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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
Mike Grier (Getty Images)
Some things you just can’t make up.

What awaited us as we pulled up to the hotel in San Jose was definitely one of those things.

Lindy Ruff was the first to see it, as he began to laugh sitting at the front of the bus. Gradually, the rest of the team began to see what caused his reaction.

A horse. Well… a man dressed like a horse, was exiting the hotel lobby.

Soon, a zebra followed the horse. Rather, a woman dressed as a zebra.

As we peered in we could see a few dozen of the creatures walking around the main floor of the hotel – including a polar bear wearing a John Vanbiesbrouck jersey.

Apparently we stumbled onto a mascot convention that was being held at the hotel. The technical term, we soon found, was a “furry” convention.

To say it was interesting was an understatement as the players passed a raptor, a mouse and what have been the closest thing I’ve seen to a chupacabra on the way to their rooms. Those that weren’t in full garb simply wore tails.

The experience was short lived as the players dropped off their luggage and headed back to the bus for practice at the HP Pavilion – just in time to hold the door open for a duck.

The lines at practice were the same, including Tim Kennedy playing on the fourth line with Adam Mair, Pat Kaleta and Matt Ellis.

Much of the attention, however, went to former Sharks Craig Rivet and Mike Grier.

Rivet played one season with San Jose before being traded to Buffalo during the offseason. Grier, however, spent three years with the squad before returning to the Sabres as a free agent this summer.

“It’s not a game I’m overly looking forward to,” Grier said of playing against his former teammates. “I’m excited to see a lot of the guys… but as for the game I’m not going to enjoy going against them. It’s tough… It’s not an easy thing to do.”

For Grier’s full interview click here.
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