|founding||May 22, 1970|
|Location||Buffalo , New York|
|Team colors||Navy blue, gold, silver, white|
|league||National Hockey League|
|Head coach||Ralph Krueger|
|Team captain||Jack acorn|
|General manager||Kevyn Adams|
Rochester Americans ( AHL )
Cincinnati Cyclones ( ECHL )
|Conference title||1974/75 , 1998/99|
1974/75 , 1979/80 , 1980/81 ,
1996/97 , 2006/07 , 2009/10
The Buffalo Sabers ( IPA : [ˈbʌfəloʊ ˈseɪ.bɚs] ) are an American ice hockey franchise of the National Hockey League from Buffalo , New York . It was founded on May 22, 1970 and began playing at the beginning of the 1970/71 season . The team colors are navy blue, gold, silver and white. The Sabers logo shows an American bison and crossed sabers in the club colors.
The Sabers play their home games at the KeyBank Center and emerged from the league’s major expansion in the late 1960s to early 1970s when the number of participants gradually increased from six to 18. After the team had quickly established itself in the league, it reached the final of the prestigious Stanley Cup in 1975 , which was lost. After a long dry spell, Buffalo repeated the success in 1999, before eight years later they ended the season for the first time as the team with the highest points - awarded the Presidents' Trophy .
Buffalo should originally get a new franchise of the NHL for the 1967/68 season due to the initiative of the brothers Seymour and Northrup Knox . Despite great efforts, the two failed to convince the leadership of the league of their plans.
When the NHL decided to take on two more teams for the 1970/71 season , Buffalo and Vancouver were selected for a fee of six million US dollars each as the locations of the two new NHL clubs. On January 16, 1970, George "Punch" Imlach was hired as the first coach and general manager of the Buffalo club. Imlach was relieved of his post as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs a year earlier . Up until the beginning of 1970 the team from Buffalo did not have a fixed name, for this purpose a competition was launched in the spring of 1970, which should provide suggestions for the naming of the club. About 13,000 suggestions were received, including the nickname "Sabers" ( German saber ). This was ultimately selected as the best proposal and adopted as the new team name.
In the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft , the Sabers obtained the first right to vote by drawing lots before all other teams in the league. This enabled Buffalo to secure the coveted player Gilbert Perreault , who came from the Montreal Junior Canadiens . He scored 38 goals in his first NHL season. To date, this was the highest number of goals by a young player in an NHL season. As a result, he received the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best newcomer . The Sabers recorded 24 wins for a total of 63 points in their first season. With this result, they ended up in fifth place in the Eastern Division and thus ahead of the second newly formed team, the Vancouver Canucks with 56 points, and the Detroit Red Wings , which collected 55 points. The number of points was not enough to reach the play-offs.
The French Connection
Left winger Rick Martin was selected by the Sabers in the 1971 NHL Draft in fifth place overall. His achievements in the season 1971/72 were extraordinary with 44 goals and a total of 74 points, but were not crowned with the Calder Memorial Trophy due to the even better performance of Ken Dryden . Due to health problems, George Imlach had to hand over his coaching position to his friend Joe Crozier . The search for a suitable right winger for Rick Martin and Gilbert Perreault came to an end with a barter deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1972. The Buffalo Sabers sent Eddie Shack to the Penguins and received René Robert in return . In the years that followed, the trio would form one of the most successful series of storms in the 1970s: the "French Connection" .
In the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft , Buffalo defender Jim Schoenfeld was selected. In the 1972/73 season , the Sabers could reach the playoffs for the first time in their history. However, they had to admit defeat in the first round against the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Montréal Canadiens . 1974/75 was another coach change, Joe Crozier was replaced by Floyd Smith . This enabled the team to have an extremely successful season with 49 wins and 113 points. The player Danny Gare , who joined the club during this time, was not insignificant in this success with his 31 goals. After below average performance in 1973/74 , the Sabers missed the playoffs, a season later the Sabers reached the playoffs again. Under the leadership of the "French Connection" they made it to the Stanley Cup final, having previously defeated the Chicago Black Hawks and the Montreal Canadiens. The final series against the Philadelphia Flyers led to a battle between the two top rows of the teams: The "French Connection" against the dangerous storm row of the Flyers, which consisted of Bobby Clarke , Bill Barber and Reggie Leach . The team from Philadelphia won the first two games, Buffalo equalized the series with two home wins after four games with 2-2. The Sabers lost game five in the Philadelphia Spectrum with a final score of 5-1. The team from Buffalo also lost game six, which took place on May 27, 1975, and thus had to admit defeat in the battle for the Stanley Cup.
