Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo Sabres.png
Conference Eastern
Division Northeast
Founded 1970
History Buffalo Sabres
1970 - present
Arena KeyBank Center
City Buffalo, New York
Team Colors Dark blue, Gold, Silver, White                    
Media MSG Network
WGR (550 AM)
Owner(s) Flag of the United States Terry Pegula
General Manager Flag of Canada Jason Botterill
Head Coach Flag of Germany/Flag of Canada Ralph Krueger
Captain Flag of the United States Jack Eichel
Minor League affiliates Rochester Americans (AHL)
Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)
Stanley Cups 0
Presidents' Trophies 1 (2006-07)
Conferences 3 (1974–75, 1979–80, 1998–99)
Divisions 6 1974–75, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1996–97, 2006–07, 2009-10)
Official Website sabres.nhl.com
Buffalo Sabres Home Uniform.gif Buffalo Sabres Road Uniform.gif
Home ice
Buffalo Sabres ice rink logo.png

The Buffalo Sabres are a professional ice hockey team based in Buffalo, New York. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).

History[edit | edit source]

The Sabres opening faceoff, between Floyd Smith and Jean Beliveau, on October 15, 1970.

Founding[edit | edit source]

The Sabres, along with the Vancouver Canucks, joined the NHL in the 1970–71 season. Their first owners were Seymour Knox III and Northrup Knox, scions of a family long prominent in Western New York. Buffalo had long been a hotbed for hockey. The Buffalo Bisons had been one of the pillars of the American Hockey League (AHL), winning the Calder Cup in their final season.

Wanting a different name other than "bison" that was so common among Buffalo sports teams, the Knoxes immediately commissioned a name-the-team contest. The winning choice, "Sabres," was chosen because Seymour Knox felt a sabre was a weapon carried by a leader. He also noted that a sabre is swift and strong on offense as well as defense. The Knoxes had tried twice before to get an NHL team, first when the NHL expanded in 1967, and then unsuccessfully attempting to buy the Oakland Seals with the intent of moving them to Buffalo. At the time of their creation, the Sabres exercised their option to create their own AHL farm team, the Cincinnati Swords.

Buffalo's first logo, used from 1970–96. As of 2006 it is being used as an alternate logo.

French Connection[edit | edit source]

The Sabres, playing their first of many seasons at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, got off to a good start before they even hit the ice when they, despite being disputed by the Vancouver Canucks, and by spinning a roulette wheel, won the NHL draft lottery, and picked future Hockey Hall of Fame center Gilbert Perreault first overall in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft. Perreault was available to the Sabres, as this was the first year that the Montreal Canadiens did not have a priority right to draft Québécois junior players. Perreault scored 38 goals in his rookie season of 1970–71, at the time a record for most goals scored by a rookie in the NHL, and was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as Rookie of the Year. Despite Perreault's star play, the Sabres did not make the playoffs.

In the team's second season, 1971–72, rookie Rick Martin, drafted fifth overall by Buffalo in 1971, and Rene Robert, acquired in a late-season trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins, joined Perreault and would become one of the league's top forward lines in the 1970s. Martin broke Perreault's record at once with 44 rookie goals. They were nicknamed "The French Connection" after the movie of the same name and in homage to their French-Canadian roots. The Sabres made the playoffs for the first time in 1972–73, just the team's third year in the league, but lost in the quarterfinals in six games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens. Game 6 at the Aud ended with the fans serenading their team in a chant of "Thank you Sabres! Thank you Sabres!", a moment many consider to be the greatest in team history.

Fog and the bat[edit | edit source]

After a subpar year in 1974 that saw them miss the playoffs, the Sabres finished in a tie for the best record in the NHL in the 1974–75 regular season. Buffalo would advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in team history to play against the rough Philadelphia Flyers (who had been recently nicknamed the "Broad Street Bullies"), a series which included the legendary Fog Game (game three of the series). Due to unusual heat in Buffalo in May 1975, portions of the game were played in heavy fog. Players, officials, and the puck were invisible to many spectators. During a face-off and through the fog, Sabres center Jim Lorentz spotted a bat flying across the rink, raised his stick, and killed it. Many superstitious Buffalo fans considered this to be an "Evil Omen," pertaining to the result of the series. It was the only time that any player killed an animal during an NHL game. The Sabres won that game thanks to Rene Robert's goal in overtime. However, Philadelphia would wind up taking the Cup Final to six games, winning the series 4 games to 2.

The French Connection, joined by 50–goal scorer Danny Gare, continued to score prolifically for the Sabres in 1975–76, but the team lost in the quarterfinals to the New York Islanders. The Sabres continued to coast through the late 1970s behind the French Connection of Perreault, Martin, Robert and Gare, but they were unable to return to the Final despite a regular season Conference championship in 1980 and being the first team to beat the Soviet Olympic team when they toured the United States.

Leaving the Aud[edit | edit source]

The 1995–96 season was the first season under coach Ted Nolan and the last for the Sabres at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, or the Aud. Nolan brought an exciting brand of hockey to Buffalo. During his coaching tenure, his Sabres were referred to as the "hardest-working team in hockey". Even though the Sabres failed to have success in the win column and played before an average of only a little over 13,000 fans, fourth-fewest in the history of the team at the Aud, the fans had a special love affair with the team. Brad May, Rob Ray and Matthew Barnaby became the 1990s version of the characters from the movie Slap Shot, "The Hanson Brothers." This season also featured the debut of "walk-on" veteran player Randy Burridge. After attending training camp on a try-out basis, Burridge earned a spot on the roster. He scored 25 goals that season and was second in team scoring to Pat LaFontaine. Burridge also earned the Tim Horton Award for being the unsung hero and was voted team Most Valuable Player.

