What’s in a number?
A Leino by any other number, is still the same. Right?
Abandoning the #22 that he wore for Philadelphia, Leino made the curious decision to don #23, and for that, I could not be happier. Whether he meant to go on this mission or not, he’s now out to finally rid this fan base of the greatness that once wore that number – our Hockey God, our Captain, our indefatigable leader, our Chris Drury.
Leino may find that #23 is a heavy load to carry on his back throughout this coming season, and I cannot help but speculate on the reasons why he chose to take it upon himself. There will be comparisons between him and Drury all season long – perhaps longer – by fans, bloggers, and media, should he falter or flourish.
Of course, #22 was already taken by Brad Boyes. Leino wore #21 in Detroit, #22 in Philly, so #23 just makes logical hockey sense. Right?
I’ll give you a moment to wipe the spit-take off of your face.
Now that the Buffalo Sabres have become big time spenders in order to become big time contenders, the perception of this team and its management is going to change. Sure, it’s not like anyone ever has anything nice to say about the Queen City anyway, but get yourselves ready to hear “You guys are trying to buy a Cup, so laaaame” all over the internet.
Frankly, the teams now bear a lot of similarities. Both now have a young core that was weaned from the draft, and both have over-spent to hopefully bolster their lineups on July 1st.
In order to assess how Sabres fans feel about this troubling comparison, I did some very scientific research: I consulted the Twitter. Here’s a few gems from the Sabres Nation Twit Poll:
- @Sabrefreakydeak: Yes & No> Yes: TPegs flexing financial muscle. No: Nobody can make idiotic decision quite like the tandem of Dolan & Sather.
- @MintyP69: no, because the talent we bought into isn’t here because of our name & they are still in their prime
- @MusingMaryAnn: Think of it as trying to catch up with the rest of the League who had a jump on us in the past. Spending money is new!
There will be no call for Drury duty in Buffalo after all.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post is reporting today that the Rangers cannot buy out their captain, due to his lingering knee injury. In fact, the injury is degenerative, and it looks like the 35 year old will miss the entire upcoming season, an event that will force him into retirement.
Whether you wanted Drury back with the Sabres or not, no one wanted his career to end this way.
Drury will close out his 12 year career with 892 NHL regular-season games, in which the Little League World Series’ winning pitcher from Trumbull, Connecticut recorded 615 points (255-360). In 130 playoff games, he scored 88 points (47-41).
Meanwhile, the Sabres announced yesterday that Kevin Sylvester will make the play-by-play with Danny Gare at his side for select away games for the upcoming season. Sylvester is the likely eventual replacement for Rick Jeanerette, who is hoping to extend his career by taking the brunt of the travel away from his schedule.
If you forgot what Sylvester’s style is like, here’s a video from last season where he called a Drew Stafford hattie against the Bruins.
I totally predicted this buy-out back in 2007.
Not that I am happy that it happened – hey, it wasn’t Drury’s fault that he was handed a king’s ransom to dress up for his favorite childhood team. It wasn’t his fault that his body sadly began to show signs of age.
Oh captain, my captain!
A lot has been written on Drury since the news of the buy-out broke, so I am not going to waste your time with my own assessment of what comes next. I’ve got a different approach for my readers.