The Buffalo Sabres face a grim possibility: losing their Duanes.
Linus Ullmark‘s significant injury made it clear(er) that the Sabres’ playoff drought seems likely to extend to nine consecutive seasons. Apparently that realization is pushing fans – including the most hardcore ones – to a boiling point.
In at least one case, that boiling point created quality entertainment.
Duane channels Sabres fans’ disdain
If you want to hear passion and anger from a fan, listen to caller Duane’s passionate rant to WGGR 550’s Schopp and the Bulldog. Then wonder: when was the last time you felt as strongly about sports (or anything?) as Duane does here?
Delightful, at least if this Twitter user is the Duane, and thus is enjoying the attention from becoming something of a viral sensation.
Someone even spliced it with music from “Titanic,” which might double as a way to preserve the clip:
— The Funnel Guy (😭) (@the_funnel_guy) January 30, 2020
Duane has become something of a mascot for fan discontent. Sabres fans have responded to various team tweets with references, sometimes merely responding with “Duane.” #WeareallDuane appears to be the most frequently used hashtag, but it’s far from the only one.
Here’s hoping that others follow Duane’s advice, then, and use their voices “responsibly.” USA Today’s Bradley Gelber took screenshots that indicate the Pegula family has dealt with harassment. As we’ve seen from innumerable Internet movements in just about every niche, people can go from passionate to toxic at the drop of a hat. Here’s hoping that this doesn’t end up that way, or if it has, that such ugly behavior stops.
Sabres fans upset by mistakes both big and small
Because, no doubt about it, it’s understandable if Sabres fans are losing their patience.
Again, the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010-11. The Sabres last won a series in 2006-07. Fans suffered through some of the worst NHL teams (and overall sports teams) of the past decade during this span. There’s been recent growth, but sometimes raised expectations only make the lows feel lower.
And, when those feelings fester, little things start to feel like bigger annoyances.
Fans and Sabres media alike noted mistakes such as Dave Andreychuk’s jersey being spelled “Andreychuck” during “Aud Night” and poor execution for other throwback festivities. When teams are competitive, mistakes like these usually get laughed off. When losing lingers, people can sometimes fixate.
The easiest answer is to say that winning would solve your problems. That playoff runs could stop a Duane drain.
Yet, with the Sabres facing long odds to make the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs (they’re 10 points out of the final East wild-card spot), fans might need to wait until next year — again.
Don’t be shocked if there are a bunch of Duane-related signs as the Sabres host Montreal on Thursday. Fans get a bunch of opportunities, actually, with eight of their next nine games in Buffalo.
All of that home-cooking might not spark an unlikely playoff run, but the Sabres at least have a chance to make their hardcore fans happier.