1996–97—2005–06: Black and red era[edit | edit source]

New arena and new attitude[edit | edit source]

Buffalo's second logo, used from 1997 until 2006.

Nolan and the Sabres rebounded in 96–97, their first at Marine Midland Arena, by winning the Northeast Division (their first division title in sixteen years), with Nolan winning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach, Dominik Hasek winning both the Hart and Vezina Trophies (the first goaltender to do so since Montreal's Jacques Plante in 1962), Michael Peca taking home the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL, and general manager John Muckler honored as Executive of the Year.

However, the regular season success was all overshadowed by what had taken place during the playoffs. Tensions between Nolan and Hasek had been high for most of the season, however, after being scored upon in game three of the first-round against the Ottawa Senators, Hasek left the game, forcing backup Steve Shields to step in. Hasek claimed he felt his knee pop, and the team doctor pronounced him day-to-day. Buffalo News columnist Jim Kelley wrote a column that night for the next day's newspaper that detailed the day's events, which irked Hasek. After the Senators won game five, Hasek came out of the Sabres' training room and physically attacked Kelley, tearing his shirt. Despite issuing an apology, things went downhill afterwards. Shields starred as the Sabres rallied to win the series against Ottawa. But before the next series against the Philadelphia Flyers, the NHL announced that Hasek had been suspended for three games — with the Sabres informing the league that Hasek was healthy (Hasek most likely would not have been suspended had he not been cleared to play). Set to return in game four with the team down by three games in the series, Hasek told the Sabres' coaching staff he felt a twinge in his knee and left the ice after the pregame skate. Shields turned in another season-saving performance as Buffalo staved off the almost inevitable sweeping elimination with a win. Again before the fifth game, Hasek declared himself unfit to play and Buffalo lost 6–3, losing the series in five games.

New owners[edit | edit source]

Despite the infighting, the season was a fitting tribute to Seymour Knox, who died on May 22, 1996. During the season, his brother Northrop sold the team to Adelphia Communications.

Timothy Rigas, son of Adelphia founder John Rigas, took over as team president. His first act was to fire general manager John Muckler, who had a noted feud with Nolan. All-Star goaltender Hasek, who supported Muckler, openly told reporters at the NHL Awards Ceremony that he did not respect Nolan, placing new GM Darcy Regier in a tough position. He offered Nolan just a one-year contract for a reported $500,000. Nolan refused on the grounds that his previous contract was for two years, before he was Coach of the Year. Regier then pulled the contract off the table and didn't offer another one, ending Nolan's tenure as Sabres coach. Nolan was offered several jobs from the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders, which he turned down, and was out of the NHL until June 2006 when he was named coach of the Islanders. After Nolan, former Sabres captain Lindy Ruff, Buffalo's current bench boss, was hired as head coach on July 21, 1997, agreeing to a three-year deal.

Seemingly in the blink of an eye, the Sabres organization, after having their most successful season in nearly two decades, had now rid itself of both the reigning NHL Executive (Muckler) and Coach of the Year (Nolan).

Behind Hasek, left-winger Miroslav Satan (who led the team in scoring), right-winger Donald Audette, center Michael Peca, and several role-playing journeymen including pest Matthew Barnaby, the Sabres reached the Conference Final in 1998, but lost to the Washington Capitals in six games.

"No Goal!"[edit | edit source]

In 1999, Miroslav Satan scored 40 goals. The Sabres would add centers Stu Barnes from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Joe Juneau from the Capitals. Michal Grosek had the best season of his career, and the team finally returned to the Stanley Cup Finals, this time against the Dallas Stars.

In the sixth game, Dallas Stars winger Brett Hull's triple-overtime goal — as Hull's skate was clearly visibly in Hasek's crease — ended the series, and the Stars were awarded the Cup. In 1999, it was illegal to score a goal if an offensive player's skate entered the crease before the puck did. At the time, even The Dallas Morning News| hockey writer Keith Gave (a lifelong Red Wings fan who had just been employed by Dallas) questioned the legality of the goal. NHL officials, however, maintained that Hull's two shots in the goal mouth constituted a single possession of the puck since the puck deflected off Hasek, and their ruling stood, citing that they "were going to change the rule the following year anyway." It is widely speculated that, by the time the Sabres mentioned the foul, the red carpet had already been unrolled at center ice, and the officials refused to acknowledge the non-call. ESPN's "Page2" staff has ranked the call as the fifth worst officiating call in sports history.[1] Conversely, Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun wrote "There should have been no controversy whatsoever. When Hull first kicked the rebound on to his stick, he had neither foot in the crease. At the instant he kicked the puck, he became in control of it. It was only in the follow-through of that kick that his left foot moved into the crease."[2] Buffalo sports fans, who have suffered through some of the biggest misfortunes in sports history (such as "Wide Right" and "Music City Miracle"), refer to the game as "No Goal," a phrase still used in western New York to this day. Over the years, the only successful franchise is the National Lacrosse League's Buffalo Bandits who have won four Champions Cups. The rule was changed for the following season, allowing players to be inside the goaltender's crease as long as they do not interfere with the goalie.

