Tuesday, August 17, 2010

danny boy, we need ya

5'9" 175 lb danny gare vs. 6'3" 215 lb clark gillies

the past few seasons have seen a number of lingering negatives concerning the buffalo sabres in general and the top-six in particluar:

--they’re small (but skilled)
--they lack grit and heart
--they don’t defend their teammates.
--they wilt under pressure.
basically, boys amongst men.

in 1974 the buffalo sabres drafted a small winger with a wicked wrist-shot who lit up the wchl to the tune of 68 goals and 128 pts in 65 games for the calgary centennials...

danny gare was selected in the second round, #29 overall, in the 1974 amateur draft, hit the ground running on his first shift (1st goal on his first shot 18 sec. into his first shift,) and proceeded to score 31 goals in the ‘74/5 regular season as well as seven in the playoffs...interesting to note that the 5’9, 175-pounder was in six fights that season plus one in the playoffs...

the following season, he lead the team in goals with 50 (nudging out rick martin [49] by recording a hat-trick in the final game) and also lead the team in pim with 129...included in those pims were nine fighting majors...that season he squared off against the likes of noted “broadstreet bully," dave “the hammer” schultz, leafs enforcer “tiger” williams and st louis blues tough-guy steve durbano, who lead the league in pim that season.

a small, but highly-skilled sniper with a the heart of a lion, gare not only could score, but he was fearless in defense of himself, his teammates, and his crest...qualities that would define him throughout his career and make him one of the most beloved sabres of all time.

danny boy, we need ya...not so much for the present core, who have shown that they play small in big games, can’t find their heart, turn their backs on their teammates and wilt at the first sign adversity, but for the future core...skilled-guys like tyler ennis and nathan gerbe who have already found themselves tangling with chris pronger and rick nash, respectively...even though the nhl has changed over the years, the qualities that earned gare respect throughout the league, have not...

there's a new generation of players that are coming up the ranks who have been coached by a warhorse in his own right, kevin dineen...players like ennis and gerbe have yet to be tainted by "the core" and seem to have gare-like qualities...

danny gare needs to be a part of the sabres organization...some have called for him to return to the broadcasting booth...and that would be a good thing...some may wish he took a consulting position...that's even better...hell, he was so good on the pp that he pushed rene robert to the point...and god knows the pp could use some extra attention...but...

as a long-time sabres fan, i would love to see either ennis or gerbe coming off the ice after a goal or five-minute stint in the box, to a smile from associate coach danny gare...a smile that says he's passed on what was taught to him by his father, “you’re small, you have to be strong. You’ve got to learn how to fight, it’s a big man’s game and it’s a tough game.”