Bear with me, this is going to be an odd sort of personal narrative-y recap, but the experience of seeing the Wings in another city was too fun to pass up discussing almost as much as the game.
In a whirlwind of activity that involved a lot of trains, a trip to Toronto to see a Marlies game (they lost, but as they were playing the Stars I got to jeer at Toby Petersen, so I consider it a success) and very very little sleep, I found myself in Buffalo last night at a bar watch the Wings play the Sabres. Convenient, boys - thank you for scheduling that so nicely for me.
I of course wore a Wings shirt and was jeered at on the way in to the bar (packed, as expected), but there were quite a few Wings sweaters as well. I don't know where its owner managed to pick one up so soon, but I also saw a Steve Bernier jersey making its way around the bar. I'd say it was a bit early for that, but considering his performance in his first game, sure. We took our seats at the bar and I endured another good-natured(?) round of booing while indulging in some sort of delicious amber ale microbrew.
Going in to the game I was worried, given the Wings' performance lately, but they apparently wanted to show me that it was, in fact, okay. I missed the last game due to work, so I hadn't seen him back yet, but it delighted me to see Niklas Kronwall warming up. The team seems to be pulling back together so I decided to be optimistic.
My game notes (which I stopped taking after the second period) are as follows:
- I HATE ANDREAS LILJA.
- Oh my god someone chain Dominik Hasek to a post.
- The Buffalo announcers are concerning me. I know Ryan Miller has been a little shaky at times this season...are they trying to feed his ego by saying things like "What a great shot! Nice save!" on things like weak shots right into his chest?
- Was that Dallas Drake who just scored? Seriously?
- The drunk guys behind me think that "DETROIT SUCKS" can fit into the same rhythm as "Let's go Buffalo!".
- Okay no, of course it wasn't Dallas Drake.
- I miss Nick Lidstrom real bad.
- That WAS Dallas Drake what the hell?
- Making fun of the Lions is a universal method of making friends. They still, however, boo when your team scores.
- What the heck is Aaron Downey doing on the bench there? Thanks for highlighting us looking like idiots, MSG.
- Oh my god someone SERIOUSLY chain Hasek to a post - actually strike that, it is entertaining when he tries to run people over.
- I LOVE ANDREAS LILJA.
- What's this secondary scoring thing, do we do that now?
- No one in this bar likes me very much. (With the exception of a very drunk guy who thinks I should accompany him to a strip club post-game.)
Overall I was surprised, people were generally friendly (although seriously Buffalo, SERIOUSLY, we don't want Ryan Miller. Seriously. I promise. No less than three people mentioned this to me in the course of the evening.) and post-game we met some nice Sabres fans on the train (via...singing Queen?) and headed to a bar with them (They bought us drinks! I like Buffalo!) where we ran into......the guy who jeered at me on the subway before we got to the bar. I think this should be symbolic or something.
Anyway, Buffalo has good beer and entertaining fans but I have not been converted, though I may make it to the Capitals game on Wednesday. Take that Eastern Conference. (Oh and I still think I hate Andreas Lilja.)