The next year was a disappointing season. The team struggled in the regular season, due to injuries to Hasek as well as other tired and discouraged players. Doug Gilmour was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline and sparked the Sabres to a playoff berth. However, Gilmour was stricken by stomach flu during the post-season and even the return of Hasek could not prevent their first-round playoff series loss to the Flyers. Like the previous season, there would be another officiating controversy. In game two high-flying Flyers' winger John LeClair put the puck in the net through a hole in the mesh. While replays appeared to showed the puck going in through the side of the net, the goal was allowed to stand. The Flyers would win the game 2–1 and go on to win the series 4–1.

Captain Michael Peca sat out 2000–01 due to a contract dispute, and eventually was traded to the Islanders in June 2001 for Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt. Even so, the Sabres still defeated the high-seeded Flyers in six games in the first round of the playoffs (with a resounding 8–0 victory in the series-winning game). In the second round, they faced the underdog Penguins led by rejuvenated superstar Mario Lemieux and captain Jaromir Jagr, who had won his 5th Art Ross Trophy that season, losing on a seventh-game overtime goal scored by defenseman Darius Kasparaitis.

Third jersey[edit | edit source]

Buffalo's alternate logo (2000–06), two sabres crossing each other on top of a circle.

The first third Jersey of the Buffalo Sabres was created in 2000. The primary color was Sabre red, with black and gray stripes on the sleeves. It also featured the word "Buffalo" written on a black stripe outlined by gray near the waist. The logo was a black circle with two sabres crossing each other. The third jersey ran from 2000–2006 when the red jersey was retired. With the return to blue and gold came the return of the original Sabres Jersey which was worn from 1970–96. The Sabres in 2006 made the original blue jersey their new third jersey.

Missing the playoffs[edit | edit source]

After lengthy, and failed, negotiations with their star goaltender, the Sabres traded Hasek to the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 2001. Without Hasek and Peca, the Sabres missed the 2002 playoffs.

In the summer of 2002, John Rigas and his sons were arrested for bank, wire, and securities fraud for embezzling more than $2 billion from Adelphia (Rigas eventually was convicted and presently is appealing a sentence of 15 years in prison). The league took control of the team, though the Rigas family remained owners on paper. The affair came as something of an embarrassment to the NHL. Only five years earlier, it had tightened its standards for vetting prospective owners after seeing John Spano buy the New York Islanders only to discover he'd grossly inflated his net worth and committed massive bank and wire fraud.

For a while, there were no interested buyers. Attendance sagged, and it looked like the Sabres would either move or fold. The leading candidate was Mark Hamister, a local businessman who owned the Arena Football League's Buffalo Destroyers. Hamister was the personal choice of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. However, over time it became obvious that Hamister's financial assets were highly suspect and that his bid was heavily dependent upon government financing. It also became known that Hamister had won an expansion af2 team in Dayton, Ohio and got numerous concessions from local government, but moved them to Cincinnati before they had ever played their first game in Dayton. He was also considering moving the Destroyers (and as it turned out, did — to Columbus, Ohio). Under pressure from fans concerned that Hamister might move the Sabres, state officials scuttled a critical incentive package, effectively killing his bid.

Another group who showed interest in the Sabres was headed by Sherry Bassin, co-owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters, and included Alain Maislin, a Montreal trucking magnate, and Frank DuRoss, owner of the Rochester Raging Rhinos USL soccer team. Former Sabres coach Ted Nolan was a friend of Bassin, and there was speculation that he would be rehired as Sabres coach if Bassin assumed ownership. However, this partnership dissolved without ever making a formal offer to the NHL.

2002–03 and new ownership[edit | edit source]

With the season beginning under league control, general manager Darcy Regier would make minimal moves that could bolster the last placed Sabres. However, with the consultations of impending new ownership, the team began their rebuilding process around the trade deadline of March 10, 2003 by clearing out veteran players. The first to go was long-time winger Rob Ray who was sent to Ottawa so he had a chance to win the Stanley Cup before retirement at season's end. The team then sent center and team captain Stu Barnes to the Dallas Stars for young winger Michael Ryan and a draft pick. The third deal that was completed at that time sent center Chris Gratton to the Phoenix Coyotes with a draft pick for a younger center, Daniel Briere and a draft pick. The trade of Barnes was widely believed to be a show of gratitude, to get him to a team that was a playoff contender. However, the move was a surprise to Barnes, who had become a fan favorite with the help of Sabres' broadcaster Rick Jeanneret's calls of "Stuuuuuuuuuu Barnes...top shelf where momma hides the cookies!", and variations of that call after Barnes would score for the Sabres. Barnes stated that he had wanted to stay in Buffalo and broke down in tears in front of the assembled media after receiving word of his trade.

After the two year period of uncertainty that left the Sabres franchise in limbo, the team was sold to Rochester, New York billionaire and former New York gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, whose bid included no government funding. Golisano was introduced as team owner on March 19, 2003. Golisano immediately drew the attention of fans with lowered ticket prices.

2003–04[edit | edit source]

The team emerged from its struggles, and the Sabres narrowly missed the playoffs, which saw the debuts and/or development of prominent young players such as Daniel Briere. One memorable moment in 2003–04 was on New Year's Eve 2003, when Maxim Afinogenov and Miroslav Satan both scored hat tricks against the Washington Capitals at home. The Sabres won a sound 7–1.

