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Another athlete bags on Buffalo, maybe it is time to answer the bell

February 23, 2012

This is the part when everyone is supposed to freak out. You know, when everyone stands up, puffs their chest and says how Buffalo’s heritage is fantastic, the architectural history is unparalleled and you simply don’t know this city unless you’ve lived here.

Brad Marchand likes to try an injure people, he does not like Buffalo.

When Joffery Lupul first started ragging on the city, Buffalo as taken some heat from athletes in the NHL and NFL for the fact that the city isn’t as nice as the ones they call home. Lupul, Tom Brady and now Marchand have all had their pot shots as of late. Sure it stings to hear people say our city stinks, but are they really that off base?

This just in, Boston is a cooler city and has more things to do than Buffalo. Yeah, no kidding. Also in the new today, it is cold out, the sky is blue and Marchand’s nose would be mistaken for a shark fin if he was doing the backstroke. Comparing Buffalo to Boston or Toronto would be like trying to compare Channing Tatum to Tom Hanks. There is no common ground for comparison, aside from the fact that Buffalo and Boston are both indeed cities.

Where I take offense is not so much in the comments made by Marchand, but in the fact that Buffalo is still treading water rather than attempting to improve the city. Sure the swarm of bees becomes infuriated when the nest gets poked, but everyone is content to stay inside unless otherwise provoked.

To take stock in the actual comments made by Marchand would be foolish. He isn’t the type of hockey player you respect or want on your team. He is a pest/rat who is out there to stir the pot and piss you off. I don’t even rope him into the “guys you hate to play against but love to have on your team” category. I save that for players like Steve Downie or even Milan Lucic. Marchand doesn’t register in that group. For that reason, I don’t take much stock in his opinion. What I do take stock in is the way Buffalo and the people of Western New York have chosen to respond to comments made by Brady, Lupul and Marchand.

As a region, it is far past the time for some progressive thoughts and actions to start turning this rust bucket into a desirable location. Terry Pegula and Ted Black want the Sabres to be a primary destination for free agents. If the city had some interesting attractions for these players to do with their down time, perhaps Buffalo would truly be Hockey Heaven.

It is nice that the city is full of great architecture and there is loads of historical significance throughout the region. But the fact of the matter is that none of these “attractions” carry much weight with the 18-34 crowd. Side note, most star hockey players fall into that age category.

I’m not saying Buffalo needs casinos, strip joints and blocks of nightclubs. I’m just saying that the general lack of things to do – particularly in most neighborhoods downtown – is the main reason these athletes take free shots at the city.

At what point will the citizens and City of Buffalo stop talking and actually start taking action to prove people wrong? When will we be able to point and a tangible object and say, “No Brad. This isn’t the worst city in the league.”

Maybe if this actually got done people wouldn't bag on the city so much.

I’m not asking for Disney World. I don’t even need to see the Galleria gutted and placed on the waterfront. But perhaps a handful of bars and restaurants could get the ball rolling. Perhaps someone will realize that a permanent concert venue placed on the waterfront would not only be more effective than the temporary setup used in the summers, but that it would benefit the city as a whole. Something tangible around the arena would be nice considering that has been promised every year since Y2K.

The case of some development being better than no development certainly doesn’t ring true. But there are plenty of opportunities to turn the corner on having actual attractions in the city year-round. I’m not talking about public art and lawn chairs either.

Maybe when these steps are finally taken there will be reason to believe that Buffalo shouldn’t be roped in with Winnipeg, Newark and Uniondale as stale bergs with nothing to do. But until that happens, stop pretending to care about the state of the city while little is done to make changes.

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