The Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres have not been helping in the negative thoughts that are in most fans heads. However, it took someone of the status of Jack Eichel to finally have to ask:
How salty is too salty for the Buffalo fan base?
In case you never heard, Eichel came under some fire from fans and some media for comments about the fans booing the Sabres in their 5-4 overtime win over San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
“We got the building going, some energy in here after they were booing us off the ice. We win a game in overtime and everyone loves us again… It’s interesting how that works,” Eichel said. “We didn’t play well for two periods, but it’s a 60 minute game… or in this case 65.”
There it was, calling out fans that were booing at any chance they could.
“It’s interesting how that works.”
Fans suddenly weren’t sure how to react. Some were ok with it, happy to see something other than the cookie-cutter “athlete speak.” Some think he had a point but could have worded it differently. Some were flat-out pissed at his comments, appalled that a player who makes millions of dollars had the gumption to call out the fans. That an athlete cannot relate to the paying customer, and therefore not be allowed to make any comments directed towards the fans.
This is the part where you probably close out this article: Eichel was right.
I was at this game. The Sabres were getting outclassed by a superior team that happened to come within two wins of a Stanley Cup last year. The Sharks are an established, skilled team that happens to see some unfortunate events in the postseason. But they are a benchmark of success in the NHL. The Sabres did deserve to get some boos after their atrocious second period that night. I never booed them, because I could appreciate the talent San Jose boasts.
The Sabres would score a power play goal with another delayed penalty to cut their deficit to 4-2 and immediately were back on the power play. The first unit was going to need to change if they didn’t score right away. They didn’t. So as the team swapped players to the bench and prepared their second power play unit’s entry, the puck had to be held back for a moment.
The fans’ response? A shower of boos, less than a minute after the team brought some hope back into the building and making a simple change of the lines. I was so confused. There were also massive boos for not shooting on the power play (typical), and also for having the waning seconds of the third period wind down (likely given the Sabres OT/shootout records).
I get it, these teams haven’t inspired much in the terms of optimism in recent years (or in the Bills case, almost two decades). The last “successful” thing the Bills/Sabres have done was tank for the best chance at Connor McDavid and guarantee at least getting Eichel. The Bills remain quarterback purgatory. The Sabres remain tied for last in the East.
But enough is enough. We’ve taken over Philadelphia’s reputation of being the quickest to turn on their home teams. Fans bring silly takes, like calling Eichel a “punk” for his remarks, that Chad Kelly is to be the savior of the Bills based on the fact that he’s related to Bills great Jim Kelly. Tim Murray should be fired. Doug Whaley should be fired. Sammy Watkins is trash. Sam Reinhart would be a bottom 6 forward on any other team. Toronto has surpassed Buffalo in the rebuild. The worst of all? Wearing the Bills 17 year playoff drought like it’s some sort of freakin medal, some badge of honor. As if you can’t be a Bills fan without bringing it up.
Perhaps we should have some patience to let the Bills and Sabres find the right way to long term success, instead of just trying to quench the thirst for the playoffs. It doesn’t help when the city’s fans, as well as some of its media members, have now become so damn salty.
In Buffalo, salt is meant to be on the roads to melt the ice, not in your blood for your hot takes.
It’s interesting how that works.