2004–05[edit | edit source]

The NHL canceled the 2004–05 NHL season due to a labor dispute; however, the league and the NHL Players Association were able to devise a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in the summer of 2005, thus enabling NHL hockey to return for the 2005–06 season.

On January 19, 2005, the Sabres lost their main cable television broadcaster, as the Empire Sports Network (which had been on the air from 1991 to 2005) ceased operations as a cost cutting move during the Adelphia scandal and reorganization (Empire, like the Sabres, had been owned by Adelphia). Adelphia sold their rights to Sabres telecasts to accommodate that move. For the 2005–06 campaign, the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), a New York City-based channel which mostly broadcasts New York Rangers games, took the rights to broadcast Sabres games to television viewers in western New York. The agreement has since been re-upped through 2016.

2005–06[edit | edit source]

In 2005–06, the Sabres raced to a hot start and stayed near the top of the standings all season long, finishing with their best season in over twenty years. On April 3, they clinched their first Eastern Conference playoff spot since the 2000–01 season. The team finished the regular season with 53 wins, surpassing the 50–win mark for the first time in franchise history. They also finished with 110 points, their first 100–point season in 23 years and tied the 1979–80 club for the second-best point total in franchise history. The Sabres tied the Ottawa Senators and Carolina Hurricanes for the most wins in the Eastern Conference. They finished with the fifth-best record in the league, behind Detroit, Ottawa, Dallas and Carolina. However, the Sabres were seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference playoffs--behind Ottawa, Carolina and the New Jersey Devils--as they dropped their division to the Senators. The Sabres also finished with 25 road wins, another franchise record.

Buffalo defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the first-round of the 2006 Playoffs in six games. The Sabres on two occasions, showing their offensive prowess, scored seven or more goals in the series. In the second round of the playoffs, the Sabres defeated the top-seeded Sens in five games. Three of the victories came in overtime, including the series-clinching game five, which was won on a Short handed goal by Jason Pominville[1]Video] to send Buffalo to the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the first time in NHL history that a series had been decided on a short-handed goal.

Despite being without some or all of their four top defensemen (Teppo Numminen, Dmitri Kalinin and Henrik Tallinder), and their top power play scorer, Tim Connolly, for much of the series, the Sabres fought back from a three-games-to-two deficit to force a seventh game by way of a 2–1 OT win in game six. In the deciding game, the Sabres were without their number one shot blocker (Jay McKee).After Jochen Hecht scored from behind the net with 4 seconds left in the 2nd period, They led the Hurricanes 2–1 going into the final period. But blew the lead early in the third and gave up two more late goals for a 4–2 final score. The game-winning goal was scored on the power play by Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour after Brian Campbell was called for a delay of game penalty.Injuries took their tool on the sabres, as their 4 regular defensman were out with injuries. The 'Canes went on to defeat the Edmonton Oilers in seven games, winning the Stanley Cup. The Sabres finished the playoffs with the most last-minute goals in the 2006 playoffs.

The Sabres' better-than-expected season was recognized on June 22, 2006 at the NHL Awards Ceremony, when Lindy Ruff edged Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette 155 votes to 154 to win the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year. It was the closest vote in the award's history. After Nolan, Ruff is the second Sabres coach to win the award.

2006–07[edit | edit source]

On September 16, the Sabres unveiled new home and away jerseys featuring midnight blue, maize (gold), silver, and white colors, along with third jerseys featuring the Sabres original blue jersey at an open practice at HSBC Arena. The new logo, a stylized bison, has been compared to Donald Trump's hair, Pikachu, a hamster or more commonly a banana slug, with some in the area even giving it the name "Sluggalo" or "Buffaslug". An online petition against the new logo had eclipsed the 30,000 signature mark by that point, indicating that growing numbers of Sabres fans hadn't accepted the logo. Despite that, the team's jersey featuring the new logo topped sales of NHL merchandise. Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn (hockey), when asked about the reaction of the fans said, "I can make a promise to our fans, if we're in the deciding game of the Stanley Cup, that old blue and gold jersey is going to be worn if we're at home, so we'll have the opportunity to win the Cup with it. And I've also asked the league if we can wear our white vintage and they're looking to see if we can."[3]

The new jerseys also featured numbers on the front of the jersey, which hadn't been seen in the NHL since the 1949–50 NHL season. Dallas, the New York Islanders, San Jose, and Tampa Bay would also add front numbers in the 2007–08 NHL season.

The jersey's unveiling overshadowed the beginning of the team's training camp, opening with the most expensive group of Sabres to date. The team's payroll was over the league salary cap of $44 million US. Even at that price tag they were forced to let some key figures (Jay McKee, Jean-Pierre Dumont and Mike Grier) from their 2006 playoff run, and move on.

On October 20, 2006, the Sabres defeated the Carolina Hurricanes in a 5–4 win, to set a new franchise record with their 12th consecutive regular-season victory. The previous record was held by the 1974–75 team that won 11 straight games at the end of that season.

The Sabres started 10–0, not only setting a new franchise record for consecutive wins to start a season, but becoming just the second team in NHL history to open a season with a winning streak of ten games. The streak was ended on October 28, 2006, in a 5–4 shoot out loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. The only other team to start a season with as many consecutive victories were the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993–94, who also started 10–0.

