History of the Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres are a professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League. They have been with the NHL since 1970. The Sabres, along with the Bills of the NFL, are beloved among western New Yorkers but both teams have been on the wrong end of many of the most devastating losses in sports history, causing many to believe in the Buffalo Sports Curse.
The Sabres, along with the Vancouver Canucks, began play in 1970. Given its northern location and proximity to Canada, Buffalo had become a hotbed for hockey and was a logical destination for a professional team. The first owners were Seymour Knox III and Northrup Knox.
The first two seasons of the Sabres’ history were highlighted by the drafts of center Gilbert Perreault in 1970 and winger Rick Martin in 1971 and the late-season trade for winger Rene Robert late in the 1971-72 season. Perreault set a record for rookies by scoring 38 goals in his first year. The record would be broken by Martin the following season when he scored 44 goals. Perreault, Martin, and Robert made up one of the strongest forward trio in the league. Due to the fact that each had French Canadian lineage, they became known as “the French Connection.”
In just their third year in the NHL, Buffalo qualified for the playoffs. They lost in six games to the eventual champion Montreal Canadiens. Buffalo fans were pleased with the Sabres’ performance, however, and chanted “Thank you, Sabres!” at the end of Game 6.
Two years after making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, Buffalo finished in a tie for the best record in the NHL in the 1974-75 regular season. They eventually qualified for the Stanley Cup Finals, where they were to face the Philadelphia Flyers. Game 3 of the series would be played under extreme fog that limited visibility of the players, officials, and puck. The fog was the result of unusual heat in Buffalo in 1975. Buffalo went on to win the game, but the Flyers ended up with the Stanley Cup after six games.
The French Connection was joined by Danny Gare and they would continue to be a dominant force throughout the late 70s and early 80s. They won the regular season conference championship and first team to beat the Soviet Olympic Team when they toured the United States. However, they were unable to return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Sabres were rejuvenated in the mid 90s when the team moved from the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium (known as “the Aud”) to Marine Midland Arena. In their first season at Marine Midland Arena (1996-97), Buffalo won the Northeast Division for their first division title in 16 years.
Buffalo’s strong regular season in 1996-97 was overshadowed by a tumultuous post season. Goaltender Dominik Hasek, who had won both the Hart and Vezina trophies, sat out after game 3 of their first round series with Ottawa when he claimed he heard his knee pop. Local columnist Jim Kelley wrote a column that detailed the game’s events that Hasek took offense to, and after Buffalo won the series in five games, Hasek came out of Buffalo’s training room and physically attacked Kelley. He was later suspended three games by the NHL and the Sabres lost in five games to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Sabres finally returned to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999. Again, they were met with heartbreak when they lost to the Dallas Stars in six games. Adding to their misery was the fact that the clinching goal of game 6 came on Stars’ winger Brett Hull’s triple overtime goal when his skate was visibly in Hasek’s crease. In 1999, it was illegal to score a goal if an offensive player’s skate entered the crease before the puck did.
Since their last appearance in the Stanley Cup, the Sabres have returned to blue and gold colors for the first time since the team abandoned them for red and black in 1996. They have enjoyed moderate success, including division titles in 2007 and 2010. Most recently, they played in the 2010 playoffs as the third-seed in the Eastern Conference, only to lose to the sixth-seeded Boston Bruins in the first round.
About the Author
Owen Shaw writes reviews on various sporting events including the online sportsbook. In this piece of write up, the author highlights one of the most popular sports NHL and NHL betting. The author also takes the readers opinion on how hockey betting online occurs.