"I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope." - Ellis Boyd Redding
I can't think of a better quote to sum up the feelings of most Buffalo sports fans as we sit on the brink of this long-awaited playoff run. If it seems overdramatic, you're probably not a Buffalo sports fan. A championship would
be that big of a deal in Buffalo. For better or for worse, the majority of Buffalonians self-identify through their professional sports teams. As this has already been over-analyzed, I will stop with the psychoanalysis before I get any deeper.
It might be a little long, but this story (via SI.com) is a must read for all Sabres/Drury fans. Great insight into why this Sabres team has turned it around since Drury's arrival. It may not be a bold statment, but, this team would not be where they are today without him.
Do you think Campbell becomes an All-Star if Drury never turns down the stereo in the locker room and makes him question the status quo? Do you think Briere becomes a Superstar if he hadn't picked Drury's brain and "imitated his calm during tight moments". This is not luck people. As the title of the article makes very clear, Drury is and always has been a Winner. So why didn't everybody in the NHL have the same foresight as Darcy Reiger to trade for him knowing he had a young team that need guidance? Steve Reinprecht and Rhett Warrener?!? No offense to Rhett (whom I have a great deal of respect for) but how could 29 other GMs not have come up with something more for THE Captain??
It is along these same lines and for these same reasons that I am in the sign Drury over Briere camp if one of them must go this off-season. I think Drury's on-the-ice skills are only about 75% of the reason you re-sign him if you're the Sabres. The other 25% off the ice stuff is really just priceless and probably even more important. Briere is great too, but, in the end, replaceable. I don't think you can replace Drury's leadership. Its a no-brainer for me.
Very happy to see Mair stay active for the playoffs (at least for the time being). I think it would have been a slap in the face to sit him in favor of one of the kids. If he doesn't bring it in the first couple of games, he can have a seat. But his hard work throughout the regular season earns him a spot on the playoff active roster as far as I'm concerned. Fo-sho. Any Paille-fans disagree?