Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Are You Ready? Playoff Run Begins Tomorrow

In roughly five hours, the 2011 NHL Playoffs will be officially underway.  The Sabres will have another day to prepare before the puck drops for their first round series with the Philadelphia Flyers.  Even though we have another 29 hours to wait through, I just cannot get my mind off this series.  Playoff hockey back in Buffalo.  What could be better?  Playoff football?  We may not know what that's like for many years, but I would personally prefer hockey.  "It’s a whole different experience", said head coach Lindy Ruff.  It's that feeling in your stomach; that edge-of-your-seat action where every shift on the ice counts that I cannot wait for.

Sabres players are really looking forward to tomorrow's game one, especially Mike Weber.  "Just making the playoffs and being involved in the process of getting into the playoffs was pretty exciting, so I’m really looking forward to it.  I wish we were starting today – kinda tired of practice, ready to get after it here.  It’s very exciting and I think this is going to be a good match-up", said Weber.  Weber will experience his first career post-season series along with Marc-Andre Gragnani, Chris Butler, Mark Mancari and Jhonas Enroth.  Sabres players have just fewer than 700 games of playoff experience combined.  They are led by Rob Niedermayer with 109 career playoff appearances and Mike Grier with 94.  The Flyers' players have just under 1,100 games led by; you guessed it, Chris Pronger's 170 games played.

The "Party in the Plaza" will be in full swing when HSBC Arena and the Buffalo Sabres host game three on Monday, April 18th.  This will be the place to be if you have been left without a ticket to get inside.  Tickets are at an extremely high demand with the top row of the 300's currently selling for $120 on Stubhub.  Terry Pegula has been at it again improving on last year's fan-experience by adding a second 9'x12' telescopic video screen that will show MSG's broadcast for the fans' viewing pleasure.  Live music from "Lance Diamond" starts at 5:00pm EDT and will run until a half hour before the puck drops at 7:00pm EDT.  Food, beverages and merchandise will sold throughout the event and also keep your eyes open for "several Sabres personalities" to make appearances.  Admission to the "Party in the Plaza" is free.

If you are growing a playoff beard, consider raising money for charity and doing it with the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.  Last year's Beard-a-thon saw 573 fans raise over $18,000 for charity.  Not only are you helping charities, but your money raised is tax deductible and the fan who raises the most will win an autographed Ryan Miller jersey.

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