The Buffalo Sabres have received widespread praise since unveiling their Alumni Plaza earlier this month.
But recently, John Vogl of the Buffalo News noticed something missing.
The Plaza contains a mural covering all 42 years of the club’s existence, featuring 18 franchise greats — Roger Crozier, Danny Gare, Jim Schoenfeld, Craig Ramsay, Mike Foligno, Dave Andreychuk, Mike Ramsey, Phil Housley, Alexander Mogilny, Pat LaFontaine, Dominik Hasek, Michael Peca, Chris Drury, Maxim Afinogenov, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek and Tyler Myers.
But there are a few omissions: Miroslav Satan, Rob Ray and, curiously, Dale Hawerchuk.
Which begs the question — why is Afinogenov on the mural over Hawerchuk, a member of the Sabres’ Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Here’s more, from Sabres Edge:
On one hand, there’s a case to be made for Afinogenov. He spent nine seasons with the Sabres. He ranks 18th in team scoring with 334 points, including 200 assists. He was popular among fans, with his jersey ranking among the league leaders in sales during the rush to the registers from 2005 to 2007.
Then again, Afinogenov’s time in Buffalo is almost equally as notable for the down times. He slumped while refusing to play a team game. He suffered mysterious concussions. He was run out of town after totaling only 16 goals during his last two seasons.
Vogl also notes that, if Afinogenov’s inclusion was a timeline thing to represent all eras, other key contributors from his era — Satan and Ray especially — “have more credentials” for a spot on the mural.
Of course, Afinogenov did do this:
Oh, and in case you’re wondering…Mad Max is still doing his thing at age 33, playing for SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL.