Team Profile: The Buffalo Sabres

A quick overview of the Buffalo Sabres:

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
Established: 1970
Arena: First Niagara Center
AHL Affiliate: Rochester Americans
Owner: Terry Pegula
Coach: Dan Bylsma
Best Known Line: The French Connection: Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert
Notable Former Players: Pat LaFontaine, Danny Gare, Dominik Hasek, Tim Horton (yes, that Tim Horton)
Current Captain: Biran Gionta
Goalies: Robin Lehner, Chad Johnson
Notable Current Players: Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly

A few interesting tidbits about the team:

In 1970 when the Sabres were established, Buffalo also established their NFL team the Buffalo Bills and their NBA team the Buffalo Braves. They gained three professional sports teams in one summer, though the Braves are no longer in Buffalo.

When the NHL expanded in 1970, the Canucks were also established. The two expansion teams determined who would draft first by spinning a roulette wheel. When Buffalo won, they got Gilbert Perreault who scored an NHL record for rookies in his first season with them. In 1971 they drafted Rick Martin, who broke Perreault’s rookie record in his first season, and they got Rene Robert in a trade from Pittsburgh. This line, the French Connection, was one of the best in the league at the time.

In 1974-75 season, the Sabres played in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Flyers. Game three of the series was one of the most bizarre the league had seen. Because the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium had no air conditioning, the arena filled with fog. And in that same game, Buffalo center Jim Lorentz saw a bat flying through the fog and unintentionally killed it with his stick when he took a swing at it.

Advance to the cup finals twice, and lost both times. Once to the Flyers in 1975, and once to the Dallas Stars in 1999.

In 1974, the Sabres made fun of the drafting process by drafting a player who didn’t exist from a team that didn’t exist.

Lindy Ruff played for the Sabres.

The first goal scored by the Sabres was scored by Jim Watson, who only ever scored 4 goals in his entire NHL career.

Encil Palmer (who retired in 1995) was employed as a trainer and during games he would stand by the Zamboni door where the opponent net was during the 1st and 3rd. When pucks came around the boards, he’d kick the door and it would send the puck flying out into the crease in front of the opponent’s net, and they definitely scored a few times because of it. The arena was apparently already smaller than most, and this little trick made some people justifiably mad.

Rob Ray played for the Sabres from 1990 until 2003 and was notorious for taking off his jersey and pads during fights so his opponents would have nothing to grab onto. It is suspected that the NHL rules assessing additional penalties for removal of equipment during fights is a direct result of Ray’s style of fighting.

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