This year’s Stanley Cup Final features two former Sabres.
Well, kind of. One of these guys barely sweat into his jersey enough to justify a game-worn jersey auction on Ebay – but dangit, this is the Pegula Era, which boasts the mantra “Once a Sabre, always a Sabre” (or something like that). So with that trumpeted promise held close to our hearts, we can now look hopefully towards the future, when one of these two former heroes of the Blue and Gold may return to Buffalo for Alumni Day.
Ah, Danny Paille – the 20 goal scorer that never was – but came oh so close. In the 2007-08 campaign, Paille managed to pile up 19 goals. He then confidently sped into full reverse, scoring 12 in ’08-’09, 10 in ’09-’10, and 6 in ’10-’11.
He was traded to the Bruins in the ’09-’10 season, after managing to score zero goals in just two games played with Buffalo. In return, the Sabres received a 3rd round pick for Paille’s prowess, a pick that turned into Kevin Sundher in the 2010 draft.
Paille, often scratched from the lineup for the Bruins, has managed to have some impact in the playoffs, having tallied 2 goals and 2 assists. He was given a team-low 6 shifts in Boston’s Game Seven against Tampa, for a lowly 5:14 off the bench.
Ah, Raffi Torres – you are gone, but not forgotten. Mainly because you skipped town only at the end of last season, after burning up this town as one of the most heralded free agent signings of the 2010 deadline. Unfortunately you failed to burn anything up during your tenure here, failing to score a single goal in 14 games. Sorry Raffi, but 5 assists and a -3 rating was an astounding failure on your part.
What makes Torres’ place in the annals of Sabres history even more appalling is that we had to give up Nathan Paestch and a 3rd round pick (Petr Straka) to acquire him from Columbus. Sure, Paeassttchstch and a 3rd (Straka) may not seem like a lot to give up, but it sure is when you give those things away for a whole lotta’ nothing. Plus, how many parents in Buffalo got tired of explaining that Torres was not THIS Raffi?
Torres was signed as an UFA after the 2009-10 season by the Vancouver Canucks (lucky [expletive]). He has since relished his role in the bottom six of that monster of a team, recording 14 goals and 15 assists in the regular season, and curiously matching Paille’s playoff stats of 2 goals and 2 assists through the playoffs.
So there you have it, folks. Our two departed heroes for this season. One of them is going to win the Stanley Cup without us, and one or both of them may someday return to the Queen City for a free room and board spree on Terry Pegula’s
Wallet Alumni Day. I am setting my autograph book aside for that one.
Until then, we can all enjoy watching one of these guys winning the Cup from afar.
*Editors Note: we considered including a poll here, so folks could vote which of these two Sabres fans should be rooting for. But seriously, between these two, what’s the point?