The Sabers remained one of the most successful teams in the NHL in the following years, but were never able to prevail in the finals to the final goal of winning the Stanley Cup. In the regular season, the team was still a set size, because from the season 1974/75 to the season 1977/78 they always reached the 100 point mark in the final table . George Imlach was fired in 1978, and coach Marcel Pronovost had to give up his post after a bad start to the 1978/79 season . After a brief appointment by John Anderson as general manager, the Sabers were able to commit Scotty Bowman in 1979 . He spent the next few years making extensive changes to the club's personnel. He signed the players Mike Ramsey , Lindy Ruff , Hannu Virta , Phil Housley , Mike Foligno , Dave Andreychuk and the goalkeepers Tom Barrasso and Daren Puppa . In the regular 1979/80 season , the Sabers collected a total of 110 points due to these personnel changes.
The restructuring measures of the team by Scotty Bowman bore fruit in the next few years: even after the high score of 110 points in the 1979/80 season, the Sabers team never achieved less than 89 points for the next five seasons. When the playoffs were missed in 1984/85 with a point yield of only 80 points in the main round, Bowman was dismissed as general manager of the Buffalo Sabers and replaced by Gerry Meehan , while Ted Sator took over the role as head coach of the team. At the end of the 1985/86 season , Gilbert Perreault announced his retirement as an active player after 17 years of professional ice hockey career. Although he was subsequently made an offer for a job with the Buffalo Sabers, he turned it down and returned to Québec . There he worked in the youth field of ice hockey. General Manager Gerry Meehan selected with the first choice of the authorization 1987 NHL Entry Draft the center forward Pierre Turgeon from, who took a big offensive role in the coming years on the team.
In 1989, after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc , one of the best Soviet players, Alexander Mogilny , signed with the Sabers. In the 1992/93 season he scored 76 goals. This season was also the first for goalkeeper Dominik Hašek - the "Dominator" became one of the best goalkeepers of the 1990s.
In 1999, Šatan (stress on the second syllable) scored 40 goals. The Sabers brought in Stu Barnes from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Joé Juneau from the Washington Capitals. Michal Grošek had the best season of his career and the Sabers reached the Stanley Cup Finals that year. They got up to Game 6 before losing to the Dallas Stars by Brett Hull's extra time goal .
The 1999/2000 season was not so convincing; the main reason was mainly due to Hašek's long injury and the two backups Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron played very solidly, but not as outstanding as “Der Dominator” , who won several games for Buffalo alone. The Sabers were eliminated in six games in the first round of playoffs against Philadelphia .
2000/01 reached the Sabers the second playoff round, lost there against the Penguins. The Sabers went downhill in 2002 when Adelphia Communications , the owner, went bankrupt. After being led by the league for a short time, she bought billionaire Tom Golisano in 2003.
In the 2005/06 season the Sabers were able to convince with an uncompromising offensive game, with the fast strikers in particular benefiting from the rule changes . Goalkeeper Ryan Miller established himself as a steadfast pillar of the team in his rookie year, so that not only were many goals scored, but goals conceded were also rare. The Sabers reached the play-offs and advanced to the conference finals . There they failed because of the later Stanley Cup winner, the Carolina Hurricanes .
Before the next season, the Sabers presented themselves in new jerseys and with a new team logo. The fans initially rejected the new design, but sales of Sabers merchandising grew by 1000% after the release of the new jerseys. The discussion about the new design overshadowed the beginning of the training camp, which the most expensive Sabers team of all time went to. In order not to exceed the salary cap of 44 million US dollars , Jay McKee , JP Dumont and Mike Grier could not be further signed.