On November 5, 2006 the Sabres defeated the New York Rangers in New York to set a new NHL record for consecutive road wins to start a season (eight), which was extended to ten games (tying the team record for consecutive road wins) with a 7–4 win over the 2005–06 Stanley Cup Champion Hurricanes on November 13, 2006. It ended on November 18, 2006 with a 4–1 loss at Ottawa to the Senators.

Three Buffalo Sabres were voted by fans to be starters at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game in Dallas: goalie Ryan Miller, forward Daniel Briere, and defenseman Brian Campbell. Forward Thomas Vanek also participated in the NHL YoungStars Game. Briere won the All-Star MVP Award, tallying 1 goal and 4 assists. Lindy Ruff was the head coach for the Eastern Conference, who lost the game 12–9.

On February 22, 2007, in a 6–5 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators, the team was involved in a brawl after Senators winger Chris Neil hit Sabres captain Chris Drury, who was injured on the play. Some consider that the hit was late and from behind, though neither the referees nor the league penalized Neil. Despite Senator's coach Bryan Murray's insistence that his team was innocent, the melee was actually started with Heatley cross-checking Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta before the puck was dropped. The two had a minor scuffle, and were broken up by the officials. Both combatants remained on the ice. When the puck dropped, the main brawl began. The fight included Adam Mair immediately engaging Jason Spezza, Andrew Peters going after Dany Heatley, and both goalies, Martin Biron and Ray Emery fighting each other. Peters then went after the Senators goalie Emery, while head coach Lindy Ruff argued with Senators coach Bryan Murray through the glass, with former Sabres enforcer Rob Ray's MSG microphone picking up Ruff telling his counterpart "don't go after my fucking captain". Over 100 penalty minutes were distributed and Ruff was fined $10,000 by the league. In an interesting turn of events, Sabres fans offered to raise money to pay Ruff's fine. Ruff thanked the fans for their support, but paid the fine on his own. Drury returned a few games later. The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the game, with Drew Stafford scoring the shootout winner for Buffalo. On a related note, Clarke MacArthur, called up from Rochester due to injury, scored his first NHL goal in this game.

On March 30, 2007, in a 6–4 defeat of the New York Islanders, the team won 50 games for the second time in franchise history. The Sabres scored 5 goals on the special teams, 3 power play goals by Chris Drury, Drew Stafford, and Dainius Zubrus, and 2 short handed goals by Drury and Derek Roy.

On April 3, 2007, in a 4–1 defeat of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Sabres clinched the Northeast Division crown and the best record in the Eastern Conference.

On April 7, 2007, in a 2–0 defeat of the Washington Capitals, the Buffalo Sabres won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in franchise history, giving the team the home ice advantage for their entire run in the 2006–2007 NHL playoffs. They also tied the 1974–75 team's franchise record for points in a season.

In the April 9, 2007 issue of "ESPN the Magazine", the Buffalo Sabres ranked first of 122 major professional sports franchises in North America. Buffalo was cited for its player accessibility, low ticket prices, and exciting brand of hockey.[4] Buffalo fans seem to have noticed, as the Sabres sold out every game for the 2007 season.

The Sabres defeated the New York Islanders and then the New York Rangers to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. On May 19, 2007 the Buffalo Sabres were eliminated by the Ottawa Senators after five games. The winning goal was scored in the first overtime by Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson at the 9:32 mark. Coincidentally, Jason Pominville had beaten Alfredsson to score the clinching overtime goal over Ottawa in game five of the previous year's Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

2007–08[edit | edit source]

The Sabres lost both of their co-captains, Daniel Briere (who went to the Philadelphia Flyers) and Chris Drury (who went to the New York Rangers) during the free agency period. The Sabres nearly lost Thomas Vanek to the Edmonton Oilers who offered him a seven-year, $50 million offer sheet, but the Sabres matched the offer on July 6. After these events, the team changed its policy of not negotiating contracts during the regular season. On October 16, 2007, they signed Jochen Hecht to a 4 year $14.1 million dollar contract.

Long-time Sabres broadcast color commentator Jim Lorentz announced his retirement during the 07–08 preseason. Hockey Night in Canada's Harry Neale took over the position in October 2007.

The Sabres' January 1 home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins was played outdoors at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.[5] Officially, the game was called the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic, but in Buffalo and the surrounding areas it was referred to as the "Ice Bowl". The Sabres lost 2–1 in a shootout.

The Sabres, like all of the NHL teams updated their jerseys as part of the league-wide switchover to Rbk Edge jerseys. The team did not make radical changes to the jersey design, adding an NHL crest below the neck opening. There will be no 'third jersey' this season, although the team wore the 1970s design for the January 1 outdoor game.

With a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on April 3, 2008 that eliminated the Sabres out of playoff contention, they became only the third team in NHL history to go from finishing first overall in the regular season standings to finishing out of the playoffs the following year. Both of the previous two teams to do so ended up winning the Stanley Cup the following year.

2008–09[edit | edit source]

On June 10, 2008, the Sabres officially announced their new American Hockey League affiliate, beginning in the 2008-09 season, would be the Portland Pirates from Portland, Maine. This officially ends their 29-year affiliation with the Rochester Americans. The Sabres will stock the Pirates with prospects for the next two seasons, with a parent club option for a third.[6].

