Paul Gaustad recalls the electricity surrounding the Buffalo Sabres during the 2006 playoffs.
He wants the team to remember that too.
While talking to minority owner Larry Quinn earlier this season, Gaustad voiced his concern that some of the younger players - who were not on the roster for that playoff push - couldn’t grasp the depth of the community’s relationship with the team. Or what the post-lockout trip to the Eastern Conference Final meant to the city of Buffalo.
The result has culminated into one of the Sabres’ most distinct visual projects - set to debut at HSBC Arena tonight - in the form of a new video open that will play prior to the start of each home game.
“I think everyone always talks about how great the ‘Better Days’ open
was,” said Drew Boeing, the Sabres Feature Editor. “Not just players, but I think fans are grasping for that again. It’s still fresh in their minds.”
The open follows a 9-year-old Sabres fan as he prepares to play pond hockey, traveling through the streets of Buffalo and arriving at HSBC Arena for a game.
There were four locations for the shoots including the Bethlehem Park neighborhood, Erie Basin Marina as well as the home of Adam Batz who is featured throughout the video.
“But the best shoot was probably the one that we did at the arena,” said Mark Blaszak, the Sabres Chief Videographer. “We had a camera on him throughout the duration of the game so all the reactions are natural.”
Batz attended the Sabres last match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 4
that included a hat trick from Thomas Vanek
and a 5-0 victory for Buffalo.
“Fortunately it worked out in that aspect,” Blaszak laughed. “Nothing was staged. It was the actual sights and sounds that you would experience at the arena.”
The video is also a linear sequence; something that the broadcast department has not done before in an open.
“I think it’s one of the first times that we’ve ever had a focused storyline, and a main character that was carried all the way through the piece,” Boeing said. “We typically do a montage video, where it’s a collection of shots. In the end they work together but there is no real story line. This one was specifically written to have one.”
The video can be watched on Sabres TV by clicking the link below.
“It’s a departure from anything we’ve done before,” Boeing said. “I like the fact that we’re trying something and that we were given the opportunity to do that. We are pushing what people think we are capable of doing, but more than that we are entertaining people in a different way. Hopefully the fans will see that and make the connection to what Paul [Gaustad] was referring to.”