I believe the word dismal is derived from an old Yakima Indian term meaning, “Damn, is it raining again?” In these parts, folks head east over the Cascade Range to escape the dreary, omnipresent rain and gray and see the sun shine. In higher income brackets, they head west, way west… like Hawaii. The Sabres, of course, don't have this option. There is no escape from the prison cell their season has become. They must keep lacing them up, and hitting the ice for more public humiliation three nights a week. Marty McMahon writes…
'During his deliveries to Western New York, Santa Claus must have skipped HSBC Arena.'
'Meanwhile, the Sabres (8-20-5-1) have lost four straight games and have only one victory in their past eight. They carry the look of a team that can't catch a break.'
'"It's frustrating, and you want to see it get solved for the fans," Biron said yesterday. "Hamister wants to buy the team and expand on the entertainment part of the game. In Ottawa, they have that extra band of lighting (and advertising) at the top of the arena. That makes so much of a difference. But that's a lot of money to put that in. (Hamister) wants more parking, he wants to add more. He's willing to lose money in the short term. I hope people understand the situation. I was in Quebec City. It was just terrible. But the difference between here and Quebec City is that there was no private money coming in to Quebec City. Here, we've got that."'
In erasing an early 2-0 deficit, the Senators also improved their record to 16-2-4 in their last 22 games.
The Bills season ends (in January), and after that what would people do (if the Sabres were gone), make snowballs and throw them at each other?
Rob Ray was back in the Buffalo lineup after sitting the previous two games as a healthy scratch. He replaced W Eric Boulton.
'So the squeeze continues off and on the ice for the Sabres. Last night, it wasn't Adelphia Communications' filing under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that mattered as much as the work of the Ottawa Senators' No. 11, Daniel Alfredsson, who had a goal and two assists in a workmanlike 3-2 Senators victory.'
Despite having no power plays to Buffalos four in the first period, the Senators still outshot the Sabres 9-8.
'Buffalo has dropped four straight and is 1-6-1 in its last eight games following a season-high three-game winning streak.'
'"I'm not asking for one penny of government assistance with regard to purchase of the team, but there are things that need to be addressed. There needs to be an improved sound system and ways to make such a large venue adaptable for smaller shows. There's a need for more parking near the arena and we would like to see some effort to create relief on the debt. It's a community-owned facility, but it is not state-of-the-art and it loses money and those issues have to be addressed."'
'If the Sabres maintain their current level of consistency, they will go 20-47-12-3 for 55 points. That would mark the second-worst record in their 33-year existence…'.
'Among all the imponderables about the Sabres situation is what would happen if the governments couldn't provide any aid and Hamister then withdrew his bid. That could leave the team open for purchase from an outsider, who then could move the team. That would be even more likely if the team has to go through bankruptcy, threatening the nonrelocation clause in the Sabres lease. It's doubtful the arena could survive without the Sabres.'
'The Sens have won their last four road games.'
It has been a bad taste in the mouth for a long time, coach Lindy Ruff told media members following the collapse in Pittsburgh. I do not know if it can get any worse.