The 2006/07 season started the Sabers with ten wins in a row, setting the Toronto Maple Leafs record from 1993 . However, it was not enough to set the record as the Sabers lost their eleventh game against the Atlanta Thrashers in a shootout . On November 5, 2006, the Sabers beat the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden , New York , setting a new NHL record for consecutive away games. This sequence of away successes could even be expanded to ten wins before losing on November 18 in Ottawa .
Three Sabers players were nominated for the All-Star Game : center Daniel Brière , defender Brian Campbell and goalkeeper Ryan Miller . With the Sabers leading the Eastern Conference table at the time, Lindy Ruff was appointed to coach the All-Star team. Even Thomas Vanek was invited to the All-Star weekend to the Young Stars participate game.
With 113 points (tied with Detroit), the Sabers finished first in the NHL and won the Presidents Trophy . In the first round of the play-offs, the Sabers defeated the New York Islanders 4-1. In the second round it went against the New York Rangers , which they defeated 4-2. In the third round they played against the Ottawa Senators , to whom they were defeated 1-4.
The contracts of Daniel Brière and Chris Drury, who had developed into the most important strikers in the team in the past two seasons and who also shared the role of team captain , expired at the end of the season. Until June 1, they could not agree on new contracts with the Sabers and so both left the team. Chris Drury signed with the New York Rangers, Daniel Brière moved to the Philadelphia Flyers for six years.
Young star Thomas Vanek received an RFA (Restricted Free Agent) offer from the Edmonton Oilers to move to Canada for seven years and $ 50 million. However, the Sabers drew level and thus secured Vanek until the 2013/14 season. Derek Roy has also been given a long-term six-year contract.
In February 2011, the Sabers franchise was bought by US billionaire Terrence Pegula . Lindy Ruff was relieved of his duties as Sabers head coach on February 20, 2013 after the Sabers had a bumpy start into the season shortened by the lockout. As an interim solution, he was followed by the American Ron Rolston , who previously worked as head coach of Rochester Americans . Although his contract was extended for the 2013-14 season, Rolston's time as head coach came to an end after nine months. On November 13, 2013, the Sabers were after the worst start to the season in their team history with only four wins from 20 games in the last place in the league. Due to the continued failures, they then dismissed Rolston and General Manager Darcy Regier , who had been in office since 1997. Ted Nolan was introduced as the new coach and Tim Murray as the new general manager just under two months later .
From 1970 to 1996 they played in Buffalo in the 16,433 Buffalo Memorial Auditorium , which was also called The Aud for short . Over the years the auditorium has been enlarged so that it does not lag behind other teams in terms of capacity. It was the last stadium whose pitch did not meet the dimensions specified by the NHL.
For the 1996/97 season they moved across the street to the newly built Marine Midland Arena , which holds 18,690. On November 16, 1996, a few minutes after the end of a training session, the 8-sided video cube fell from the ceiling of the hall. Nobody was injured, but the game between the Sabers and the Boston Bruins, scheduled a few hours later, was postponed. After the Marine Midland Bank was bought by HSBC Bank , the arena was renamed HSBC Arena for the 2000/01 season . In August 2011, a new sponsorship agreement was signed on the name. From then on, the hall was named First Niagara Center , named after the First Niagara Bank . This was taken over by the KeyBank , so that the arena was renamed the KeyBank Center in September 2016 .
The Sabers, like all other NHL teams, also include a team in lower-class leagues, a so-called farm team . In the case of the Sabers, these have been the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League since 2011 . The farm teams are often used in the NHL to prepare young players and rookies for the "real" NHL games. Like the other clubs, the Sabers draw their offspring from the NHL Entry Draft , which brings the most promising young players into the league every year.
The Buffalo Sabers farm teams since 1970:
Club colors and logos
In the beginning, Buffalo played in blue, yellow and white. The round logo with a gold border had a blue background on which a white buffalo could be seen over two crossed sabers with gold handles. With the move to the new stadium in 1996, the team colors were changed to red, black, silver and white. The logo was now a buffalo head. The sabers could only be seen on the alternative logo. Ten years later, in 2006 they returned to blue as the basic color, now with gold and silver. The first logo adorns the team's third jersey.
