Okay, I just want to make a few things clear. I have now attended three Sabres games in three different arenas: HSBC Arena, Madison Sq Garden, and Nassau Coliseum. Of course, the crowd at HSBC is unbeatable when you're rooting on the home team, so I'll leave that aside. As for the MSG crowd, they were more than friendly and I struck up a good conversation with the guy next to me. At that time, I was really amazed by Lundqvist and the guy was impressed with how fast Sabres were able to start the rush from zone to zone. I only got nudged a little when I stood up and cheered at one point -- very friendly crowd. Zero insults. Oh yes, and no trash on the ice, even with a sold-out crowd and the Sabres beating the Rangers in OT.
So what about last night's game? Verbal insults EVERYWHERE. In fact, across the aisle, there were a couple Sabres fans, in dress shirt and tie. Right behind them were a group of rowdy Isles fans and as these two guys walked up to their seats, the Isles fans started whipping them with the towels. And this was before the game started.
I had insults shouted at me just about all night. The few Sabres fans in my section (318) were extremely polite. With the insults getting shouted at us every moment possible, we all shrugged them off, basically letting the scoreboard speak for itself. Even the usher, though jokingly, insulted me.
As for the trash-throwing: seriously seriously? That was ridiculous. I think it's not just disrespectful to NHL officials, but to your own team as well. It's a completely defeatist attitude. It lets you walk away from this game blaming the refs and not realizing there was still a chance to tie it up. But after trash-throwing, the Islanders completely gave up by that point and Pominville undressed the Isles' top defencemen and scored easily on DiPietro, your star goalie who slashed his stick in half on the goalposts. Sorry; I'm not impressed.
Most Islanders fans came by car, while the Sabres fans headed to the bus stop. There was this old lady there, you could tell she was a long-time Islanders fan. She was screaming profanities at the rest of us! Maybe a dozen of Sabres fans there and she's telling us how we're all worthless and don't deserve any of it. C'mon old lady! What's up with that?
All in all, Rangers fans > Islanders fans. I mean, they completely gave up on their team. They were not at all being provoked. When I went there, the LIRR already had a few Sabres fans riding the train, so I was thinking there would be a pretty good Buffalo representation -- not at ALL. So any speak of Sabres fans being rowdy and disrespecting the "home team"? I didn't see any of that.
I wish I had a photo of the Nassau Coliseum ... it is architecturally very unattractive. Just on the side of a large highway in sort of a blah area. The seating was horrible; I was way up in the nosebleed seats, but there was this ledge that blocked my sight if I tried to stand up. Very claustrophobic design. The ledge also obstructed my view of the jumbotron, so I had to get out of my seat and crane my head to see the time. This was also just bad luck, but the replay tv in my section wasn't working, either.
And come on, the main Long Island defense for being better than Buffalo is that they border New York City, but SERIOUSLY everyone in New York makes fun of Long Islanders the most, right behind people from New Jersey. A New Yorker's geography: trashy people in that island to the east, upstate are all those rich people in Westchester, and Buffalo is some place that's in the state but it's basically Canada.
Anyway, I'm just rambling.
I'll leave you with a few of my favorite insults of the night:
1. "Go back to Canada, where you guys belong!"
2. "Let's go Islanders ... BUFFALO BLOWS!"
3. "Aren't you guys all just hicks up there?"