Buffalo Sabres Fans: The Final Piece Of The Rebuild


The Sabres’ rebuild is nearly complete, but there is one important change left to be made:  Buffalo Sabres Fans need to rebuild.

Our team has been bad for a while.  A very long while.  Some nights it’s hard to remember a time when there was not only hope for a postseason, but expectation.  Over the last few years, I’ve heard a lot of the following:

“That game was terrible, I can’t wait until so-and-so gets called up.”


“At least the (trade deadline)(NHL draft)(free agency) is almost here.  Now we can start fixing our roster.”


“We got crushed, but did you see that teenager with the puck tonight?  That kid is going to be dangerous someday.”


If there is any word more commonly uttered by Buffalo Sabres Fans, it’s “someday.”  We are going to win the Cup…someday.  We are going to draft the next Gretzky…someday.  We are going to make the trade of the year…someday.

Not so long ago, Buffalo was known as a franchise without superstars that played great hockey because the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.  Our fourth-liners were just as likely to score a goal as our second-liners and unyielding work ethic was ubiquitous all down the bench.  It was a team that gave you something to cheer about even when the scoreboard wasn’t so easy on the eyes.

More from Sabres News

The first game I ever saw live was incredible.  It was an exciting game and the fans were nearly as inspiring as the players.  The cheers were deafening, the taunts made to opposing players were clever, the morale from seat to seat was infectious.

I even remember one fan trying to start at “let’s go Sabres” chant and he was shouted down by a neighboring section who vehemently corrected him…

“Hey!  It’s ‘let’s go BUFF-A-LO,’ you #%&^@!”

No matter where the Sabres finished in the standings, it was a good time to be a fan.  But those days have been gone for a while, and recent years of bottom-rung standings has soured the opinions of a large population of Buffalo Sabres Fans.

Now, allow me to share a tangential story about another NHL team that has been suffering right along with Buffalo – the Edmonton Oilers.

On January 27th, 2009, Buffalo played a rare game against Edmonton and just ten seconds into the game, Drew Stafford found the back of the Oilers’ net.  By the end of the period, Buffalo was up 3-0 and had chased former Sabre Dwayne Roloson back to the bench.

If Edmonton expected that the goalie change would spark their forwards and send a message to their defense, they were sorely mistaken.

In the third period, the Buffalo goals kept coming and the Edmonton play got painful to watch.  The fans responded.  It was quiet at first but the chant spread so quickly and loudly through the arena that even the commentators could no longer ignore it as it became nearly as clear as the play-by-play.

The fans shouted, “we want ten!  We want ten!  WE WANT TEN!”  When the eighth, ninth, and tenth Sabres’ goals were scored, fans cheered so loudly, you could have mistaken it for a playoff game…in Buffalo.  Oh, and in case you don’t remember this game, there’s one very important point to make….

The game was being played IN Edmonton.

That’s right.  The Oilers’ “faithful” were rooting for their team to fail.  I’d never before seen fans turn on their own in such an ugly way and all I could think was, “that would never happen in Buffalo.”

But the last few years have showed me that I was wrong.

Buffalo would go on a power play and not manage a single shot on net, and the boos would come.  They would get heavily outscored by a team that should have been a pushover, and the boos would come.  The team would get physically man-handled and back down at every turn, refusing to do more than halfheartedly shove an opponent who injured one of their own with a cheap shot, and the boos would come.

On April 7th, 2013, the Sabres faced the Devils and won 3 – 2 via shootout, giving them a three-game winning streak.  Goals were scored by the unlikely pair of Patrick Kaleta and Steve Ott, and the shootout winner belonged to Nathan Gerbe.

But still, the boos descended so loudly and so often  that, during a post-game interview, Steve Ott called out the entire fan base, referring to the booing as “ridiculous,” told reporters that fans were “basically mocking us,” and poignantly reminded us all that “negativity breeds negativity.”

Buffalo Sabres Fans need to let go of the past.
Buffalo Sabres Fans need to stop dreaming about the future.

Come October, we need to cheer on Evander Kane like he’s never been cheered before.  No matter what his story was in Winnipeg, it’s irrelevant.  Because he’s a Sabre.

We need to cheer on Cody Hodgson and support him as he tries to wipe away the memory of last season and get back to being a top-six asset.  Because he’s a Sabre.

Photo Courtesy of Nathan Fleming

We need to remember that even our best players go through scoring droughts.  On the nights when Ennis, Girgensons, Moulson or Gionta struggle the most, that’s when we cheer them the hardest.  Because they are Sabres.

Whoever is standing alongside newly-appointed Head Coach Dan Bylsma come preseason, we cheer them all.  And if further roster shake-ups bring in new faces during the off-season, we cheer them all.  Every rookie and veteran, every draftee and trade acquisition and call-up, we cheer them all. Because they are Sabres.

Buffalo Sabres Fans, the road to the Stanley cup begins here and now, and it needs to be a noisy one.  As loudly as we’ve complained and swore and kicked things during the last few years, that’s how loudly we need to show our Sabre pride this fall.

2016 may not be a playoff year, but we have to expect it to be a season that shows Buffalo on the rise.  The tank has been dismantled and the rebuild wounds are already starting to heal.

When the Sabres step out on the ice for the first time next season, they need to do so amidst tumultuous applause and the deafening roar of “Let’s go Buff-a-lo!

It’s our duty as fans.  It’s the role we play.  It’s how we help our team win.

Because WE are Sabres.

Next: Buffalo Sabres Fans React To Dan Bylsma Hiring

More from Sabre Noise