Oh, Steve. What Could Have Been...
Damnable damn, Stamkos. Whence last we spoke, I regretfully said I couldn’t come up with a fantastic, personalized goal call for you. Now that I have (STAM JAM!) it’s all for naught. You’ve committed to the white and blue for 75% of what we would have paid you here in Buffalo - the legendary ‘hometown discount,’ though, we all know Buffalo is closer to home than any other city in the big 50.
What could have been? History. That is precisely what you’ve missed out on. Not only would Buffalo have made you the highest paid player in NHL history, we would have taken you to the next level in your personal history. Your legacy would have been the one piece that Tim Murray needed to take his team all the way. For the first time in Buffalo. Ever. Did you watch the Cavaliers’ celebrations? The Lebron parade in Akron? It would have been like that. But way, way better. Ask Alex Nylander. He got a taste this weekend.
Believe us, we understand the idea of loving the city you play for. Dozens of former players and coaches stay here in Buffalo because they came and they couldn’t leave. They couldn’t leave because once you go to Hockey Heaven, you can’t leave. The actual body of Tim Horton is bronzed and placed on a street corner, per his final wishes. That’s how much hockey loves Buffalo.
Of course, Buffalo loves hockey, as well. You probably heard the collective swoon as Tim Murray swore he’d be chasing the big fish in free agency. He didn’t say ‘big fish.’ He said “THE BIG FISH.” THE=YOU. And Buffalo fell hard - eyes popping out of heads, hearts pounding out of chests HARD. For one shining moment, we believed.
Perhaps our adoration was a bit premature, but it’s what we do. We fall in love hard and fast, and so we get burned. A lot. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last, so it’s almost an afterthought just to be writing this letter. But here we are.
I’d like to say good luck, but it would be quite insincere. You are now our direct competition - the perennial Eastern Conference semi-finalists; we’re going to meet in some meaningful games soon, and I do not wish you luck in those matchups. I wish you a broken skate blade and sticks that snap like...well...twigs….
And finally, because it’s the most Buffalo thing I can think of, I want to thank you. Thanks for keeping us in the news. Thanks for giving Murray a reason to smile. Thanks for now giving him a reason to create the best hockey team ever to take the ice, if only to bury you with the rest of the bodies in some Saskatchewan wasteland, probably. That cold, dead stare…*shudder*
Peace out, Stamnope. Enjoy your early bird dinners and your shuffleboard. And your mosquito outbreaks. And Zika. Probably.
The 716 Sports Podcast