The Sabres entered the 2008 free agency period quietly, but on July 1st the Sabres signed goalie Patrick Lalime to a two-year worth $2 million. On July 4th, the Sabres traded Steve Bernier to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a second round draft pick in 2010 and a third round draft pick in 2009 (Los Angeles' selection). Just hours later Craig Rivet was traded to the Buffalo Sabres with a 2010 seventh-round pick in exchange for two second round selections in the 2009 and 2010 drafts.

2009–10[edit | edit source]

General manager Darcy Regier announced on the first day of free agency that the Sabres have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defenseman Steve Montador to a two-year contract. The Sabres also signed free agent defenseman Joe DiPenta to a one-year contract on July 11. They also extended contracts with three other players.

On July 20 the Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with Andrej Sekera on a multi-year deal and signed Clarke MacArthur to a one-year contract. On August 11 the Sabres signed Mike Grier to a one-year contract. Grier, already having played two seasons with the Sabres, returned after playing the last three with the San Jose Sharks.

At the beginning of the season the Sabres announced the Buffalo Sabres Road Crew which saw appearances by the Sabres’ coaching staff, GM Darcy Regier and broadcasting crew for charity. A total of four stops were scheduled throughout the season in Tampa, Florida, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, NC and Atlanta at established Buffalo fan clubs. Many native Western New Yorkers now live in those four cities.

On January 1, 2010, the Buffalo Sabres became the first team to win consecutive games when trailing by three or more goals since Dallas did it in January 2006 in beating Anaheim 4-3 in a shootout and Detroit 6-3. Buffalo beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 in overtime. It was Buffalo's second straight win in a game it trailed 3-0, following a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh.[7] On March 3, 2010, the day of the trade deadline, the Sabres made two deals. The first was with the Columbus Blue Jackets which sent them Nathan Paetsch and a second-round draft pick in exchange for Raffi Torres. The Sabres' second and final deal sent Clarke MacArthur to the Atlanta Thrashers for third and fourth-round draft picks.

On March 27, 2010, the Sabres clinched their first playoff berth since the 2006-2007 season with a 7–1 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On April 6, 2010, the Sabres clinched the Northeast Division title by defeating the New York Rangers by 5–2.

On April 26, 2010, the third-seed Sabres were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the sixth-seed Boston Bruins in six games.

2019[edit | edit source]

The Sabres' rookie forward Victor Olofsson set an unusual record. When he scored scored his fifth power play goal of the season in a Buffalo Sabres v Dallas Stars game, he became the first player in the history of the NHL to score their first seven career goals all in the power play - a record that has not been recorded in 101 years. [8].

Broadcasters[edit | edit source]

Rick Jeanneret TV and radio Play-by-Play
Rob Ray Studio Host and rinkside reporter
Kevin Sylvester Studio Host
Mike Robitaille Studio Host

Season by Season[edit | edit source]

