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Drury, Briere leave heartache, jerseys Former Sabres' gear priced to sell

Former Sabres co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere are going to new teams, but they are leaving behind a legacy of sorts -- jerseys and merchandise on the shelves of area retailers.

At Laux Sporting Goods in the Boulevard Mall, Drury and Briere merchandise has been marked down.

"All we have left right now are kids jerseys. The higher-quality jersey we sell at $125 is now being sold at $39.97. The lower-quality kids jersey we have is being sold at $19.97, from $65," said Kyle Dailey, a shift leader at the store.

Drury and Briere merchandise was marked down last week and was marked down for a second time Monday, after the star players' departures from the Sabres were made official, Dailey said.

"Most of the time, people will want to buy things with a player's name on it if the player left the team on good terms. Right now we are seeing a lot of plaques and accessories being sold," he said.

The store does not plan on getting any more Drury and Briere merchandise, and existing orders for their items will either be put on hold or switched to different players' names.

Drury and Briere jerseys were not marked down at the Buffalo Sabres Store in HSBC Arena as of Monday -- the jerseys were still marked at the full $150.

But the demand for the sweaters, according to some die-hard fans, is fading fast.

"Chris Drury was my favorite Sabres player, but I wouldn't buy a jersey with his name on it at full price. I am really upset to see him go," said Marc Rachiele of Lancaster.

Marc Graff, a Sabres season-ticket holder from Niagara Falls, didn't see any need to buy any Drury or Briere merchandise.

"I don't see myself picking up any of their merchandise, even if it is at a reduced price. They aren't around anymore, and it's not worth it even if they were giving it away," he said.

The situation isn't uncommon when players are traded, leaving their merchandise behind.

Richard Fix, operations manager of Jersey Express in Buffalo, said the Sabres Store is in a tough spot.

"Most major and small retailers sell blank jerseys and are careful when it comes to selling jerseys with a player's name on it. Usually places like the Sabres Store try to liquidate jerseys with a player's name on it after the player has been traded," he said.

Jerseys that don't sell, no matter what the price, typically are sold to liquidators who sell overseas or are donated to charity events, Fix said.

Throughout the season, Drury and Briere jerseys were in the top 10 spots for jersey sales on NHL.com. The jerseys took the third and fifth spots in April.

Stuart Sports in Lewiston doesn't have to worry when it comes to Sabres players switching teams.

"We play it safe and only sell blank jerseys, and then we allow people to customize their jerseys with the players' names. We are licensed by the NHL to sell the jerseys and lettering," said Marsha Scully, a store clerk.

Blank Sabres jerseys sell for $75, while jerseys with lettering and numbers sell for $135.

At Dick's Sporting Goods, adult size jerseys for Drury and Briere were selling for $150 Monday, while children's sizes were selling for between $39 and $69, according to the store's Web site. No one from the company was available to comment on possible upcoming discounts.

Some Sabres fans have found a loophole that can work with their Drury jerseys.

"We have had some customers hold their orders to wait and see who will be assigned 23, before getting anything done to their jersey," Scully said.

"Other customers are having the number 23 changed into Paul Gaustad's number 28," she said.

e-mail: cmichel@buffnews.com

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