With Taro Tsujimoto was in the Draft 1974 NHL Amateur by the Sabers, the first Japanese selected in the history of hockey draft. Only a few weeks later, however, it turned out that the player and his team Tokyo Katanas did not even exist. Punch Imlach , who was critical of the draft system, simply picked out a name from Buffalo's phone book and selected the fictitious player in the 13th round of the Entry Draft; the team name Katanas translates as Sabers. However, by the time the joke was cleared up, the NHL had already made Tsujimoto's election official, and it had been reported in the media, including the prestigious The Hockey News . Only when several NHL record books with the fantasy name had already been printed did the NHL declare the election of Tsujimoto as an invalid draft pick. For many years after that, when things did not go optimally for the Sabers on the ice, the audience jokingly demanded the substitution of Taro , and fans sometimes displayed the opposing team on banners under the motto "Taro says: ..." with clever comments and wishes. In 2011 Panini America even released a player card called Tsujimoto, on which an unknown Asian ice hockey player wears a blue and gold jersey similar to that of the Sabers.
Achievements and honors
|Prince of Wales Trophy||1974/75 , 1979/80 , 1998/99|
|Adams Division||1974/75 , 1979/80 , 1980/81|
|Northeast Division||1996/97 , 2006/07 , 2009/10|
The Buffalo Sabers celebrated their first major success in the 1974/75 season as the most successful team at the Wales Conference . Like the Montréal Canadiens they got 113 points, but the Sabers won two more wins than the Canadiens during the season. Hence, they won the Prince of Wales Trophy . They repeated this success in the 1979/80 season .
When the Sabers won the Prince of Wales Trophy for the third time in 1998/99 , this was no longer awarded to the best team in the Wales Conference in the regular season, but to the playoff winners of the Eastern Conference . So the Sabers came for the first time in the finals of the Stanley Cup . By a controversial goal in the third overtime they were defeated in the sixth game of the series against the Dallas Stars .
In the 2006/07 season , the Sabers took first place after the regular season ended and won the associated Presidents' Trophy . With 53 wins in 82 games this season, the Sabers led the league and occupied the top position, tied with the Detroit Red Wings , who had won three games less.
In addition, the Sabers won six division titles.
NHL Awards and All-Star Team Nominations
- Don Edwards & Bob Sauvé : 1979/80
- Tom Barrasso : 1983/84
- Dominik Hašek : 1993/94 , 1994/95 , 1996/97 , 1997/98 , 1998/99 , 2000/01
- Ryan Miller : 2009/10
NHL All-Star Game Nominations
Abbreviations: GP = games, G = goals, A = assists,
Pts = points
|Surname||from ... to||GP||G||A.||Pts|
With seven appearances for the Sabers, Rick Martin is the player who can look back on the most appearances in the team's history. With seven points, including four goals, he is also the most successful player. Daniel Brière , who only represented the Sabers in one game, made four assists - more than any other player on the team.
In the 1971 All-Star Game , rookie Gilbert Perreault was the first player to compete for Buffalo. 1973 succeeded René Robert then the first hit in an All-Star Game. As the first coach of the Sabers, Scotty Bowman coached an All-Star team in 1980. He was also nominated as a coach the following year. Lindy Ruff was also the head coach of the All-Star team twice . After 1999, he also headed the team in 2005.
In addition to the All-Star Games, there were three other occasions where the NHL provided an All-Star team. At the 1972 Summit Series , Gilbert Perreault was a player from Buffalo in the squad. Perreault also played in the 1979 Challenge Cup for the NHL selection. In both series he was successful as a goalscorer. Also at the Rendez-vous '87 , in which the NHL team played again against the Soviet national team, Mike Ramsey, a player of the Sabers, was considered.
