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The booing of Briere

Other than the logo change, few things in the past five years have riled up Sabres fans like the departures of their co-captains. It appears the return of those favorites ignites people as well.

The comments have been nearly nonstop on whether Daniel Briere should have been booed mercilessly when he returned to Buffalo on Friday. And the words are passionate on both sides of the argument. One site even had to shut down the message board topic because the chatter turned into fans with opposing views typing vulgarities at each other.

For even more words on the matter, here we go: The booing of Briere was absolutely wrong, especially at the start of the game.

He helped make the Sabres matter again. When he arrived, games consisted of about 9,000 fans and a few writers. Then his play (and the play of his teammates) attracted attention, and people wanted to embrace the Sabres. When they got close, Briere's smile drew them closer. He became the face of the franchise, the outgoing force that perfectly complemented Chris Drury's on-ice intensity and Lindy Ruff's coaching.

And the smile was genuine. Everyone has agendas, including Briere. But he genuinely liked the city, and he wanted to stay. People have many theories, ideas and beliefs about what happened during the failed negotiations, but all of you should believe this: He really wanted to stay.

But, after getting a last-minute offer from Buffalo that was $27 million less than his market value, he had to leave. And for that he gets ridden nonstop?

The main argument for the booing is this: He plays for an opposing team, and that opposing team is the hated Philadelphia Flyers. Sounds like a good theory, until you look at what other members of those hated Flyers got booed whenever they touched the puck. Answer: none. Mike Knuble had the puck, he didn't get booed. Derian Hatcher had the puck, he didn't get booed - and he won a Stanley Cup in HSBC Arena.

Briere is a nice guy who did a lot for the community. And yes, the community members have already paid him tribute by walking around in their No. 48 jerseys, so it's not like they owe him much.

But a little goodwill would have been a decent payment.

---John Vogl


Sabres game day
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |