Years ago I affectionately dubbed the hometown Buffalo Sabres "The Wh*res." On the one hand, it felt like a logical phonetic amendment of the word "Sabres." After all, the "Sabes" or the "bres" doesn't have the same panache as "Wh*res." Additionally, I also felt that it somehow encompassed how my friends and I viewed the relationship we had with the hockey club.
Not in a literal sense, of course.
Though this relationship has spanned 30 years - from discovering NHL hockey in 1976 onward - my 'affair' with this years Wh*res was dizzying. In all honesty at the beginning of the year I didn't expect much from them.
Like a young, ugly hooker, they simply fulfilled a need. Hockey.
"Let's not kid each other. We know what this is. I need to watch a hockey team, and you fit the bill. You ain't pretty but you're wearing skates."
After a year off due to a labour related lockout, I needed it badly - but again, I didn't expect much from them at all... "Pominville? Who the hell is that?!"
(Doug Weight shared the same sentiment this week.)
At first, I only paid them a visit once in a while... Hockey Night in Canada and the occasional local broadcast.
Eventually, as they hit their stride, I started paying a bit more attention. Stringing together 10-15 wins once in a while proved that these wh*res might be worth a second glance. After all, what's more endearing than a hooker with a heart of gold? Especially a hard working hooker.
Every once in a while, though, the hooker would come down with the flu and take a couple nights off. At one point "she" went 8 or so games without a win. I started losing a little bit of faith in her, but deep down I actually cared for her well being. Well, she (they) bounced back and finished strong.
I was truly starting to fall in love. She was no longer the ugly, gangly streetwalker. She made me look forward to seeing her... she gave me comfort, goddamn it. Especially during the playoffs.
The relationship always intensifies in late spring. Sometimes things get heady, other times they're downright dull. This year the wh*res exceeded my expectations tenfold. They pounded the rough and tumble hookers from Philadelpia. They dashed the hopes of the prom queens from Ottawa and they frustrated the hell out of the Dixie Chicks from Carolina, but alas... As we all know, god hates Buffalo. The little hooker that could succumbed to a broken wrist, a broken ankle, a pulled groin, a concussion and the ultimate f*ck you? A strep infection on her left shin.
Yes... my hooker was bitchslapped by the almighty and gangbanged by Atropos and her sisters. Regardless, I really thought she'd pull through. Unfortunately the Dixie Chicks get to go to the dance with the Edmonton Oilers. Hopefully those roughnecks will bend the Chicks over in 4 or 5 games and give them an old fashioned drilling...
As for my whore? She's got the summer to recover and we can start anew next year.
I loves you, baby. You're beautiful. Don't ever change.