Pipe Dream: It’s Time for a Sabres Skills Competition

Rosters for the 2017 NHL All Star game were announced with far less fanfare than the 2016 version as John Scott’s name was nowhere to be found on the four division squads for the event. While the new three-on-three format injected some much needed life into the weekend, the highlight for many remains the Skills Competition.

The Skills Competition is a perfect made-for-TV event that showcases the incredible skill of NHL players in easily digestible bites. It’s a format that’s been pulled to local events by many NHL clubs on an annual basis, as teams take advantage of longer breaks in the schedule to put on a show for their fans. The Sabres even ran their own in the 90s before putting an end to the practice.

Bringing back the Sabres Skills Competition has been a common request (at least in my personal Sabres Twitter echo chamber) and those cries seemed to intensify last year with the debut of Sabres Showdown. Giving fans the chance to see a Sabres-specific skills competition on TV gave them a glimpse of what could be in store with a ticketed event.

Adding an event like this to the Sabres schedule would accomplish a number of easily attainable goals. It’s an event that can be sold as an open ticket instead of first accommodating season ticket holders, thus extending an opportunity for those fans who don’t typically attend a game to grab a seat at Key Bank Center for Sabres hockey. The tickets themselves would (read: should) be below that of the box office price for a game, again helping to include a segment of the fanbase that typically can’t attend a game in person. These are also best served as early afternoon events, which is tailor-made for #familyfriendly #fun. Lastly, a special event like this could be considered a way that the team is giving back to the fans, another issue that has gained momentum in recent years. Continue reading

Sabres Pipe Dream: Renovating the 100 Level

At a previous Sabres Blogging Summit Ted Black made mention of the organization preparing to undertake the renovation of the 100 Level of First Niagara Center. Nearly two seasons have passed since he first touched on the possibility and it’s quite possible that the team has put those plans on the back burner.

Exactly what would be on the to-do list is up for debate as there would be some physical challenges posed by the construction of FNC along with whatever budgetary restraints the organization chose to attach to the plan.

More history and (maybe) more space would be key additions for The Aud Club.

As the official pipe dream author of the Basement Brigade I thought I’d toss out my wishlist of what I’d hope to see incorporated into a renovated 100 Level if and when the Sabres finally undertake the project.
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Pipe Dream: Taking the opportunity to upgrade First Niagara Center’s exterior

The fanfare surrounding HARBORCENTER isn’t going to die down soon. Nor should it. This is a phenomenal project that will inject all sorts of money and life into downtown Buffalo. It has the added flair of pissing off Tim Tielman and leaving him pouting in his open air bus, clutching to his construction paper and crayon “alternative”.

Just take a minute to look at that thing and tell me it’s not the most ludicrous thing you’ve ever seen. I can’t tell what’s more hysterical, the fishing huts along Main or the rink on a portion of the DL&W Terminal that isn’t currently a platform suitable for a rink.

Make this a statement, not an afterthought.

Anyway, HARBORCENTER is going to be a boon for downtown, the waterfront, Canalside and the arena district as a whole. It has raised some concern over the First Niagara signage on the arena being obstructed and it has also obstructed a vast majority of First Niagara Center’s atrium. The former point probably isn’t all that important. Nor will it be all that difficult to address. The latter, however, should be addressed in some form or function.

I’ve mentioned before that it would be beneficial to re-skin the atrium as a way to improve the visual connection between HARBORCENTER and the arena. The drop off in height and the drastic difference in architecture makes the adjoining buildings look odd, especially from Main Street. So the idea of a visual upgrade makes sense to me.

However, in between portions of our most recent podcast, Eric (of 3rd Man In) and I got to talking about a few aspects of the arena and how the Sabres may be able to improve on the exterior of the building. Continue reading