The Sabres made up for their lack of response during Jason Pominville’s return by running a nice tribute to Lindy Ruff on Monday night.
Ruff’s return has been circled on the calendar since the schedule came out this summer and showing some sort of respect for the longtime coach was likely an easy decision for the Sabres. But it isn’t something that has been the norm for other former Sabres making their return to the city they once called home.
There haven’t been many players who have come back to town worthy of any sort of acknowledgement from the club in the past few years. Maybe only Marty Biron would register for most of the fans. It goes to show how few and far between these opportunities are. By extension, the rarity also makes it that much more important to get it right.
Eric from 3rd Man In has a good take on Pomnville’s return, the non-response from the Sabres and why it should be easy enough for them to take a little time to honor these former players when they come back. Since Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller will be making their way back to First Niagara Center sometime in the next 12-18 months, I’ve cooked up a flow chart to help decide if former Sabres deserve a quick moment when they come back to the First Niagara Center ice.
The one thing this doesn’t take into account is the rental player or plugger who may be on a championship squad but never leave a lasting impression. But those types of guys shouldn’t be difficult to weed out. This is designed as; A) a joke; and B) a way to determine if tenured members of the team deserve to be acknowledged.
Pominville and Thomas Vanek are great examples in this case as they both played significant roles through their tenure and grew to be fan favorites prior to departure. They both fall into the category of guys who deserve to be honored and hopefully the Sabres follow suit when Vanek returns for the season’s final game.
Ed Note: This can apply to any team, simply switch out Sabres with your team of preference.