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SABRES SHOULD WATCH AVS

The Buffalo Sabres can learn a lot from the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche. What we all saw was a team that can favorably compare to any of the great Gretzky Edmonton teams. What amazed me is how many media types had this team dead after Game Five. What needs to be learned is that sometimes greatness and character rise above "neutral zone traps." If you think about it, look at the "Hall of Fame types" Colorado had: Bourque, Roy, Blake, Sakic and Forsberg.

Much credit needs to be given to Pierre Lacroix. He does not take comfort in the small deal, you know, the ones that bring you an Audette or a Heinze. Pierre knows what its like to bring in champions: Bourque last year and Blake this year. And, of course, the big deal trading Eric Lindros that literally set this team up with prospects, picks and players that still fuel this team to excellence.

Darcy Regier, while making decent small deals, just seems to not be able to get the job done. But he has his six-year deal, so why should he really care? And how committed are the Rigases to winning a Stanley Cup? Or are they more interested in signing Hasek as a PR move to keep the team "competitive" and to fill seats?

When I was filled with awe at the talent that Colorado presented, it made me realize that sadly, the Sabres will never win the Stanley Cup, because the commitment to do so is not there financially and the GM and coach have their hands tied and must "do what is necessary to keep the bottom line," never mind what you need to do to win a Cup. As for Ray Bourque, although down by 3-2 in games, I never once doubted a Colorado victory. Ray Bourque had a dream, and like Michael Jordan, nothing was going to stand in his way. Out of breath or not, legs like rubber or not, he willed a victory.

Ray, I'm glad you won the Cup and found a team that could surround you with talent and pay you and who was committed to winning a Cup without regard to money or possibly "losing out on a trade." Obviously, Colorado -- not Buffalo -- was the right move. We have a great center with similar leadership and the heart of a champion in Michael Peca sitting home, and again it is just another example of why Buffalo continues to wallow in mediocrity.
HENRY G. DEMBSKI
Amherst

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