Buffalo Sabres Tickets
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Location: Buffalo, New York
Stadium: First Niagara Centre
Nickname: Katanas, Sabes, Sabs, Slugs, Swords
Rivals: Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers
Notable Players: Tim Horton, Rick Martin, Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert, Pat LaFontaine, Danny Gare, Dominik Hasek
Stanley Cup Titles: 0
Last Stanley Cup Title: n/a
Website/Box office: sabres.nhl.com
The Buffalo Sabres were formed in 1970, when the NHL expanded to 14 teams. Buffalo was chosen for the new team when three prominent businessmen from Buffalo were allowed to buy the new franchise. Having already tried to buy one a few years back the men chose Buffalo as the location, the city was known for its other hockey team the Buffalo Bison’s, who played in the AHL.
As bison was a common name for sports franchises in Buffalo, the owners decided to host a competition to name the new team. Upon seeing the entry Sabre, Seymour Knox (one of the owners) liked all off the connotations of the sabre. As it was carried by leaders and can be used for both attack and defence, he saw it as a very appropriate name for his new hockey franchise, and so the Buffalo Sabres were born.
In their first season they were award first pick for the NHL amateur draft, after winning a roulette spin against fellow new team the Vancouver Canucks. They would get rising star Gilbert Perreault, a French Canadian, who would go on to form one of their most famous attacks for the decade.
After a great first season, he was joined by fellow French-Canadians Rick Martin and Rene Robert, both acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The three would later be known as the ‘French Connection,’ due to their French-Canadian background, and would end up being one of the most fearsome front threes in NHL history.
In only their 3rd season, the Sabres made it to their first playoffs in the 1972-73 season. Despite their best efforts the team went out in the quarter finals to Montreal Canadiens, who went on to win the cup.
The Sabres, riding the momentum of their prolific front three made it to the playoffs in the 1975-76 season, but would again fall at the quarter finals stages again, this time against the New York Islanders.
This golden period for the Sabres came to an end at eh end of the decade with the players getting traded, the Sabres still recognise the famous front three, and have a statue of them in their home stadium.
The 1980s were not too kind the Sabres, as the realignment of the leagues meant that they had to face one of their own division teams in the first round of playoffs. This meant usually facing the Montreal Canediens or the Boston Bruins, as the Sabres mostly finished in the middle of the division. They would lose most of these first round playoffs (a total of eight), and not even make it to another two.
Another decade saw them back in the playoffs, yet never getting far enough to win the Cup. However after finding new owners and moving to a new arena the Sabres made a return to the Stanley Cup Final in the 1998-99 season, but would gain lose the final, this time to the Dallas Stars.
Financial turmoil followed for a number of reasons, including the new owners, which saw a deadline for the Sabres for a number of years, they did manage to make a playoff again in the 2005-06 season, after sorting out the ownership and steadying the club somewhat.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Montreal Canadiens
A rivalry that has been around since the Buffalo Sabres first seasons back in the 70s. They have met a number of times in the playoffs, with the Canadiens edging the ties, winning 4 to the sabres 3. The Sabres would be the first team to win all 4 games in a playoff against the Canediens in 1998, completing a clean sweep against their rivals.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators
A more recent rivalry that began after the lockout season of 2004-05, it has grown ever since. With both teams battling it out for the Northeast Division, they would meet regularly through the season, in which the Senators would tend to get the upper hand. Buffalo however, would tend to beat them in the playoffs, winning 3 out of four against them.
A famous fight in 2007 saw both sides’ goaltenders fighting as well as a verbal exchange between the two coaches, adding even more fuel to the fire between these two close rivals.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
More of a geographical rivalry- both teams are within 90 miles of one and others arenas, They have shared the Northeast Division and now the Atlantic Division. They cities are connected by the Queen Elizabeth Highway, leading to the rivalry being the ‘QEH rivalry’.
Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
The Buffalo Sabres played all of their home games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium since their inception in 1970 until the arenas demolition in 1996. They would relocate to the First Niagara Centre, which has a capacity at just fewer than 20,000 is the biggest indoor area in Western New York. The arena was built specifically for the Buffalo Sabres.