Friday, May 22, 2009
It was on this date in 1970 that the Buffalo Sabres were granted their NHL franchise, for a fee of $6 million. The owners, wishing to avoid another "bison" related name held a "Name the Team" contest. "Sabres" was chosen by the owner because he felt a sabre was a weapon carried by a leader, also noting that a sabre is swift and strong on offense, as well as defense.
Through a spin of a wheel, the Sabres won the right to pick first in the draft, taking Gilbert Perreault, who would go onto win the Calder Trophy. The next season, 1972-73 would see the arrival of first round draft pick Rick Martin and Rene Robert, who was obtained in a late season trade. The three would form The French Connection Line. The trio would lead the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1975, a series that included the infamous "Fog Game", and would stay together until 1979. All three of them would be honored by having their numbers retired by the Sabres, the first three players so honored by the club.
Many star players would be on the Buffalo roster in the years after making the Stanley Cup Finals, like Mike Ramsey, Phil Housley, Dave Andreychuk, Tom Barasso, Pierre Turgeon, Alexander Mogilny, Dale Hawerchuk and Pat Lafontaine, but a return to the finals would have to wait until the 1998-99 season following the emergence of Czech goaltender Dominik Hasek.
Hasek would win six Vezina Trophies in Buffalo during his nine seasons there. In addition, he would win both the Hart Trophy and the Pearson Trophy in 1997 and again in 1998. He also would help the Czech Republic capture the Olympic Gold Medal in February of 1998, catapulting him to world wide recognition.
Today's featured jersey is a 1994-95 Buffalo Sabres Dominik Hasek jersey in the Sabres original blue and gold colors. Legend has it that the blue and gold colors were chosen by the original owners because those were the colors of their polo club.
The jersey also features the attractive Sabres 25th Anniversary patch on the right chest, as worn by Hasek during his second Vezina Trophy winning season. The Sabres would continue to wear the blue and gold for another season before changing to the black and red colors they would wear throughout the next 9 seasons before changing back to a blue and gold scheme with the arrival of the unfortunate "Buffaslug" logo.
While the Sabres colors may have changed, one constant throughout nearly the entire history of the Sabres history has been announcer Rick Jeanneret, who joined the club for their second season. His distinctive voice, excited calls and player nicknames have made him one of the best known announcers league wide.
Dasherboard: Wow. Another exciting playoff game last night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes. 11 goals scored in a 7-4 Pittsburgh victory, giving them a 2-0 series lead. This is clearly not your father's playoffs, as it has literally been 10 years since that many goals were scored in a conference final game.
Carolina showed great tenacity, coming back to quickly tie the game three separate times after falling behind, the longest of which took only 2:43, before Evgeni Malkin took control of the game in the third, scoring twice to complete his hat trick. Malkin's hat trick was the result of hard work, skill and tenacity, as all the goals came from in close, two of which were when he was closely guarded.
While we think Chicago is in a world of hurt being down 2-0 to Detroit, we think the Hurricanes, with many more playoff experienced veterans can still claw their way back into this series with their rabid fans behind them when they return home for the next game on Saturday. Having the last change at home will allow them to put the players on the ice they want and should allow them better defensive matchups against the Penguins top players.