Stanley Cup Champions Conference Champions Division Champions League Leader

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

NHL season Team season GP W L T OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
1970–71 1970–71 78 24 39 15 63 217 291 1188 5th, Eastern Did not qualify
1971–72 1971–72 78 16 43 19 51 203 289 831 6th, Eastern Did not qualify
1972–73 1972–73 78 37 27 14 88 257 219 940 4th, Eastern Lost in Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Canadiens)
1973–74 1973–74 78 32 34 12 76 242 250 787 5th, Eastern Did not qualify
1974–75 1974–75 80 49 16 15 113 354 240 1229 1st, Adams Won in Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Black Hawks)
Won in Semifinals, 4–2 (Canadiens)
Lost in Finals, 2–4 (Flyers)
1975–76 1975–76 80 46 21 13 105 339 240 943 2nd, Adams Won in Preliminary Round, 2–1 (Blues)
Lost in Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Islanders)
1976–77 1976–77 80 48 24 8 104 301 220 848 2nd, Adams Won in Preliminary Round, 2–0 (North Stars)
Lost in Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Islanders)
1977–78 1977–78 80 44 19 17 105 288 215 800 2nd, Adams Won in Preliminary Round, 2–1 (Rangers)
Lost in Quarterfinals, 1–4 (Flyers)
1978–79 1978–79 80 36 28 16 88 280 263 1026 2nd, Adams Lost in Preliminary Round, 1–2 (Penguins)
1979–80 1979–80 80 47 17 16 110 318 201 967 1st, Adams Won in Preliminary Round, 3–1 (Canucks)
Won in Quarterfinals, 4–0 (Black Hawks)
Lost in Semifinals, 1–4 (Islanders)
1980–81 1980–81 80 39 20 21 99 327 250 1194 1st, Adams Won in Preliminary Round, 3–0 (Canucks)
Lost in Quarterfinals, 1–4 (North Stars)
1981–82 1981–82 80 39 26 15 93 307 273 1425 3rd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 1–3 (Bruins)
1982–83 1982–83 80 38 29 13 89 318 285 1031 3rd, Adams Won in Division Semifinals, 3–0 (Canadiens)
Lost in Division Finals, 3–4 (Bruins)
1983–84 1983–84 80 48 25 7 103 315 257 1190 2nd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 0–3 (Nordiques)
1984–85 1984–85 80 38 28 14 90 290 237 1221 3rd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 2–3 (Nordiques)
1985–86 1985–86 80 37 37 6 80 296 291 1608 5th, Adams Did not qualify
1986–87 1986–87 80 28 44 8 64 280 308 1810 5th, Adams Did not qualify
1987–88 1987–88 80 37 32 11 85 283 305 2277 3rd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 2–4 (Bruins)
1988–89 1988–89 80 38 35 7 83 291 299 2034 3rd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 1–4 (Bruins)
1989–90 1989–90 80 45 27 8 98 286 248 1449 2nd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 2–4 (Canadiens)
1990–91 1990–91 80 31 30 19 81 292 278 1733 3rd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 2–4 (Canadiens)
1991–92 1991–92 80 31 37 12 74 289 299 2713 3rd, Adams Lost in Division Semifinals, 3–4 (Bruins)
1992–93 1992–93 84 38 36 10 86 335 297 1873 4th, Adams Won in Division Semifinals, 4–0 (Bruins)
Lost in Division Finals, 0–4 (Canadiens)
1993–94 1993–94 84 43 32 9 95 282 218 1760 4th, Northeast Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Devils)
1994–951 1994–95 48 22 19 7 51 130 119 1022 4th, Northeast Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1–4 (Flyers)
1995–96 1995–96 82 33 42 7 73 247 262 2195 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
1996–97 1996–97 82 40 30 12 92 237 208 1840 1st, Northeast Won in Conference Quarterfinals, 4–3 (Senators)
Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Flyers)
1997–98 1997–98 82 36 29 17 89 211 187 1768 3rd, Northeast Won in Conference Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Flyers)
Won in Conference Semifinals, 4–0 (Canadiens)
Lost in Conference Finals, 2–4 (Capitals)
1998–99 1998–99 82 37 28 17 91 207 175 1561 4th, Northeast Won in Conference Quarterfinals, 4–0 (Senators)
Won in Conference Semifinals, 4–2 (Bruins)
Won in Conference Finals, 4–1 (Maple Leafs)
Lost in Finals, 2–4 (Stars)
1999–2000 1999–2000 82 35 32 11 4 85 213 204 1173 3rd, Northeast Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1–4 (Flyers)
2000–01 2000–01 82 46 30 5 1 98 218 184 1249 2nd, Northeast Won in Conference Quarterfinals, 4–2 (Flyers)
Lost in Conference Semifinals, 3–4 (Penguins)
2001–02 2001–02 82 35 35 11 1 82 213 200 1217 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2002–03 2002–03 82 27 37 10 8 72 190 219 1276 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2003–04 2003–04 82 37 34 7 4 85 220 221 1289 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2004–05 2004–05 Season cancelled due to 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–06 2005–06 82 52 24 6 110 281 239 1144 2nd, Northeast Won in Conference Quarterfinals, 4–2 (Flyers)
Won in Conference Semifinals, 4–1 (Senators)
Lost in Conference Finals, 3–4 (Hurricanes)
2006–07 2006–07 82 53 22 7 113 308 242 1177 1st, Northeast Won in Conference Quarterfinals, 4–1 (Islanders)
Won in Conference Semifinals, 4–2 (Rangers)
Lost in Conference Finals, 1–4 (Senators)
2007–08 2007–08 82 39 31 12 90 255 242 1040 4th, Northeast Did not qualify
2008–09 2008–09 82 41 32 9 91 250 234 1146 3rd, Northeast Did not qualify
2009–10 2009–10 82 45 27 10 100 235 207 908 1st, Northeast Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Bruins)
2010–11 2010–11 82 43 29 10 96 245 229 958 3rd, Northeast Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Flyers)
2011–12 2011–12 82 39 32 11 89 218 230 904 3rd, Northeast Did not qualify
2012–13 2012–13 48 21 21 6 48 125 143 630 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2013–14 2013–14 82 21 51 10 52 157 248 903 8th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2014–15 2014–15 82 23 51 8 54 161 274 853 8th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2015–16 2015–16 82 35 36 11 81 201 222 731 7th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2016–17 2016–17 82 33 37 12 78 201 237 725 8th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2017–18 2017–18 82 25 45 12 62 199 280 653 8th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2018–19 2018–19 82 33 39 10 76 226 271 556 7th, Atlantic Did not qualify
Totals 3820 1760 1499 409 152 3738 12138 11550 59795 All-time Series Record: 21–29
1 Season was shortened due to the 1994–95 NHL lockout.
2 As of the 2005–06 NHL season, all games tied after regulation will be decided in a shootout; SOL (Shootout losses) will be recorded as OTL in the standings.

Note: Between 1974–75 and 1980–81, Conference championships were awarded to the team that finished first overall in their respective conference in the regular season.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The List: Worst calls in sports history. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2007-12-07.
  2. Jamie Fitzpatrick. The Buffalo Sabres the Dallas Stars and Brett Hull's famous "no goal". Your Guide to Hockey.. About.com. Retrieved on 2007-12-07.
  3. http://eod.liquidviewer.com/wgr-od/wgr/20060916_Quinn.wma
  4. Keating, Peter (March 28, 2007), "Ultimate Standings: Buffalo Sabres Are No. 1!", ESPN The Magazine, <http://sports.espn.go.com/chat/sportsnation/story?page=ultimatestandings07No1team>
  5. 2008 Winter Classic. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2007-12-07.
  6. Buffalo Sabres (2008). Portland Pirates Become New AHL Affiliate for Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo Sabres. Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
  7. http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/story/?id=304350&hubname=nhl-sabres
  8. Thomas Moore (2019). 101 Year Old NHL Record Broken by Buffalo Sabres Victor Olofssen. Sports-Statistics.com. Retrieved on 2019-12-22.

