immediately, who called my Uncle Chris, like a chain reaction.”

Users can tailor the female character by changing hair, eye colour and the name on the jersey if they want, just as with male players.

Well done, Lexi!

For the full article, click here.

Go Sabres.

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Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

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Ted Black is quickly becoming one of the most popular members of the Sabres organization.

In his latest fan chat, Black engaged the fans and their questions, offering insight into projects and season prospects, and sometimes just showing fans his down to earth sense of humor.

TBC11 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

F'n a!

Of the myriad of subjects he touched upon, the gametime experience was one that kept popping up. It’s something that the Sabres are working on to improve, both in and out of the rink. Here’s a quick pictorial recap of what he revealed on that experience during the chat.

TBC2 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

"Prost!" Get your Ehrhoff and Hecht jerseys ready for this one.

TBC3 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

Party at Brendan's house!

TBC4 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

I think it's safe to say we won't be tortured by a "Crazy Train" routine.

TBC5 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

1978? Treat yourself to a soda if you remember that one.

TBC6 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

I'll be the first to volunteer to bury those in my backyard.

TBC7 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

And it's been glorious. Thank you, Derek Roy (@Roy9ner), for introducing us all to words like "deliciosis" on the Twitter.

TBC8 Sabres Exploring Twitter, New Gametime Experiences

Vague? Yes. But when Ted Black is vague, it usually means something cool is on the way.

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