Selected player records of the franchise over the entire career as well as over individual seasons are listed below.
|Most games||Gilbert Perreault||1,191 (in 17 seasons)|
|Most consecutive games||Craig Ramsay||776 (March 27, 1973 to February 10, 1983)|
|Most goals||Gilbert Perreault||512|
|Most templates||Gilbert Perreault||814|
|Most of the points||Gilbert Perreault||1,326 (512 goals + 814 assists)|
|Most penalty minutes||Rob Ray||3,189|
|Most shutouts||Dominik Hašek||55|
|Most goals||Alexander Mogilny||76||1992/93|
|Most templates||Pat LaFontaine||95||1992/93|
|Most of the points||Pat LaFontaine||148 (53 goals + 95 assists)||1992/93|
|Most points as a rookie||Rick Martin||74 (44 goals + 30 assists)||1971/72|
|Most points as a defender||Phil Housley||81 (21 goals + 60 assists)||1989/90|
|Most penalty minutes||Rob Ray||354||1991/92|
|Most wins as a goalkeeper||Ryan Miller||41||2009/10|
From Imlach to Bowman (1970–1986)
Abbreviations: GC = games, W = wins, L = defeats, T = draws, OTL = defeats after
overtime , Pts = points, Pts% = point quota
|Punch Imlach||1970 / 71–1971 / 72 *||119||32||62||25th||89||.269||-||-||-|
|Floyd Smith||1971/72 *||1||0||1||0||0||.000||-||-||-|
|Joe Crozier||1971/72 * -1973 / 74||192||77||80||35||189||.401||6th||2||4th|
|Floyd Smith||1974 / 75-1976 / 77||240||143||61||36||322||.596||32||16||16|
|Marcel Pronovost||1977 / 78–1978 / 79 *||104||52||29||23||127||.500||8th||3||5|
|Billy Inglis||1978/79 *||56||28||18th||10||66||.500||3||1||2|
|Jim Roberts||1981/82 *||45||21st||16||8th||50||.467||-||-||-|
|Scotty Bowman||1980/81 * -1984 / 85||312||160||110||42||362||.513||22nd||9||13|
|Jim Schoenfeld||1985/86 *||43||19th||19th||5||43||.442||-||-||-|
|Scotty Bowman||1985/86 * -1986 / 87||12||3||7th||2||8th||.250||-||-||-|
* Change during the current season
As a trainer and general manager, Punch Imlach had celebrated numerous successes in Toronto and initially took over both positions with the newly founded Sabers. During the second season he got reinforcements for the position behind the gang.
|Ted Sator||1986 / 87-1988 / 89||207||96||89||22nd||-||214||.464||11||3||8th|
|Rick Dudley||1989 / 90–1991 / 92 *||188||85||72||31||-||201||.452||12||4th||8th|
|John Muckler||1991/92 * -1994/95||268||125||109||34||-||284||.466||27||11||16|
|Ted Nolan||1995 / 96-1996 / 97||164||73||72||19th||-||165||.445||12||5||7th|
|Lindy Ruff||1997 / 98–2012 / 13 *||1165||571||432||78||84||1304||.559||101||57||44|
|Ron Rolston||2012/13 * –2013 / 14 *||51||19th||26th||-||6th||44||.431||-||-||-|
|Ted Nolan||2013/14 * –2014 / 15||82||23||51||-||8th||54||.329||-||-||-|
|Dan Bylsma||2015 / 16–2016 / 17||164||68||73||-||23||159||.485||-||-||-|
|Phil Housley||2017 / 18–2018 / 19||164||58||84||-||22nd||138||.421||-||-||-|
|Ralph Krueger||since 2019/20||69||30th||31||-||8th||68||.493||-||-||-|
|Punch Imlach||1970 / 71-1977 / 78|
|Scotty Bowman||1979 / 80-1986 / 87|
|Gerry Meehan||1987 / 88-1992 / 93|
|John Muckler||1993 / 94-1996 / 97|
|Darcy Regier||1997 / 98–2013 / 14 *|
|Tim Murray||2013/14 * –2016 / 17|
|Jason Botterill||2017 / 18–2019 / 20|
|Kevyn Adams||since 2020/21|
Squad for the 2019/20 season
Status: end of the 2019/20 season
In the history of the Sabers, there have been 19 different players who have held the position of team captain.