Players[edit | edit source]

Current roster[edit | edit source]

Updated August 6, 2010.[1]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
34 Flag of the United States Butler, ChrisChris Butler

D L 34 2005 St. Louis, Missouri
38 Flag of the United States Conboy, TimTim Conboy

RW R 39 2010 Rosemount, Minnesota
19 Flag of the United States Connolly, TimTim Connolly

C R 39 2001 Syracuse, New York
37 Flag of Canada Ellis, MattMatt Ellis


C L 39 2008 Welland, Ontario
63 Flag of Canada Ennis, TylerTyler Ennis

LW L 31 2008 Edmonton, Alberta
28 Flag of the United States Gaustad, PaulPaul Gaustad


C/LW L 39 2000 Fargo, North Dakota
42 Flag of the United States Gerbe, NathanNathan Gerbe

C L 33 2005 Oxford, Michigan
25 Flag of the United States Grier, MikeMike Grier

RW R 46 2009 Detroit, Michigan
55 Flag of Germany Hecht, JochenJochen Hecht


LW L 43 2002 Mannheim, West Germany
36 Flag of the United States Kaleta, PatrickPatrick Kaleta

RW R 34 2004 Buffalo, New York
-- Flag of Canada Kostka, MikeMike Kostka


D R 35 2008 Etobicoke, Ontario
40 Flag of Canada Lalime, PatrickPatrick Lalime

G L 46 2008 Saint-Bonaventure, Quebec
3 Flag of the United States Leopold, JordanJordan Leopold

D L 40 2010 Golden Valley, Minnesota
8 Flag of Canada McCormick, CodyCody McCormick

C R 37 2009 London, Ontario
30 Flag of the United States Miller, RyanRyan Miller

G L 40 1999 East Lansing, Michigan
4 Flag of Canada Montador, SteveSteve Montador

D R 41 2009 Vancouver, British Columbia
27 Flag of Canada Morrisonn, ShaoneShaone Morrisonn

D L 38 2010 Vancouver, British Columbia
57 Flag of Canada Myers, TylerTyler Myers

D R 31 2008 Houston, Texas
20 Flag of Canada Niedermayer, RobRob Niedermayer

C L 46 2010 Edmonton, Alberta
29 Flag of the United States Pominville, JasonJason Pominville


RW L 38 2001 Repentigny, Quebec
52 Flag of Canada Rivet, CraigCraig Rivet


D R 46 2008 North Bay, Ontario
9 Flag of Canada Roy, DerekDerek Roy


C L 37 2001 Ottawa, Ontario
44 Flag of Slovakia Sekera, AndrejAndrej Sekera

D L 34 2004 Bojnice, Czechoslovakia
21 Flag of the United States Stafford, DrewDrew Stafford

RW R 35 2004 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
26 Flag of Austria Vanek, ThomasThomas Vanek

LW R 37 2003 Baden, Austria

Team captains[edit | edit source]

  • Daniel Briere & Chris Drury, 2005–07

Honored members[edit | edit source]

Hall of Famers


Retired numbers

* When Rene Robert and Rick Martin were retired, Gilbert Perreault was present, as the entire "French Connection" line was given retirement together. Today, each linemate's banner is next to one another at First Niagara Center, with a banner above indicating their line's nickname.

First-round draft picks[edit | edit source]

Franchise scoring leaders[edit | edit source]

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Sabres player

Points Goals Assists
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Gilbert Perreault C 1191 512 814 1326 1.11
Dave Andreychuk LW 837 368 436 804 .96
Rick Martin LW 681 382 313 695 1.02
Craig Ramsay LW 1070 252 420 672 .63
Phil Housley D 608 178 380 558 .92
Rene Robert RW 524 222 330 552 1.05
Don Luce C 766 216 311 527 .69
Mike Foligno RW 664 247 264 511 .79
Danny Gare RW 503 267 233 500 .99
Miroslav Satan RW 578 224 232 456 .79
Player Pos G
Gil Perreault C 512
Rick Martin LW 382
Dave Andreychuk LW 368
Danny Gare RW 267
Craig Ramsay LW 252
Mike Foligno RW 247
Miroslav Satan LW 224
Rene Robert C 222
Don Luce C 216
Alexander Mogilny RW 211
Player Pos A
Gil Perreault C 814
Dave Andreychuk LW 436
Craig Ramsay LW 420
Phil Housley D 380
Rene Robert C 330
Rick Martin LW 313
Don Luce C 310
Dale Hawerchuk C 275
Mike Foligno RW 264
Mike Ramsey D 256

NHL awards and trophies[edit | edit source]

Presidents' Trophy

Prince of Wales Trophy

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Calder Memorial Trophy

Frank J. Selke Trophy

Hart Memorial Trophy

Jack Adams Award

King Clancy Memorial Trophy

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Lester B. Pearson Award

Lester Patrick Trophy

NHL Plus/Minus Award

Vezina Trophy

William M. Jennings Trophy

Franchise individual records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Buffalo Sabres - Team - Roster. Retrieved on 2010-08-02.

External links[edit | edit source]

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