Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz.com
--President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, upon signing the Cullen-Harrison Act which ended Prohibition exclaimed, "I think this would be a good time for a beer," and for Sabres fans as well. As long as we're not caught up in the draft lottery and/or the millions of what-if's that have penetrated deep into the Buffalo sports consciousness, there's plenty to raise a glass to.
It's April 7th and there are two games remaining on the Sabres schedule--two very winnable games on the schedule that could very well net the team 83 points on the season. For those in the front office and behind the bench and on the ice, it's about as rewarding a season as one could get outside of making the playoffs. Indubitably, a toast with Southern Tier's One Buffalo is in order.
In doing so let's also toast to:
--Jack Eichel for his empty net goal vs. the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. "Jack Flash" jumped on a turnover in the New Jersey zone and muscled his way to the front of the net as five Devils were around him before he punched it in from the low slot. Prior to that the teams sludged through 59:13 of "Tar Pit" hockey in honor of Eichel saving us from a full-blown Morrissey-laced doom fest, we raise glass of Green Flash Palate Wrecker.
--Sabres GM Tim Murray who's vision is unrankled despite incessant social media banter dissecting everything the organization does. Not everybody needs to fix everything, but overanalyzing does give the media talking points which in turn gets the fan base involved. And to honor Murray's notion that we need to focus upon things we can control, the next time you're pounding down some wings at your favorite watering hole with your significant other, hoist a good ol' Genny to Murray and to an era prior to social media where the only people who had to be heard all the time were members of the mainstream media.
--the eye test. The Sabres are a much better club than last season, which isn't saying too much, but a potential 50% year-over-year points increase is nothing to sneeze at. With only 54 team points and a minus-116 goal differential, last year's team made many fans want to rip their eyes out. Lest we forget, however, there were players on the ice who were trying their damndest night-in, night-out in the face of gale-force winds. This is to those who played the prior two seasons, knowing that the ship was going down. In honor of them let's solemnly raise a glass of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald.
--John Scott who's honest approach to the game and his career made a mockery of the NHL suits during All-Star weekend. Here's a Sierra Nevada Torpedo raised in your honor. It took a litany of stupid comments from the league and the committed backing off fellow NHL'ers players to humanize a situation lost in grandiose proclamations of integrity. Not only did Scott make his daughters and family proud, he also earned the respect of the hockey community. The storied Montreal Canadiens, one of the greatest franchises in all sports, started Scott in the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge for one game before he was allowed to return home to be with his wife and four daughters, two of which were twins born on February 5, 2016, not long after his NHL All-Star MVP award. It's a story even Morrissey could take to heart.
--Former Sabres Chris "Captain Clutch" Drury who joined Team USA's managerial group for the upcoming World Championships. Yeah, his departure left much to be desired, but who will ever forget that game-tying goal with 7.8 seconds left. Grab yourself a Boulevard Mojo Risin' as you kick back and relive that moment through this YouTube video from mikebordon:
--the quest for Steven Stamkos. The Sabres are said to be hot and heavy for the Tampa center, and what team in their right mind wouldn't be as it's not everyday that a bonafide superstar decides to hit the market via free agency. Stamkos is an iconic figure in Tampa playing for a team who's Stanley Cup window is right now. No matter where he signs, his salary will be seven digits, but he can make that go the farthest by living in a state like Florida that doesn't have a state income tax. With fond memories of good times in Ybor City, hoist a Tampa Brewing Company Old Elephant Foot IPA in honor of the Sabres unabashed quest for the best talent available and to TBC's logo, Beer is your friend.