* Interim captain
Floyd Smith , who had already played over 500 games in 15 years in the NHL, was the first Saber player in 1970 to be allowed to wear the "C". However, he ended his career just a year later and the captaincy went to Gerry Meehan , who held the post until he moved to the Vancouver Canucks in 1974. Jim Schoenfeld led the team for the next three years, before Danny Gare followed with a four-year tenure until 1981.
After Danny Gare left to Detroit, Gilbert Perreault was named the new team captain. Perreault was already part of the roster when the franchise was founded in 1970 as a 20-year-old and was one of the best scorers in the first ten years of its existence. He wore the "C" until the end of his career in 1986. He was followed by Lindy Ruff with a three-year term. In 1990 Mike Foligno was named captain, but led the Sabers only 31 times before joining the Toronto Maple Leafs during the season and Mike Ramsey took over the position.
In 1992 Ramsey decided to give up the "C" in favor of the new star of the team Pat LaFontaine . LaFontaine held the office until his retirement in 1997. During an injury break LaFontaines in the 1993/94 season he was represented by Alexander Mogilny . LaFontaine was followed by 23-year-old Michael Peca , who was removed from office in the summer of 2000 after disagreements with management.
The post of team captain remained vacant in the following season and it was not until 2001 that a new captain was appointed with Stu Barnes . After Barnes had left the Sabers after two years, the Sabers decided during the 2003/04 season to award the "C" to a different player every month, so it was with Miroslav Šatan , Chris Drury , Jean-Pierre Dumont , Daniel Brière and James Patrick gave a total of five captains in the season.
After the failure of the 2004/05 season , the Sabers finally settled on Daniel Brière and Chris Drury, who alternately wore the "C". When both players left the team in the summer of 2007, the team decided that they would return to the monthly rotation principle and that the German Jochen Hecht was the team captain in October. He was followed by defenders Toni Lydman , Brian Campbell and Jaroslav Špaček before Hecht was again captain in February. Jason Pominville was then named captain for the remainder of the season.
Members of the Hockey Hall of Fame
|Dave Andreychuk||November 13, 2017||player|
|Dick Duff||November 13, 2006||player|
|Grant drove||November 3, 2003||player|
|Clark Gillies||November 4, 2002||player|
|Doug Gilmour||November 14, 2011||player|
|Dale Hawerchuk||November 12, 2001||player|
|Pat LaFontaine||November 3, 2003||player|
|Roger Neilson||November 4, 2002||Trainer|
Blocked jersey numbers
|2||Tim Horton||January 15, 1996|
|7th||Rick Martin||November 15, 1995|
|11||Gilbert Perreault||17th October 1990|
|14th||René Robert||November 15, 1995|
|16||Pat LaFontaine||March 3, 2006|
|18th||Danny Gare||November 22, 2005|
|39||Dominik Hašek||January 13, 2015|
|99||Wayne Gretzky||February 6, 2000 (league-wide)|
These numbers hang as banners in the KeyBank Center and are no longer given to any Buffalo Sabers players.
Top 10 voting rights in the NHL Entry Draft
Franchise top point collector
Abbreviations: Pos = position, GP = games, G = goals, A = assists, Pts = points, P / G = points per game
- Dan Diamond (Ed.) Total NHL. 1st edition. Triumph Books, Toronto 2003, ISBN 978-1-57243-604-6 , p. 235.
- Dan Diamond (Ed.) Total NHL. 1st edition. Triumph Books, Toronto 2003, ISBN 978-1-57243-604-6 , pp. 235-236.
- Dan Diamond (Ed.) Total NHL. 1st edition. Triumph Books, Toronto 2003, ISBN 978-1-57243-604-6 , p. 236.
- eishockey-24.de, NHL: Buffalo Sabers fire head coach Lindy Ruff ( Memento from March 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
- Sabers fire coach Ron Rolston, GM Darcy Regier; hire Ted Nolan as coach, plus LaFontaine. , NHL.com, Nov. 13, 2013
- Sabers name Tim Murray new general manager. NHL.com, Jan. 9, 2014
- azhockey.com, List of the Buffalo Sabers farm teams ( Memento from September 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
- Dan Diamond (Ed.): National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2014 , Triumph Books, p. 31