You might be reading this and saying to yourself: Who in the world is Cathal Kelly? I was in the same boat with these thoughts, until I read his ‘column’ regarding the Buffalo Sabres and how they are not important enough to hate. Mr. Kelly is a writer for the Toronto Star, and I cannot comment on his work because of a lack of familiarity, so I will not pretend to do so. But just to be clear here, and not to be accused of embellishing anything that Mr. Kelly says, here is the link to the article:
Before we begin, I have a confession to make: I was one fan that did somewhat stoop to the level of letting emotions get in the way after reading Mr. Kelly’s article. And to be as transparent as I possibly can here, I want you all to see what I tweeted, to leave no stone unturned:
Not one of my proudest moments, but part of my comment will be explained in detail later on in this article.
How is a Buffalo Sabres fan supposed to properly react to Mr. Kelly’s comments? First off, spatting personal rage against Kelly is something that should not be encouraged and I toed the line with using the word ‘drivel’, I am sure Mr. Kelly is an accomplished journalist. I am sure myself and some other Sabres fans who initially lashed out at Mr. Kelly probably added to his enjoyment if pushing the Buffalo sports fans button, a proven useful tool utilized by many journalists who know the rule: Pushing the right button equals reads, equals revenue.
But that is where it should end for the Buffalo Sabres fan. Personal bashing, and even death threats as Mr, Kelly has pointed out in a recent tweet, are even MORE childish and pathetic then some of the comments in the original article. Nobody should ever have to endure such sick threats.
If you are one of these fans, get your head examined. It’s sports folks.
As one example from the article, Mr.Kelly stated in so many words that all the city of Buffalo is good for is ‘parking’. I am trying to understand as a fan of a NHL franchise and rooting for a team from Buffalo over a team from Toronto, what the infrastructure of the city has anything to do with the argument. Apparently someone (probably someone by the name of John Scott) clearly got under Mr. Kelly’s skin to provoke this, for lack of a better term, childish reaction from a professional writer from a prestigious outlet like the Toronto Star.
How should a Sabres fan properly react to Mr. Kelly’s article? I have an idea, and it encompasses one single word.
Yes, facts. This is a term in the sports fan world that is getting more lost in the shuffle every single day, as sports columnists and sports radio hosts look to be the first to report anything and everything, come up with the best catch phrases, and look for any way to get attention. It behooves someone to try these techniques at times in a more competitive market, this I do understand. And Mr. Kelly clearly took the road more traveled these days, by taking it to the Buffalo sports fan, and trying to twist and get under the skin of the Buffalo fan. And did it work?
If you do know this by now, look at my tweet above.
Facts. What facts can we bring to the table? The irony of Mr. Kelly’s argument is: Perhaps Buffalo fans should embrace what he is saying, but reverse it. Why do Buffalo fans hate Toronto? Why SHOULD we? What reason is this for? Is it geography? The fact the Leafs fans invade First Niagara Center because of the lack of tickets available in Toronto that require a personal loan to pay for, is this why? Toronto is one of the more dynamic, multi-cultural, cleanest, and nicest cities I have ever been to, why the hate?
Let’s dive into these facts first before we answer this question.
The Buffalo Sabres have been in the NHL since the 1970 season, which spans 43 seasons:
Stanley Cup Playoff Appearances: 29
Conference Championships: 2
Stanley Cup Championships: 0
Ah yes, the elusive Stanley Cup: Something that is eluded the Buffalo sports fan and will do for quite some time by the looks of it. A button push that the Toronto Maple Leaf fan does like to turn to. Now the Leafs have won their share of Stanley Cup Champions, and have a rich tradition. but let’s analyze this fairly shall we: Is it truly fair to compare a franchise against a franchise when a chunk of time that most fans compare, one of the franchises was not even in existence? From this vantage point, absolutely not.
So not so fast my Leafs brethren, shall we analyze Toronto’s record over the same 43 year span?
Record Since 1970: 1399-1483-345-101
Stanley Cup Playoff Appearances: 26
Conference Championships: 0
Stanley Cup Championships: 0
Lot of goose eggs in this set of numbers, especially for the last two isn’t there? But wait, the Toronto fan might say, what about the head-to-head match-up all time? Well since we are dealing with one word here called facts, let’s unveil them for all of you to see:
Buffalo Sabres vs Toronto Maple Leafs All Time:
Buffalo leads the regular season series 101-67-18, a 60.6% winning percentage in favor of the Buffalo Sabres
Playoffs? Yes, Jim Mora, we will talk playoffs, as there has only been 1 meeting between the two franchises:
1999 Eastern Conference Finals: Buffalo won the series 4 games to 1 over Toronto, as I can still envision Dixon Ward’s empty netter in Toronto as I then ignited a cigar in celebration.
Now the facts have all been presented to you, Buffalo Sabres fan, what shall we do now? Should we tweet Cathal Kelly some more and spew off some hate towards him for his comments? Nope. Because you know what folks, he IS right.
Growing up with the Buffalo Sabres since the early 1980’s, who are the teams that Sabres fans should consider the rivals? Try the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens on for size, as both of these franchises sent some good Sabres teams home early in the Springs and sent myself and other Sabres fans home in bewilderment.
Why in the world should Buffalo fans hate a Toronto Maple Leafs team that the Sabres have basically owned since 1970? I see no reason to ‘hate’ Toronto whatsoever, and from this point forward, until Toronto provides a reason to dislike them, they are irrelevant to me.
Mr. Kelly, your Leafs are just a team up the Queen Elizabeth Way. Nothing more. Thanks for bringing your button pushing to the public to allow me to see the truth.
And stick to the facts more, eh?