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by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres

* I’m sure many of you caught or have heard about the Flyers not advancing the puck into the Tampa Bay 1-3-1 trap in their most recent match up.  It was comical in a way, as the Flyers were basically saying, “your style of play stinks, and you either change or we’re taking our ball and going home.” The trap is bad for entertainment, but it is a proven method of winning.  Guy Boucher is an impressive coach in Tampa Bay and it has to be very difficult to continually have Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steve Stamkos buy in to playing that style.  It will be interesting to see if more teams try to employ the “Delay Play” that Philly tried against the Lightning (Tampa Bay won the game by the way, 2-1 in OT).

* What a night at First Niagara Center for the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame inductions on Tuesday!  Dale Hawerchuk and Rick Jeanneret were enshrined as the newest members, and well deserved by both.  Hawerchuk was already a Hockey Hall of Famer, with the biggest chunk being his years in Winnipeg.  But his five years in Buffalo were pretty amazing, amassing 385 points during that time.  The team that stands out the most has to be the 92-93 version of the Sabres.  Look at the top scorers from that year.
  • Pat LaFontaine, 148 points (53+95)
  • Alex Mogilny, 127 points (76+51)
  • Dale Hawerchuk, 96 points (16+80)
  • Dave Andreychuk, 61 points (29+32)
Could you imagine having four players of that caliber on a roster today?  That’s the year Brad May eliminated the Bruins (finally) with the “May Day” goal, but the Sabres were then swept by the Canadiens.  Every game in that series ended in a 4-3 score, the final three all decided in overtime.  Think about that for a minute, four one-goal games with three ending in OT.  Dale Hawerchuk mentioned if they had been healthy, who knows.  Montreal went on to win the cup that year.  I mention only to help some of you remember, and others to realize how great that team was and what a big part of it #10 was. 

* After greatness on the ice was recognized, greatness above the ice was given and overdue ovation.  Rick Jeanneret finally let the committee honor him after years of asking.  It was awesome to see his family, 91 year old mom front and center, celebrating one of the greatest careers in sports broadcasting history.  As he does during games, he found the perfect words to fit the moment during his speech at center ice.  He also had the right thing to say when he made it to the booth following the start of the game.  You see, I had to start the game for him until he made it to the booth from center ice (a greater challenge that night due to an elevator malfunction).  Filling in for Rick is challenging enough, but starting the game for the legend on his Hall of Fame night!  I can honestly say I was nervous.  The game started and RJ was there a few minutes in.  I motioned for him to take the headset as Harry Neale was describing a replay.  RJ waved me on to continue until the first commercial break as planned.  So there I am, in his chair, calling his game as the Jets pipe in two quick goals.  I was still nervous, and I’m not afraid to admit that.  We hit the commercial break, I stand up and hand the headset to him and he says “Are you kidding, I don’t want to do this game!” with a big grin and laugh.  Again - perfect words to describe the moment. He’s one of a kind, a style all to his own, one that cannot and will never be duplicated. 

* What’s wrong with Ryan Miller?  That’s the question I get asked all the time.  He’s human, and he’ll get it fixed.

* Congratulations to the Sabres Alumni for partnering with ECMC and First Niagara to create the bus with two mammography machines to help get women in rural and inner city areas get screened.  This group continues to make a tremendous impact in our community, as the announcement last week followed up this past summer’s opening of Miracle Field on Grand Island. 

* If you know a military veteran and haven’t spoken to him/her in awhile, now is a great time to reconnect and say thanks. 
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