DON STEVENS BLOG: ITíS BEEN A BLESSING FOR THE SABRES... AND AMERKSBlogs | 12/9/2011 12:27:45 PM | Don Stevens
IT'S BEEN A BLESSING FOR THE SABRES... AND AMERKS
In light of what has happened this season, the Buffalo Sabres hockey department must be extremely pleased that their farm team is now located in Rochester – just a little over an hour away. Could you imagine what it would’ve been like if the Sabres were having to bring all of these recalls in from Portland. Let me emphasize, there’s nothing wrong with Portland. It’s a beautiful place and an outstanding franchise, but it’s simply a matter of geography.
Last weekend, on the way from Rochester to Hamilton, we had to stop in Buffalo to drop off Corey Tropp so he could join the Sabres for their game the next day. How often do the Portland Pirates just happen to be traveling through Buffalo.
As it is now, a player can be recalled after the morning game-day skate and get to Buffalo in time to have some rest before game time. Every comment out of Buffalo is that the recalls have played extremely well, and they are very prepared for each game. I think the short travel distance adds to the players ability to get ready for these games.
It’s important to point out that this is also extremely beneficial to the Rochester Americans. The Sabres are very willing to send a player back to Rochester, even though they are right at the playing limit of 20 players. Evidence of that came last Sunday when they sent Joe Finley back to the Amerks for the Sunday afternoon game in Albany. It was not easy to get him to Albany in time. He made it in time, but his equipment didn’t. Even though he wasn’t in the lineup, the Sabres did their part in sending him. It was just unfortunate circumstances that kept him from playing.
If we were a day’s travel away from Buffalo, the Sabres would be forced to keep probably two extra players, a forward and a defenseman. That’s two top-notch players we likely wouldn’t have had here this season. But since they know they can get a player to Buffalo in about an hour, it gives them the option of keeping just 20 players there.
This is also huge for those players that are on the bubble. Instead of sitting in the press box and watching the Sabres play, they can be here in Rochester and gaining valuable playing experience. And, it keeps their game conditioning at a high level.
This also gives a nice boost to the task of putting people in the seats here at the Blue Cross Arena. When viewers watch a Sabres game and see the team is loaded with Rochester players, it really gives credibility to the fact that the American Hockey League is not much more than half-a-step behind the National Hockey League.
A fan can see a player in an Amerks uniform one night and in a Sabres uniform the next night, or vice- versa. We witnessed first-hand over the past several years what it was like to have a player recalled and then never hear anything further about him, or how he’s been doing at the next level. I really think that had a big part in the decline of interest in the Amerks. It’s important to the fans that they see what this development program is all about.
LET ME HEAR FROM YOU
I’m very new to this “blogging” think, and actually a novice in the whole “social media” world. So, I need your help. I’m not sure what you want to hear about, so I’m asking that you let me know. If you have a question you’d like answered, or a subject matter you’d like to see discussed on this blog, please go to www.amerks.com and look for the Facebook link, or go directly to www.facebook.com/rochesteramericans and post it on the Amerks wall. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.