For the first time in a long time, Western New Yorkers will get a taste of the playoffs.
The Sabres return to the NHL playoffs on Saturday, when the fifth-seeded Philadelphia Flyers will come to HSBC Arena to open up against fourth-seeded Buffalo.
Local hockey fans got spoiled in the last part of the 20th century, when the Sabres made a run to the Stanley Cup finals and several other trips deep into the 16-team tournament.
After the Rigas scandal and brush with bankruptcy a few years ago, it might have seemed like we’d never see this point. But new owner Tom Golisano has righted the ship, and with the help of general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff the Sabres are back atop the standings.
It may seem like ages ago that every other car had a Sabres flag flying from it, but it’s not so long that we’ve forgotten about the pride we take in our local teams. Everyone should break out their team mementos that might have collected dust over the past few years and root on their hometown team.
With the Bills’ recent failures and future uncertainty, this might be Buffalo’s best shot at a major championship for some time. All of us should savor the moment and do what we can to help our guys come out on top.