As a Sabres fan, when the Terry Pegula era began I was over the moon like everyone else. A billionaire owner who’s been a fan for 30+ years? What’s not to like? I was late to work so I wouldn’t miss his introductory press conference and my eyes welled up when he said we’d (that’s right, we) win “multiple Cups.” The excitement seemed surreal, though, and didn’t set in as the team climbed from the bottom of the standings last season. Nor did I really think twice when we picked up former sniper Brad Boyes at the trade deadline, or even when the tem spent like a zillion dollars on free agency over the summer.
The joy finally hit me like a truck in September when I plugged in NHL 12. Now, everyone knows that the best part of playing sports games isn’t the online play and don’t even get me started on that “Be A Pro” crap, it’s building a champion. Having the right mix of player personality and skill as well as team camaraderie is the nuts and bolts of EA Sports’ NHL franchise. For anyone who plays it the right way, that is. Which is where the Sabres come in. General manager Darcy Regier spent too little money and went after the wrong players. It’s always been up to me, a 21 year old who spends too much time drinking coffee in his parents’ basement to bring the Stanley Cup home to Buffalo. But hey, a championship’s a championship, right?
The only good part about the team toiling in mediocrity over the past few years is building a virtual champion. After Pegula came, I was a little worried about my team being too good without me. Did they still need me? Would they finally cut the dead weight? Or find a real number one center? Had the day really come when I had to cut ties with the Sabres and start a NHL 12 dynasty with a different team?
Welp, I shouldn’t have worried. The real (if the real world is what people outside my basement live in… pshht, no thanks) hockey season is more than halfway through and its clear the boys need me worse than ever. They just came off a big win over the Islanders. But at this juncture “big” means they were able to beat a fellow bottom dwelling team who’s dominated them for two seasons. The players, unlikable and bland, haven’t come through and fans are going bonkers calling for a change.
I might actually have a challenge on my hands. Instead of trading wussy boy Tim Connolly right away I’m going to somehow have to convince whatever computer that accepts trades that Ville Leino is worth his massive contract. There’s no way I’ll be able to coax Anaheim into trading me Getzlaf for that schlub. Oh and get a load of this, the game hasn’t updated to the exact league rosters, meaning giveaway machine Steve Montador still counts against my salary cap, ARE YOU SERIOUS?
I’ll be sure to keep Pegula posted on how I get his beloved Sabres out of this mess. Maybe the Stanley Cup parade downtown I’m responsible for will convince him to put me in Darcy’s chair.