Sabres should go back to red and black for Hasek

Earlier this week the Anaheim Ducks went back to the start of their franchise and busted out Mighty Ducks retro jerseys for their game against Ottawa on Sunday.

The jerseys were worn as part of Anaheim’s 20-year anniversary celebration and the practice was widely embraced as a great idea by fans, players and media members alike. The Ducks went all out with the event, as well. In addition to the uniforms, they also went retro with the scoreboard, intros and TV graphics for the night.

Seeing all this got me thinking, why can’t the Sabres do something similar? I’m not saying a direct ripoff of the Ducks idea, but something out of the same playbook.

Considering the Sabres current home and road uniforms are practically identical to their original jerseys, going back to the original design for a night wouldn’t yield a drastically different look for the team on the ice. Because of that, the only true option for a throwback-type night would be to rewind to the red and black era. And what better night to turn the clock back to red and black than when the Sabres finally retire Dominik Hasek’s number?

Ted Black has already come out and said the Sabres will be retiring Hasek’s number in the very near future. I also believe there was some insinuation that Hasek may also end up with a statue out in the plaza. Obviously the Sabres have pretty big plans for the greatest goaltender in franchise history.

For my money, there’d be no other way to go than a statue and jersey retirement on the same night. His performance and legacy is right there with the French Connection and combining the two events would make for a very cool special night for Hasek and the fans. Taking it one step further by decking the team out in the red and black uniforms that were worn during Hasek’s prime would make it that much cooler. Continue reading

A trip to the Sabres Alumni Plaza

This is old news, I know. But I did manage to meander my way down to the Sabres Alumni Plaza the day after the French Connection Statue was unveiled.

The official unveiling was on the 12th and I managed to spend some time down near the arena (and Canalside) on Saturday the 13th. While this post is a bit tardy, it doesn’t make the plaza any less striking.

While the photo of the French Connection used in numerous locations (including beer paraphernalia) seemed to be a better picture of the group to use, the interpretation of the photo and the way the statue plays the scene is terrific. The action of Perreault and Robert reaching for the puck gives the ability to view the statue from a number of different angles.

The Alumni Plaza as a whole is somewhat underwhelming at this point just because the player and fan bricks are very much an ancillary addition. There isn’t much to the bricks unless you’re looking for a specific player or your individual brick. Ultimately the bricks will be a very nice addition to the entire atmosphere of that plaza, but as of now they are sort of just there.

One thing that a few people have brought up is the fact that they’re eventually going to run out of room on those pillars. Now, that won’t be a factor for a number of years. But there are no more pillars to utilize beyond the one pegged for the 2010’s. Perhaps the 70s era players should remain on the first pillar with the remaining ones used to mix in the rest of the players from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. At least that would allow for more flexibility as more and more players make their debuts.

That point is quite minute and truly won’t be an issue for at least another 10 years based on the number of players who will be making their debut. Worst case scenario is that the 2010’s column needs to be given a different distinction and becomes far more populated than the rest.

For me, the exciting part is what will come next. There is a ton of space in the plaza and there will be plenty of room to create a monument park with a number of different statues mixed in. Between previous posts and passing comments between Eric and myself in the Instigator Podcast, the full roster of future statues has probably been laid out.

Hasek is the most obvious next choice with Tim Horton being a close second or in a dead heat with the goaltender. Danny Gare and Pat LaFontaine would be fine additions too (as each retired number should get equal treatment). I love the idea of honoring the Knox Family along with the obvious need for statues honoring Ted Darling and RJ as well.

It is fairly obvious that Terry Pegula and Ted Black don’t just want to create avenues for additional fan involvement but that they strive to create unique and outstanding additions to FNC. To say I have the utmost faith that they will succeed with turning the Alumni Plaza into an unforgettable addition is an understatement.

Now the only thing left is to wait and see when another statue will be placed on the site.

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Hasek statue should follow the French Connection

Friday was supposed to be a truly impressive evening. Combined with the home opener for the Buffalo Sabres, the team would also unveil the centerpiece of the new alumni plaza with the French Connection Statue.

With the end of the lockout nowhere in sight, the home opener has been cancelled. But the statue unveiling will go through as planned and it should still serve as a wonderful way to honor three of the franchise’s greatest players.

The likely pose for the future statue of Hasek.

From the very brief and obstructed view I got of the statue, it looks impressive. All three players are prominently featured and the layout should provide a unique view from just about any angle. Depending how the structure will be lit, I expect that the statue will be very impressive at night.

The next step will be identifying who else will join the French Connection in the plaza. Thanks to this week’s news, the next addition should be Dominik Hasek.  Continue reading

Statues for legends, could it work for the Sabres?

The Buffalo Sabres fortieth anniversary brought about some very cool festivities and features. A new alternate jersey, the Albright Knox exhibit, the in-arena history exhibit and more. What the year-long celebration told me was there is a wonderful opportunity for a permanent Sabres Hall of Fame.

The Bobby Orr statue outside of TD Garden offers a nice template for the Sabres to potentially draw from.

I’ve shown interest in the Sabres involvement with the space which formerly housed the Ira G. Ross Aerospace Museum and the Backstage Club prior to that. Previous posts have been dedicated to my pipe dreams and I even used the Blog Summit forum to offer a suggestion regarding the space.

For those who haven’t read up on the subject; I envision the Sabres taking advantage of the empty space as a team-oriented Hall of Fame. Better yet, the 12,000 square feet (thanks Mr. Black) could be devoted to Buffalo hockey history. Regardless, I see that space as a perfect spot to celebrate the team’s history. In addition to putting together a Hall of Fame, I have come upon another idea regarding honoring the team’s history around the arena.

My most recent light bulb moment comes thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens will be unveiling a Mario Lemieux statue outside of CONSOL Energy Center. Much like Chicago, Detroit and Boston (to name a few), the Penguins will immortalize their greatest player with a statue outside of the arena. Why don’t the Sabres do the same? Continue reading